If you’ve read this blog long enough, you know I’m not a fan of my own name.
As a journalist, “Debbie” worked. She was solid, dependable, factual. Printed alongside my last name, “Debbie” made a nice-looking byline.
But as a fiction writer? One who kills off characters and spins imaginary tales?
I think not.
In trying to implement a Writer’s Digest conference suggestion for wannabe writers to “get our names out there” (establish a platform), I learned to my amazement there are hundreds — maybe thousands — of women worldwide bearing my name. And most of them had already grabbed the best dot-coms. What to do?
Enter my friend Katybeth who suggested I change my name.
I knew my living family members would be horrified — like I was rejecting them — when that wasn’t my intention.
Still the idea stuck.
I decided to compromise by choosing a pen name.
Drawing on baby books and the Internet, I started to research, following a few parameters. I wanted something:
- That would honor my Irish heritage
- That wouldn’t age me
- That I wouldn’t get bored with
- That was unusual but not overly so
- That meant something — to me
Then I tried on names. First names. Surnames.
I dug into meanings. Said them aloud. Imagined autographing books (!) with them.
And I lived in each new name for a while, visualizing how I’d feel if somebody called me that rather than “Debbie.”
Finally, I zeroed in on one.
And I love it more every day.
As a web designer, I know there are nearly 4 million domain names registered every month; I decided to register my new name before it could vanish. And then, because I could, I designed my author’s Website. Registered for social media, including Twitter and Pinterest. Worked with WordPress to map a sub-domain for this blog, making it easier for people to find me via my pen name.
Now, before you protest that I’m putting the cart before the horse, you should know I’ve already written a book (my first two are “throwaways”). I’m working on Book #2, with definite ideas for Book #3. I hope they’ll turn into a series, though they could just as easily stand solo.
But this is more than you really want to know, isn’t it? Aren’t you just interested in what name I’ve chosen?
“Caleigh” is a Gaelic name meaning “slender, from the forest.”
“O’Shea” also is Gaelic and is among the 50 most numerous surnames in Ireland. The “O’Shea” family was a member of the Ten Tribes of Kilkenny. The name means “hawk-like,” “stately,” “majestic,” “courteous,” “dauntless.”
What do you think?