Saturday 6 February 2016

What's in a Name

It feels like a long time since I last posted here, although it's only just over a week. Actually, a lot has happened since then, including on the blogging front, but just not here. Let me explain.

My Lucy Hall series launches soon, with the first book, Journey to Death, published on 9th February. That means there has been promotional activity, including writing some guest blog posts. So far in the last ten days I've written five, three for my PR team in the US, and two for the UK. So I've not really had time - or ideas - to write about here. 

Being invited to write posts for other people's blogs is flattering but it's not as relaxing as writing here. I like to do a little research and get a flavour of the other blog, if I don't already know it. Often the topic they invite me to write about takes needs thinking and planning. It all takes time. 

And then there's the next Geraldine Steel which I was hoping to finish before I receive the edits for the second Lucy Hall. The WIP is progressing slowly. More a PIP* than a WIP. All the activity surrounding the launch of my new series is distracting. I am very excited about the launch, but also concerned.  

Where my police procedurals begin with a murder, the drama in my new book builds slowly. It may be too slow for some of my existing fans. Was it a mistake to publish Journey to Death under the same name as I used for my other series? Some reviews are already expressing disappointment that Lucy Hall is not like Geraldine Steel. If I had published my new series under a different name, it would have avoided such comparisons. 

At the time, it never really occurred to me to use a different name just because I was trying something new. It seems a little disingenuous to pretend to be someone else. After all, it is still me writing the Lucy Hall books. Yet other authors write under different names, and I do understand why. As Evelyn Waugh, among others, wrote:  'Comparisons are odious'. 

I like to trust that people will read Journey to Death with an open mind. But perhaps, in being open about my identity, I am inviting comparisons between my protagonists.  

Journey to Death is published on 9th February. Wish Lucy Hall good luck! 

*Procrastination in Progress


Susan Bacoyanis said...

I believe that as writers our name is our trade mark. We own it with honesty and we should not be afraid to use it across genres. I think of my name like a bridge, inviting my readers to cross bravely from one genre to the other. When I boldly state that I write psychological thrillers and comedy, I invite my readers to expand their perception of me as a writer and use my name to transport them to a different fictional escape. "What's in a Name?" The answer is me. My identity. This is who I am. As authors, our names can be synonymous with more than one genre and more than one protagonist. Comparisons are impossible. Good luck Lucy Hall . . . written honestly by Leigh Russell.
Susan Bacoyanis.

Gordon Brice said...

Thanks for yet another interesting blog, Leigh. Undoubtedly Lucy will be compared to Geraldine, which is a bit unfair really, as they are probably different in various ways (We'll know more when we read the new book), but, for a start their careers are different.....that much we do know in advance.
Your fans are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Lucy and, never fear, you are bound to gain a whole new band of admirers too.

Leigh Russell said...

Thanks for your comment, Susan, I agree, our names are who we are. The only time I would publish under a different name would be if I ever wrote for children. I wouldn't want them picking up my murder stories!

Leigh Russell said...

Thank you, Gordon. I'm sure my publishers are hoping that will happen. Time will tell...