If you were going to be an author, what would your pen name be? It’s a fun game to play. I’ve published books as Josie Lloyd and Jo Rees, but for my latest venture, I’m going out as Joanna Rees. So posh. So grown up.
Yep, finally, after all these years, I’ve left behind my maiden name and nickname and I’m writing under my full and proper monica. The thumb twiddling is over, people. It’s back to work for me.
This is what it says this week in the press:
Wayne Brookes at Pan Macmillan has acquired UK/Commonwealth rights to two new novels from Joanna Rees via Vivienne Schuster and Felicity Blunt at Curtis Brown. Rees will move from Transworld to Pan Macmillan for her next novel, TORN, to be published in spring 2012.
Brookes said: “Torn is epic storytelling at its very best, and as soon as I read the first chapters I knew I had to have it. Full of glamour, corruption, murder and romance, this is what a real blockbuster novel should be. It spans the decades, taking sibling rivalry to a whole new level. Torn is like your favourite soap opera all wrapped into one mammoth novel and will appeal to fans of Penny Vincenzi and everyone who found themselves devouring the pages of Kane and Abel.”
Rees commented: “I couldn’t be more thrilled to become a Macmillan author and delighted to be working with a creative editor of the calibre of Wayne Brookes. Torn is my most ambitious project to date and I feel very lucky to have the expertise of the excellent Macmillan team behind it.”
So there you have it. Great news for what’s supposed to be the most depressing week of the year.
Anyway, I mention it, because I’ve started practising signing my own again – something I haven’t done since I was eight, when writing one’s signature endlessly seemed like an essential thing to do. It helps that Emlyn bought me a Mercedes for Christmas – a pen – not a car (damnit). It’s a chunky silver thing with funky burgundy ink. TORN, by Joanna Rees looks particularly good in it. And they say writers are narcissistic…
But the nuance of names is very important. Now I’m fully into writing TORN, I spent lots of my day deciding what to call my cast of thousands. Of course, names do fall in my path. The name of the bully in school – she’s in as the arch bitch. The woman who was snotty about my credit card bill payment being overdue (not my fault) – she’s in too. You cross me lady, you get botched plastic surgery.
Seriously, you’d be surprised how many fictional serial killers are named after real-life traffic wardens.
Emlyn and I once did a book signing in Amsterdam and this very handsome man turned up called Fox Mulder. It happened that we were renting his house. At the time the X Files were huge and we thought it was great he was called after the lead. It turned out that his assistant at work was called Dana Sculy. He suspected that the script writers for the X Files had nicked the employee list of the IBM Corporate Law department.
So if you have any good names, sling them my way. Today I’m after a New York wedding planner, an impotent lawyer and a Soho pimp. I can’t use my ex-boyfriends, but I could use yours…? Suggestions please.