The website Nine Day Wonder has just posted an interview with me. Here’s an excerpt that addresses one of the most common questions I’m asked:
DW: E.C. Blake, Lee Arthur Chane, Edward Willett…You’ve gone by multiple pen names, which is not uncommon for writers are prolific as you are. What’s the advantage in building multiple “brands”?
EW: I didn’t use pseudonyms by choice: it was a marketing decision on the part of DAW Books, my New York SF/fantasy publisher. My first three books with them (Lost in Translation, Marseguro and Terra Insegura) were all far-future science fiction. They didn’t exactly set the world on fire (although Marseguro did win the Aurora Award for best Canadian science fiction novel in 2009), and fantasy sells better than SF, so DAW asked me to switch to fantasy. With that switch in genres came not only a new name, Lee Arthur Chane, but a new shot at the marketplace as a new author. Lee Arthur Chane (the middle names of my two older brothers and myself) wrote the steampunk-flavored standalone fantasy novel Magebane. But then my next proposal for DAW was Masks, which is quite different from Magebane: it’s essentially a young adult novel, told entirely from the viewpoint of a 15-year-old girl. That prompted the new new name, E.C. Blake (E.C. being my initials and Blake being the middle name of my nephew—my late mother suggested it, and I wasn’t about to argue). Again, the advantage is that E.C. Blake comes to the marketplace without any expectations of what sort of book he might have written, and has a chance to build up his own fans.
None of these pseudonyms are intended to deceive anyone: it’s obviously an open secret that Edward Willett, Lee Arthur Chane and E.C. Blake are all the same person, if anyone cares to look. But for readers who just come on the books in the bookstore, each not only seems to come from a different author, each has a different flavor. Of course, I hope that everyone who loves Masks will also look for Magebane and the books published under my own name, so I make a point on the E.C. Blake website (one of the downsides of multiple pseudonyms is the need for a website for each!) of listing the other novels I’ve written under my other names.