Why J. R.? Using a pen name.

J.R. Ewing
Larry Hagman as J.R. Ewing in Dallas

A few people have asked me why I’m using what appears to be a pseudonym. I’d like to make clear that I’m not ashamed of my writing in any way. I’m proud that I’ve finally pursued my lifelong dream; that I finally ignored the shroud of doubt and ducked out from underneath it…well maybe it started with a peak.

Here are the reasons that I’m using J.R. Yates and not my ‘real’ name.

  1. My writing has some adult and sexual content. In my career as a speech-language pathologist (SLP), I work with young children and their families in the public health system. At this point, I feel that it’s best to keep my professional career and writing separate.
  1. Unspeakable has a speech-language pathologist as its main protagonist. In the book, Hanna sees a varied group of patients. For now, it’s best if Hanna and my SLP alter-ego have some separation – that patients don’t feel that I’m writing about them. I assure you, although I pull from experience, every single character in Unspeakable is fictional.
  1. I’ll just come right out and say it – I have a generic name. More than that – I have a generic French Canadian name. J. R. stands for my first name and maiden name. If you Googled the name that I’ve used my entire life, you wouldn’t find me. You would come up with about a zillion obits for ninety-year-old women in Quebec. I’m in no way ashamed of my heritage – quite the opposite. I never took my husband’s name; I’ve been using my maiden without fail for all 12 years of marriage (yes, I’m one of those women). My name makes me readily identifiable as French (I see French and English clients), and I want my kids to know and recognize the French part of their heritage. Which brings me to my final reason…
  1. My kids. I want my kids to be proud of their mom for following her dream. So, if Unspeakable ever gets published (fingers crossed), I would love for it to have their last names on it. It’s my way of sharing my accomplishment with them.