New Books: Esperanza by Trish J MacGregor.
Names by Trish J MacGregor.
Ed asked me to write something about my novel Esperanza (TOR, September 14, 2010). So this piece about names seems appropriate.
For most of us, the name we’re given at birth is the one we use until death. Women sometimes change their last names when they marry, but retain their first names.
I was born Patricia, but have nearly always been called Trish. My last name at birth was Janeshutz, a name few could spell or pronounce. I wrote my first two novels as Trish Janeshutz and my editor finally called and asked if I would write my next book under a different name because book owners were confused. Was Jane my middle name? Shutz the last name? And how was that name pronounced, anyway?
By then, I was married. I had my bank account in one name, my driver’s license in another, and all my names on my will. Talk about an identity crisis. I asked my editor if I could write the next one as Trish MacGregor. No, that won’t work, he said. It’s best to use initials. Books by men are selling better right now than books by women - this was in the late 1980s. So I became TJ MacGregor.
In the early 1990s, when books by women began to sell as well as or better than books by men, I started a new series and thought, OK, now I can be female again. Well, yes, my editor said, but since this is a different series, choose a pseudonym. I became Alison Drake and wrote four novels under that name.
Along the way, I finally got to use my name – Trish MacGregor – for nonfiction books. In the late 1990s, I had an opportunity to do some ghostwriting and thought, why not? When you’ve had so many names, becoming someone else isn’t a big deal. So I became Jamie Cromwell – a book that was contracted, but never saw the light of day because Jamie disliked the way I wrote a sex scene. Then I became Victoria Gotti. Actually, my husband, Rob, and I both became Victoria for a while. That book was published.
In 2008, I started my thirty-second novel, on speculation, and it was completely different than anything else I’d written. My agent advised me to use a different name. The name I initially used on Esperanza was Megan King. Megan is my daughter’s name. She objected. King I liked because of Stephen King.
When the book sold to TOR, I chose my newest incarnation: Trish J MacGregor.