LGBTQIA+ fiction with happy endings
This post is about my names, why I’ve chosen them, and what they mean to me. This is by no means a comprehensive naming post, just a few thoughts I probably should have mulled over (and edited) a little more before posting. But, tomorrow’s Wednesday and I’ve resolved to post once a week for #QueerBlogWed so here it is. I’d love to hear your thoughts on names and your naming stories too!
Many years ago I read a book by Amy Tan and it gave me the courage to do something I’d wanted to do for a long time: change my name. The whole experience was liberating, affirming, and empowering. I’ve never regretted that choice, even though my last name is constantly mispronounced. 🙂
When I came up with the idea to create a pen name and write Romances for the e-first market, I had no idea the story I submitted would be accepted. If anyone had told me at the time that I would have more than a dozen stories published over the next four years, I wouldn’t have believed it.
You may have heard me say that if I’d known publishers would accept those stories I would have chosen a different pseudonym. I went with Charley Descoteaux for good reasons: I’ve always wanted to be named Charley (or Charlie or Charli), and Descoteaux is an homage to the Romance authors I’ve read in the past while also acknowledging my French Canadian roots. However, it’s difficult to spell and folks are often uncomfortable trying to pronounce it. I get that—it’s embarrassing to mangle someone’s name, especially while facing them. I’ve done it many times to others so I know how it feels, and don’t want to inflict that on anyone anymore.
The decision to re-name myself, to choose a new pen name, was surprisingly easy. I considered that I’d be losing four years of work to get Charley Descoteaux in front of readers. But I did that once and hopefully can do it again. Only this time I’ll be using a name I truly love. If you’re here, reading this, you probably already know it.
Charli Coty is easy to spell, is pronounced the way you’d expect, and someday might even be my name in real life.
For a little while (very little, as in under an actual minute) I considered using the name created with the hope of writing YA fiction across the rainbow: Charli Green. But that name has negative associations for me now (same with Descoteaux, but different associations :)).
The change will be gradual. It’s tempting, but I won’tbe abandoning Charley Descoteaux—at least not yet. I wouldn’t risk losing all the wonderful people I’ve met over the past few years.
So that’s my experience with naming myself. I’d love to hear yours!
Representing LGBTQ Writers at AWP since 2012
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