Diary of a Newbie Novelist

By JaneIsaac Diary of a Newbie Novelist, Submissions Comments Off on Diary of a Newbie Novelist

Early Feb. 2011

What’s in a pen name?

February brought good and bad news from the Agent. He actually liked my edits – phew! I was learning that the points he had raised were suggestions for me to consider, not set in stone. Relieved, I was growing in confidence. The bad news was that he didn’t like my pen name.

As soon as I realised that I would actually finish my book, I decided that I wanted to use a pseudonym for my fiction work. Why? I can’t tell you exactly. Maybe I wanted an alter ego, maybe I wanted to protect the privacy of my family. No idea. It just seemed like an important move. My regular name is Jane Lobb – regular in every sense. So, I had spent months thinking long and hard. I wanted something usual, something different, something that stood out. Eventually I chose the name ‘Saskia Duvall’. I can hear you laughing out loud but, look at it from my point of view; I have been a plain Jane all my life. This was my chance to be different!

I was captivated by the name. To me it was interesting, conjuring up images of exotic locations, glamorous book launches. But my Agent, and his colleagues (they had actually discussed it), didn’t think that it suited the crime genre. Back to the drawing board.

For weeks friends and family were phoning, texting, emailing me different variations to consider. The imagination it sparked was incredible. At best it was great fun, at worst very frustrating. One thought prevailed: if I ever get published and continue with my crime thriller series, this name would continue with me.

My Agent was keen for me to use my first name. Although initially disappointed, I could kind of see why. If someone called out ‘Jane’ at a book launch, a dinner, an event, I would instinctively turn my head; ‘Saskia’ may take a bit more getting used to. But what about the second name?

I wanted my name mean something. So why Isaac? I discussed it at length with my family – my real surname is a Cornish name and one of our favourite haunts, whilst holidaying in the British south west region of Cornwall, is Port Isaac. 

Hence Jane Isaac: the birth of a name. It may one day reach print, it may not. Nothing in the publishing world is sure, until you hold the book in your hand. But it is one that means something to me, a name I’m proud to own.

I emailed my Agent, he liked it! Another job done. Then he said it was time for the line by line edit. I was literally dreading his next email…


Jane Isaac is very much a Newbie, she doesn’t even have a website yet (one day…) and with a day job, a family and a very demanding black Labrador, she squeezes her writing into every spare moment she gets. Join her on the rocky road from pen to publication – hopefully!

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