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17 April 2013

Lyn's Thursday 'Bits and Pieces'

Happy Thursday.

As part of my on-going promise to tell you a little more about myself, I suppose the first thing is to explain my name - especially as I'm often asked about it and how to pronounce it.

OK - pronounciation first - Hoo-wel-ah (that's about the closest I can get to the phonetic pronounciation!)

When I first started writing (many hundreds of years ago), it never occurred to me that I would want to use a ‘pen name’

 Having graduated from short stories published in magazines, to writing a draft novel or two, several years elapsed during which writing took a back seat to my other passion – horses and endurance riding in the beautiful Welsh mountains.

Not that I stopped making up stories. The back of a horse is a wonderful place for mulling over current plot lines and dreaming up new ones.  Eventually, after I married and moved away from my beloved Wales to England, I dug out my futuristic romance ‘Starquest’ from the drawer where it lay hidden, and after revising it to within an inch of its life, and suffering the usual rejections from agents and publishers in the UK, I decided to submit a query, on-line, to a small  press in the States, (The Wild Rose Press which has gone from strength to strength and has been voted best small publisher for four years running.) At that time, TWRP published all full length novels as e-books first, followed by a print version six months later. (They are now published simultaneously, so the reader immediately has a choice of print of e-book.) Until then I have to admit I hadn't even read a full length e-book, and knew very little about them.  This was only  four years ago, but even then, if you mentioned the word 'e-reader' to most people in the UK the response was a blank look!  I was delighted and somewhat surprised to receive a request for the first three chapters, and then the complete MS, followed a few months later by an acceptance.  Wow!  I was going to be a published author!

I realised I really ought to have a name with a little more ‘punch’ than the name I’d been known by since my marriage.  ‘Lyn’ wasn’t particularly interesting (not to me, anyway) and my surname was Welsh and very short and ordinary

 My maiden name hadn’t been any more interesting, but I didn’t really want to hide behind a ‘pseudonym’ either. Then it struck me.  My ‘real’ first name is Hywela, which is Welsh, and ‘Lyn’ is my second name and the one which I’ve been known by since I was a baby. (Why my parents chose to give me two names and only use the second one, I have no idea.  Maybe it’s a ‘Welsh’ thing.)  It seemed a shame that I should go through life, never having used my first name at all, except on legal documents. Why not use both my Christian names and drop my surname, for authorly purposes, anyway?

So I became ‘Hywela Lyn’ – and I even have a star named for me.  Somewhere in the Orion constellation (my very favourite of all the constellations) is a star called ‘Hywela Lyn’, and I have a star map and certificate to prove it, courtesy of hubby, who gave it me as  a Christmas present.

I suppose it’s a compromise in a way, but a good one, because it means I get to use my real first name which would never be used otherwise!

I think I have the best of both worlds – a name that is different enough to catch people’s attention and show up on the search engines, but it’s still my own name. It’s certainly recognisable, and people do seem to remember it. It’s also a good topic of conversation as I am often asked about the ‘Hywela’ part of it and what it means.  I was actually named after my Uncle, Hywel Alun.  Hywel was a very famous Welsh King, Hywel Dda (Hywel The Good) born towards the end of the ninth century he ruled over most of the country and claimed the title "King of all Wales" Hywela, the feminine form of Hywel is a very ancient Welsh or Celtic name.

Do you have a name that's never used? Perhaps like me you use your middle name - is that by choice or just something that's always been done in your case? And if you're a writer, how did you get your pen name?

'STARQUEST'    'CHILDREN OF THE MIST'  (The sequel to Starquest)  Dancing With Fate      'Freeread':'A BARGAIN WITH DEATH

                  Also available on Kindle