So, what’s in a name? Well, quite a lot actually. And some of it is a surprise. Kait Carson is forty-something woman, brave, strong, and a pseudonym. Many writers use pseudonyms. Every one of us for a different reason. My reason had to do with my day job. By day, I’m a paralegal with a probate/litigation practice. I work for one of the largest law firms in Florida. My first book, Zoned for Murder, had to do with the death of a lawyer. I was very naïve. I was petrified my readers would speculate about the lawyers in the story and think they were real. Well, none of the six or seven dozen people who read the book had any such questions. But the fear was very real.
When the time came to write the second in the series, Murder in the Multiples, It seemed quite natural to have Kait take credit for the writing. And when I got my first traditional contract, well, Hayden Kent is a probate paralegal. She does take after me in that regard. Kait seemed to be a natural to use for Death by Blue Water as well.
Kait and I have gotten to know each other fairly well over the years. We seem to fill the missing gaps in each other’s personalities. Kait is much braver than I am. Loves public speaking, is always ready to chat up readers at a book signing and is quite good with technology. Her alter ego, not so much. In fact, I’m painfully shy and would rather curl up with a good book than go out to a party. We do both share a fondness for public speaking. Now that’s a go figure if I ever heard one. I’m more analytical and less emotional than Kait. We both love a good mystery. Reading them or writing them.
When I created Kait, I never thought that she would be anything other than a mirror image of me. I never expected her to have a different personality, or not share my likes and dislikes. But Kait, after all is a character. Just as my characters have different personalities, strengths and weaknesses, so does Kait. It’s good that we complement each other. I can only imagine the strife if we argued. Kait is completely capable of calling a book store and asking if they’d like to have a signing. She’s always cheerful, and never has a down day. Both of us love animals. Both of us support our military. Kait would get up on Karaoke night. I would die first. Kait’s basic CV is identical to mine. We live in the same place, are married to pilots and have a lot of animals. Both of us love writing. Both of us are natural story tellers.
I’ve had the unique experience of having people I’ve met as Kait tell me that they know someone who looks like me. No, not really. But at first glance…I confess that I get that a lot, but I never own up to my double persona. Not until I know them better.
Kait is my mask. She protects me from confusion, and embarrassment if someone wants to play name that lawyer (and that happens a lot). I trot her out for public events and she’s so comfortable that I forget I’m not. Kait is me, but not me, or maybe me the way I wish I were. I never expected my pseudonym to become a friend, but she has. Kait, I’m glad to know you.
What about you? Do you have an alter ego? If you are a writer, is your pen name person different to you? If you are a reader, do you care if the writer hides behind a mask?