I absolutely love this story. Bill Spence, 89 from England has been writing romance novels for the past 20 years under the name of Jessica Blair.
Bill, a former member of the RAF’s Bomber Command, started writing in 1959. He wrote 36 westerns before he penned a nonfiction about whaling. Bill then decided to put his historical knowledge to work in a romance. When he sent it off to publishers, Bill says, “They said they liked it and would love to publish it but under a different name. The publishers were going to keep it a secret but it was picked up by a number of the papers, as here was someone who had been writing Westerns now trying to publish books under a female name.”
The Jessica Blair books take about 9 months to write. According to Bill, “It is very different writing romantic novels as opposed to westerns. For one thing, romantic novels are a lot longer, about 100,000 words long, while westerns are about 45,000. I would never go back, I am too used to writing romantic fiction now, but I learnt a lot writing westerns.”
Bill doesn’t plan to stop writing romance any time soon. “When I am writing I have got to think in a female way and I have got to think about the period I am setting the book in. I just love doing it. If I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t do it!”
So, what’s in a pen name? A lot. I know a lot of people who will only read books by men or only by women. Some readers really believe that only certain sexes can only write about certain topics. This is nothing new, but we still see established writers creating new names when they want to write a different genre.
What do you think? If you read a book that you thought was written by a woman and then found out it was an 89 year old man, would it change your perception of the book? Have you ever had it happen that you read a book and really enjoyed it only to find out that the writer wasn’t who or what you expected?
Bottom Line: Thinking of my mom today who would have been celebrating her 83rd birthday.
From Susan Hanniford Crowley: On Feb 14th, Nights of Passion celebrates its 4th anniversary with a major give away. Authors Susan Hanniford Crowley, Marian Lanouette, Leia Shaw, Char Chaffin, Angela Scavonea, Meggan Connors and Gerri Brousseau share scenes of romance from their published works. Each author will be giving away a free copy of their most recent publication, so stop by and join in the fun. Help them celebrate another 365 nights of passion. Details at Nights of Passion blog.
From Eileen Dreyer: I will be holding weekly giveaways starting this Friday on my yahoo group. Readers can join the Yahoo group by going to my website. When they sign up they are automatically entered each week for the Friday Freebies.