Today, I welcome a fabulous new name on the thriller novel circuit - Frances di Plino. She talks about leading a double life. Ooh, must be exciting!
Over to you, Frances (or is it Lorraine?)...
Long before the Crooked Cat Publishing accepted Bad Moon Rising I had already decided to use a pen name. As Lorraine Mace I have a good author platform, so why would I make life difficult for myself by using a different name? One of my Writers Bureau students was so confused by this that he took the time to write and ask: “Why did you choose a pseudonym for Bad Moon Rising? You are a well-known writer and have a strong brand.”
I’ve never thought of myself in terms of a brand, but in a way he’s right. I have a regular column in Writing Magazine, am a judge for the monthly short story competition in Writers’ Forum, write features and short stories for a variety of national magazines, as well as running Flash 500 - an international writing competition, all under my own name, whereas Frances di Plino (who?) isn’t yet known by anyone outside of a few close friends.
The reason for going down the pen name route was a simple one: I write novels for children which I hope one day to find a home for. The last thing I would want is for a young fan sometime in the future to pick up Bad Moon Rising, or the next in the series, thinking it was a children’s book. As Patrick Forsyth said in a review for The Woman Writer: For this police thriller Lorraine Mace writes under a pseudonym and the opening page makes it clear why she might want to differentiate this from her other writing; it is gritty stuff.
I’ve since discovered that getting Frances di Plino known using the Lorraine Mace platform isn’t easy, but it is possible. I started by writing a humour piece for my Writing Magazine column explaining how I came to choose the pen name. My regular readers now know not only that I have a novel out (yay!), but also that I’m using a pseudonym. I also arranged to do an interview for the Writers Bureau students’ newsletter. In answering one of the questions I managed to drop in information about the novel launch (9 March) and, of course, let them know about my nom de plume.
What my student hadn’t realised, when he expressed concern over my decision, is that he was actually providing me with proof my plan is working. He’d seen the article and interview and demonstrated that even the name of the novel had stuck in his mind. Exactly what I was hoping for.
In many ways using a pen name has made marketing harder, but in others it’s given me an opportunity to guest post on blogs such as this one and let the world know about my debut novel. So, I suppose at this point it would be a good idea to tell you what Bad Moon Rising is about.
Bad Moon Rising is a dark psychological thriller.
Brought up believing sex with the living is the devil’s work, a killer only finds release once he has saved his victims’ souls. Abiding by his vision, he marks them as his. A gift to guide his chosen ones on the rightful path to redemption.
Detective Inspector Paolo Storey is out to stop him, but Paolo has problems of his own. Hunting down the killer as the death toll rises, the lines soon blur between Paolo’s personal and professional lives.
Is it any good? Reviewers seem to think so.
Jo Reed said: I finished ‘Bad Moon Rising’ feeling as though I had just eaten a good meal – satisfied, and just a little guilty. The guilt came, in part, from the degree of empathy the author had managed to invoke for the killer. (Full review: http://joreed.co.uk/blog/?p=60)
And from Judging Covers Book Reviews: “... the best of Cracker and Prime Suspect stuffed together to make a truly thrilling novel.” (Full review: http://judgingcovers.co.uk/reviews/bad-moon-rising)
So, if you’re thinking about using a pseudonym, don’t let the thought of marketing the new name put you off. Embrace the challenge – you never know, one day your pen name might be more famous than your own. At least, that’s what I’m hoping will happen in my case.
Just in case you hadn’t realised by now, Frances di Plino is the pseudonym of columnist, editor, non-fiction author and writing tutor, Lorraine Mace. Writing as Frances di Plino gives her the opportunity to allow the dark side of her personality to surface and take control.