Before I became a romance and children’s book novelist, I had a long and interesting career in the arts, public relations, and as a journalist. For five of them, I was a volunteer Senior Docent at the North Carolina Museum of Art. One of my favorite galleries was the African gallery, steeped in rich history and tradition. But I was also an art patron, and at a fundraiser for the African gallery about ten years ago, I won a Pende mask. It hangs in my dining room, and serves as a reminder to me that when you don a mask, you can be anything—or anyone—you want to be.
Many authors practice the same theory, that of donning another identity—but we call them pseudonyms. Nora Roberts writes slightly futuristic tales under the pseudonym J.D. Robb; Sherrilyn Kenyon writes historic romances as Kinley MacGregor; and one of my favorite contemporary romantic suspense authors, Nina Bruhns, writes erotic romance as Nikita Black. Putting on a new name gives an author the freedom to write something totally different in genre and subject…but the underlying intelligence and sentence structure is there. A great writer and storyteller is still a great writer and storyteller regardless of which mask they don. You know what they say: an author by any other name is…well, still the same person.