I was thinking of pennames, and how we choose them. You know, one thing I worry about is how while our culture is becoming more wonderfully diverse, writers so often choose Anglo "easy-sounding" pennames no matter what their own names are.
So "Margie Kowalski" becomes "Joanne Gray." And "Jamie Martelli" becomes "Bill Gray."
I was out to dinner tonight, and there was a fun group of people. There was the guy with the Welsh name married to the Finnish woman (who had a Hispanic surname and a Finnish given name), and the Jewish fellow and his Italian wife, and the African-American couple with the African first names and Anglo surnames. This is actually our culture, isn't it? And we love it. We love the diversity and especially the food from around the world. :)
So just a hope-- if you're going to choose a penname, for whatever reason, consider choosing a name that is in the same grouping as your own name. If you're Italian, choose an Italian name. If you're Asian, choose an Asian name. That way no one will think that most writers are Anglo-Saxon. Celebrate the diversity that is us.
Alas, I'm a typical American mongrel, Anglo on one side, and three types of Eastern Euro on the other. And like many women, my surname is my husband's (Swiss, so not all that exotic). But I love the name "Novak" (like Kim Novak, who was an actress in one of my fave Hitchcock films), and that name is Slovak, like my mother. So I'm thinking of using that as a penname if needed-- attractive, but also resonant with my own background ("All names ending in K are Slovak!" my grandma said, though I doubt it's true :).
Just a thought. We are multitudes, and we love it, and we should show it and not hide it. And there are plenty of writers with Anglo roots who can use those lovely English names too!
So, if you had to choose a penname for whatever reason, what would you use?