Someone asked me the other day how I picked my pen name. It’s funny because for many years, as I had first started writing romances, I had no intention of using a pen name at all.
Then one day, as I sat looking at this old boiler next to our wood stove, I knew what I needed to do…
This old boiler came from my aunt’s house when she passed away, but it originally came from my grandmother’s house. It never really fit with her house in terms of decor, and I never (sadly) asked her where it had come from, but it was always there in her dining room, next to the fireplace.
When she passed away, it went to my aunt’s house, and then eventually moved to ours. It is the perfect place to put some firewood, and it matches our somewhat eclectic decor.
Looking at it, I suddenly knew I needed a pen name, and moreover, I knew what that name would be. Annabelle Rose was my grandmother’s name. She was a piece of work, my grandmother. Fiercely independent, not a great cook or housekeeper, a professional woman long before that was fashionable, she’d even been a professional dancer before marrying my grandfather. She taught me to knit, taught me that dark chocolate is always a great snack, loved the Red Sox and the Celtics with her whole heart, and always welcomed me with more love than I can express. She also was the person who handed me my first Harlequin romance when I was in my early teens, and always kept a paper grocery bag full of them for me when I visited.
Of course, I did talk to her living relatives to make sure they were okay with the idea, and they were, and I’d like to think it makes her laugh (and hopefully makes her proud) to see my success as a writer using her name as my pen name.
In the next week, I will have the opportunity to visit her grave for the first time in more than five years and I plan to sit and talk with her for a while, and then eat (and leave) a piece of dark chocolate for her.