Pen names, or the trouble with having a common name.

Ok, so my given name is Craig Brown. In the UK this is not exactly an uncommon name. There’s a reasonably well known writer with the name who isn’t me, there was a Scottish soccer manager, and so on.

When I started out writing I tried to think of ways to counter this, mostly involving the use of my middle initial, T. Craig T. Brown just made me think of a poor imitation of James T. Kirk – yes, I have watched way too much Star Trek. Using three names just seemed overly long and I wanted to use my real name.

So what’s changed? To be honest, C. T. Brown isn’t a great pen name. It is a bit boring and way too easily confused with other authors out there. Sure, it is my name and I like it but it doesn’t really work as an author name.

So, how to pick a new one? I feel like it should have some meaning to me and still have a real personal connection. I think I am going to stick with Craig, it’s my name and anything else would just seem . . . odd, really. I’m not going to put in a middle initial, it works for some people but I keep getting Star Trek in my head (fun, but not conducive to taking the name seriously). One of my inspirations to write is my maternal Grandfather, Peter London. He took up writing (mainly poetry) after he was made redundant when he was only a few years off retirement and I have many enduring memories of him tapping away on his electric typewriter. He inspired me in many ways so I’m thinking I might go with Craig London from now on, less common than Craig Brown and recognising my granddad’s influence. What do you think?

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