Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Mistaken Identities...Tanya Hanson

A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold. Proverbs 22:1

When I was born, my great-grandfather wrote me a letter I didn’t read until many years after his death. I’d been christened with such an elaborate Russian name he declared I ought to be a ballerina or composer.

Sadly, I’m a klutz and only okay on the piano. And despite his excitement, I grew up seriously loathing both my first and last names. I was often teased about being a “Commie.” Each name was constantly mispronounced and misspelled. I won a prestigious art award in college and yup, spelled wrong. My mom often joked that I’d marry a Smith or Jones. Something easy.

Hanson seemed to fit her prediction. Easy to pronounce for sure. But just as easy to misspell. I have relatives who still spell my married name HansEn. Uh, we’ve been married almost forty years.

I mention all of this because I wondered about pseudonyms when I started out as a writer. Do I honor my father? My husband? Or become somebody entirely new. A very successful, very famous author I met through RWA regretted using her actual name; she kept getting fan mail from a guy in prison who vowed to “look her up” when he got released...

Reality won out. Tanya Hanson I was and Tanya Hanson I would remain. And hence comes my initial advice to every newbie author. Google your pen name before you carve it in stone. I did not. Upon publishing my first book, it took my eleven year old neighbor boy's misspelling my last name as he looked up my new website to discover that Tanya HanSEN is a porn star.

Yup. At least I got a lot of traffic to my site. And also Too Much Information about the real me all over the internet.

Then came the additional challenge of writing both secular and inspirational romance. My writing both genres never bothered my editors, nor did my keeping the same name. But wow, I’ve gotten some nasty comments and reviews from judgmental readers.

So I wonder. Is it better to start out fresh and new? Or like my great-grandfather’s wish, aspire for good things as your actual self?

Do you use a pen name? Should authors use different names for different genres? Too late for me, but let me know your advice and thoughts for upcoming authors out there!

Claiming His Heart

Caught between a noose and a cave-in, Tulsa Sanderson must do anything possible to prove his brother’s innocence...even if it means marrying a gold miner’s daughter he just met. He needs every nugget and flake he can pull from her worn-out claim, but he sure doesn’t need a wife. Save his brother and he’ll be back on the Texas cattle trails. God, and trusting Him, are things of the past.

Charlotte Amalie lost her heart, her virtue, and her money to the last mysterious outsider in the valley. Faith? That’s wavered, too, after too many family tragedies. But she has no choice but to wed the handsome Tull. He bears terrible family secrets that need to be kept behind closed doors. Although she’s eager to leave the valley to find a new life for herself and medical treatments for her wounded brother, her unwanted marriage douses her plans, yet stirs up hope and love for Tull...and begins to fortify her weakened faith.

Can the two of them find a future--and faith--together even with their haunted pasts? 

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Tanya Hanson and her firefighter-hubby live on California’s Central Coast where they are the besotted grandparents of two darling little boys. Her love of the West shows up in each of her stories. Claiming His Heart, set in the gold mining country of southern California, is her first inspirational historical romance.