Cary Grant, Clark Gable, Gary Cooper. Hard guys with hard names. And what about Michael Caine, Sean Connery, Kevin Costner, Nicholas Cage, Clint Eastwood? More hard guys with hard names.
Is it any accident that some of the world’s best-selling authors are men with hard names? King. Would he ever have become King if he had a name like Shayne? Only if his first name was Mike. And don’t forget Koontz, Clancy, Cook.
I thought a lot about using a pseudonym, something hard like Cole Black that would immediately proclaim: here is an author with an edge. But there would be problems with a pseudonym: cashing royalty checks; explaining to a publisher that I’m not hiding anything by using a fake name; being invited to the White House as Cole Black and only having identification for Pat Bertram. Ouch.
In the end I decided to stick with my own name. It’s a good-sounding name for an author. Besides, it has the whole androgynous “It’s Pat” thing going for it. I can be the author I want without trying to live up to a fictitious name or persona.
And anyway, p’s and b’s and t’s and r’s didn’t hurt Brad Pitt any.