Pen Names

Charles K James is not my real name.

I know… shocking.

I use a pseudonym for a couple of reasons. First, I have a day job as a scientist-clinician. Not only do I have clinical responsibilities for making sure that very precise doses of radiation are put into people, but I have an academic appointment as an adjunct associate professor. I write scientific papers. I teach and mentor graduate students.

Now I don’t think anyone is going to confuse what I write about in the Alliance universe for real science, but I feel it’s important to keep those dimensions of my life separate. Fiction is where I go to relax, to play, to exercise creativity. Using a pseudonym helps to draw that line.

Secondly, I want to have a name that’s relatively easy to remember and spell. I’m proud of my real name, but it’s very close in spelling to another much more common name. So my real name is commonly misspelled. On the chance that someone hears about my writing and wants to look me up, I’d hate for a spelling error to get in the way of that.

At one point I though about changing my pen name to “Local Author.” At least I’d get my own section in most bookstores. But for some reason, I don’t see that unfolding as favorably as I might like.

Despite my best efforts Googling, there is apparently another Charles James author out there. So I’ve decided to go by “Charles K James.” One of the members of my writing group asked what the “K” stood for.

Apparently it’s Knievel.