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Pen Names and Young Adult fiction

September 26, 2011

I’ve been debating the issue of using the same author name for my YA fiction as I use for my adult explicit romance. Up until now it hasn’t been an issue, since none of my YA material was published or available for download. (I don’t count Like the Taste of Summer since I wrote that for the adult romance group. It just happened to come out on the less-explicit side.)

The first really YA story I’ve put out was Intervention and I just posted that here and on Goodreads, and figured that would be it. But I’ve had several requests from people to re-post it elsewhere or to get a downloadable copy. I’m really pleased that people have enjoyed the story, but before letting it get spread around I wanted to think carefully about the pen name issue.

There are three options as I see it: used the same name for adult and YA material, use two different names but link them, or use two different names and keep them completely separate. In the end I decided to go the middle route. My adult m/m romances are just too explicit for me to feel comfortable using the same name on both. I’d like to avoid having some teenager read Intervention and then maybe decide to download the free novel Lies and Consequences as a follow-up, expecting a similar work. At the same time, I don’t want to be running around with two secret identities that have to stay hidden from each other. Especially since Intervention is already up here, and that’s the story I’m currently getting requests for. (Sure, I could say no, keep this story as a Harper and out of YA hands, and start new with a YA pen name…but I admit I want Intervention to be read.)

So I came up with Kira Harp as a YA pen name. Hopefully it’s similar enough to be identified as me (ie. no, Kira Harp did not plagiarize my story) and different enough that if some teenager puts the name into a search some day, it won’t automatically just pop up all my other books. If that teen ends up here, they will find out that I write under both names. Then they (or their parents) can decide if they want to look at the identifiably adult material I write as Kaje Harper. Not a secret identity. More like branding. So readers know what to expect, either way.

Golly, I hope this works out. Anyway, having made that decision, I’m thinking about putting Intervention on Smashwords or Amazon eventually so it can be downloaded. Except I have to get my daughter to make me a new cover first.

Incidentally, it looks as though Unacceptable Risk will release from MLR Press October 14th. And then we’ll see how my readers like taking a break from cops and teachers to play with my werewolves.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Christie permalink
    September 26, 2011 4:20 pm

    I like your new pen name (where did the Kira come from?) and linking seems a good choice. I’m sure you know that multiple pen names are big in the romance genre, especially it seems when authors work for different publishers in different genres. A reader of historical romance may not be interested in contemporarary romantic suspense by the same author.
    Maybe it depends on the nature of the book and what you feel comfortable with since your adult books are explicit. I’m still bemused that Carl Hiaasen publishes adult thrillers and children’s books under his own name. Maybe parents buy both (cross-promotion is a wonderful thing).

    • September 26, 2011 7:05 pm

      Hopefully it will work out. Kira is from my childhood, one of the names I used when I would tell myself stories starring…me! But with a new name, like Lisa or Jenny or Kira. I picked Kira because it fits with Kaje and because there didn’t seem to be any Kira Harps writing on either Amazon or Goodreads.

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