S is for Strawberry – S. Williams on pseudonyms

Author S. Williams of Tuesday Falling talks writing under a pseudonym. And a quirky one at that.

‘The problem with being with a writer is that you either never see them, or they want to get involved in entirely inappropriate ways,’ said my partner.

‘What’s wrong with wanting to call our child Grim?’ said I, bewildered.

Nothing. Obviously. Good Old English name. Means fierce, or determined. Sort of. But it was not to be. Neither were Iggy, Codeine, Tuesday or Marmalade.

What?

It’s not that I was being difficult, or would want my children to suffer at school. It’s just that I like words, and juxtapositions.

As Mycroft’s brother said; ‘Sherlock is a girl’s name.’

When I sent off the sample of my novel, Tuesday Falling, to Anne-Marie at The Ampersand Agency, it was under the pseudonym of Strawberry Sorrow. It was not my only pseudonym. Oh, no. I had given myself different names for different types of writing. A form of literary compartmentalization for my brain.

When I got an email back saying how much she had enjoyed the opening chapters, and could I send the rest, I was ecstatic.

Obviously, the next months of writing, re-writing, cutting, chopping, cropping and jigging were brutal.

And then finally she thought it was in a fit state to send to a publisher.

‘What do you want to call yourself?’ she asked.

What did she mean?

‘What’s wrong with Strawberry?’ I said, bewildered.

I could hear the sighing down the line. Frankly I could probably have heard the sighing if I’d hung up, gone for a nap underground and removed my ears for safekeeping.

Strawberry wasn’t a proper name.

‘But it’s brilliant!’ I said. ‘Perfect!’

It was not to be.

‘Why don’t you just go with “S” instead?’ she suggested. That way, I could still be Strawberry in my mind. Could still hold onto my little writing cell in my brain.

I could, of course, have just gone with my full name, but I have to use that every day. For paying bills. For my driving license. For just stuff. All the detritus that makes up the grease of modern living.

For my book I wanted my name to mean something different. I wanted it to soar.

And be a fruit.

Oranges aren’t the only ones.

So, just in case anybody was wondering what the ‘S’ stands for:

‘S’ is for Strawberry.

Tuesday Falling is out now. Be sure to follow S. Williams on Twitter @tuesdayfalling

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