Miss Pope Has Left the Building…

Dirty South!

There’s a girl out there with my same exact name, with the same exact spelling. After she friended my on Facebook I learned that we were born months apart, share the same ethnic background, even have a brother with the same name. She too has a blog right here on WordPress.Spooky right!?! At this moment she’s in medical school pursuing a career in the field I thought I was once destined for. I can’t wait for her to finish because very shortly there will be a Dr. Jamie Pope out there saving the world.

Professionally, she is going to need that name. As much as I would like to call dibs on it I can’t. Being a published romance novelist is my dream but it’s not as noble or as hard as being a doctor. There are other Jamie Pope’s out there. Jewelry designer, financial planner, musician, nutritionist, engineer, dentist and former Clemson Tigers football player. This Jamie Pope doesn’t even come up in the search results when you Google her. (How lowering…)

Now’s the right time to take on a pen name. As a teacher that decision was relatively easy for me to make. The hard part is deciding what to rename myself. There are many reasons why people choose pen names. The most popular is to separate their writing from their personal lives. Others do it for safety reasons, stalkers, fraud, etc. Some authors have multiple pen names, each with its own personality to reflect their unique writing style.

There are many authors with normal pen names. I didn’t want something normal, something easily forgettable. I wanted a name that stood out in the crowd and reflected my fun writing style, so I asked a friend for help. His first try was Brown Sugar Bacardi. Which he followed up with a, “Bow Chicka wow wow.”

Okay, I kinda, sorta loved it but knew it was way too over the top. He then suggested dropping the Brown and leaving the Sugar. Sugar. Sugar?

My father’s family is super Southern and spending a little time on Saint Helena Island(Coastal South Carolina. Check it out!) I learned that my family members who reside there don’t have typical names. I have a third or fourth cousin named Sugar, as well as one named Do’ boy(nickname,I hope). My grandmother whose name is Pearl, becomes Sissy and my aunt’s name changes from Diane to Lady. Confusing? Yes.

But I love that odd, almost backward culture of my relatives and as an homage to them I will gladly call myself Sugar. As for a sir name, I had to keep some part of myself in there so we decided on Jamison. Sugar Jamison. Over the top? A little. Uniquely me? You betcha.

As for the title to this post…  I have to give credit to one of my very cute, pain in the rear former students.  Every time he saw me get annoyed he would shout, “Miss Pope has left the building!”  Which was caused everybody to crack up and me to lighten up.  So, thank you to him for giving me a reason to use that phrase.

Your turn! What do think about pen names? Do you have one? Want one? Need one? Know a famous author with many? Have an oddly named family too?  Have you ever been to Saint Helena Island? Any and all comments are welcome.


21 thoughts on “Miss Pope Has Left the Building…”

  1. Well, Sugar it is, Sugar Jamison. Love your choice, it is, pardon the pun, sweet, and flows like sugar, good cadence, spelling is easy. You did good. Nah for me, I am keeping my name as is, Gail Ingis. I add my hubby’s “Claus” to my art and at Christmas I am Mrs. Claus, so you better be good. But, my daddy, Bernie, had a wonderful nick name “Tootshie.” His brothers and sisters named him, he never knew why. Jamie may have left the building, but what’s in a name? That which we call a rose, is a rose by any other name. A Shakespeare direct. So Jamie, that which we call Jamie, is Jamie by any other name. You will publish many books under your alias, Sugar Jamison.

  2. Excellent pen name. It’s you!

    I picked PJ Sharon simply to seperate me from my writing life. I kept my last name because so many people know me, I didn’t want them not to be able to find my books. I write YA so I thought PJ sounded kind of cool, and since there was also another Paula in our CTRWA group, I figured it would help with my correspondence there. Lots of freasons to take on Pen names. You are doing it for all the right reasons. Kudos!

  3. You know I love it! Sweet and sassy just like you. I can’t wait to see it on a book cover. And I do have a bunch of cousins who all have alternate names (my cousin Michael’s nickname is Pete, so when Peter was born everyone called him Dano to not confuse him with Pete whose real name is Michael. And this only one of the six kids – they all have nicknames).

    Casey Wyatt is my pen name, but it’s modeled after my real name initials. I wanted a pen name to separate my personal and professional life. Plus, I’m a private person and I like the layer between my public persona and the real me. I chose Casey because I wanted a gender neutral name (since I also write urban fantasy). It’s fun having another name, but can also be a chore managing all the social media that goes with having multiple identities. I’ve never been to St. Helena’s Island, but I have heard of it!

    1. My father’s family is wacky with the dual names. My grandfather whose name is Henry was called Frank. In fact I didn’t know his name was Henry till he passes away. The preacher at the funeral kept saying Henry and I wondered who the heck they were talking about.

  4. Love it! It’s perfect. Easy to say and the perfect length of syllables. I can’t change mine because of my public speaking, but I wish I could add another syllable in. Maybe I’ll add a middle name or initial.

    1. Do you have a middle name? I like your name. I think it’s catchy enough and you don’t have to go through the trouble of changing your name to fit your writing.

      1. It’s Lee. Yes, my name is Katy Lee Lee. 🙂 I don’t see that looking very good on a cover. If my mom knew I would marry someone with the last name Lee, I’m sure she would have given me a different middle name. Oh, well.

  5. Hey Sugar! That is one sweet pen name! 🙂 But, I do need to tell you that becoming a successful romance novelist is probably harder than becoming a doctor. Doctors just need to study and work hard. A writer needs talent, to study the craft and work hard, but also needs perseverance and a good bit of luck! Don’t sell yourself short, you are every bit as worthy of the name Jamie Pope as anybody else. But I like Sugar…Need a tag line? Have you got a sweet tooth for romance, read books by Sugar…

    1. I like that tag line! You can be in charge of writing them for me from now on. I only need that bit of good luck. Think you can find me some of that?

  6. I took a pen name because my married name is too hard to spell and pronounce, and I wanted to be easily Google-able. The name I was born with is short and sweet but politically controversial (no, no, no! My family was Dutch and his was English!), so that was also a no-go. I chose the name of my great-great-great Grandmother, Susannah Hardy. I had another GGG Gram name I actually liked better, but there’s a country singer out there with the same name, so I decided against it. As for family nicknames, my grandfather (who died long before I was born) was named Philemon, but was called Speed. I also had a Great Aunt, Evelyn, who was called Aunt Bill. Nobody, including Aunt Bill, could remember (or would say!) why.

    1. My father, James, is called Paul. When I asked my grandmother why, she had no idea why he was called Paul or who started it.

  7. I am still to finish a novel but i think a lot about pen names, I was born a Wingrove and alway said i write under that name but i have an unsusal family name – De’Ath but then again that might scare people away!! LOL thank you for your Blog!

  8. Sugar … reminds me of The Color Purple. I have toyed with creating a pen name, but my real name is so unique that I’m thinking of legally changing my real name and making my present name become my pen name …. just kidding, but I bet I had you going there. I think “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” … so call yourself whatever you wish, just keep writing.

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