Name the author

by Pari Noskin Taichert

I love my name. That’s why I’ve used it all of these years. That’s why I added on to it, rather than dropping my surname when I got married. It’s been a point of pride and I didn’t hesitate to sign it to my first book contract.

Pari Noskin Taichert: it’s got everything. You want exoticism? Pari is Farsi for angel, fairy or sea nymph. You want lyricism? I think it fits the bill; it certainly gets the old imagination going. Intrigue? Yep. No one knows where the hell it comes from or how the hell to pronounce it.

About the only thing my name doesn’t have going for it is memorability. There’s nothing there for people to hang their mnemonics on.

I’m not kidding.

A month ago, I was down in Las Cruces at the farmer’s market and met a woman who loves my books. I was giddy with meeting her and she felt the same way about me — once she realized who I was. Talk about a love-fest.

"I was just telling a friend about you yesterday," she said, a’flutter.
"Thank you." I wanted to kiss her feet. Not only had she read my books, she was doing my marketing for me.
"Yeah, I told her not to bother trying to remember your name, but that the titles were pretty easy."

Lovely.

At both Agatha Award banquets, the announcers mispronounced my name. It happens on panels unless the moderator takes the time to email me in advance.

It’s demoralizing to see the disappointment in readers’ eyes when they meet me for the first time. Instead of some gorgeous woman with a long black braid and skin the color of chai, they get a soccer mom.  And, bookstore employees tell me they often get requests for "that lady from New Mexico with the weird name." They always know exactly who the customer is talking about.

Frankly, though, I’m tired of it.

Now, I know I’m putting the cart before the horse, the butter before the bread, but when my new series sells (you’ll notice the confidence in that phrase . . .) I’m considering using a pseudonym. Something simple — with initials.

I need a name with some pizazz like the ones you find on this blog. Just look at those initials, those short names or the three-name jobbies with at least one that’s familiar. Holy cow. You’d think I’d have enough inspiration right here.

P.N. Taichert. Nah, the n doesn’t flow off the tongue and Taichert still confuses the crap out of people. P.T. Noskin? That might be better but it’s not very catchy. Pari Jones? Might work. P.T. Jones? That has a certain appeal.

Ah, darn it to Hades, I don’t know. I could use some help here . . .

Got any suggestions? You might just come up with a winner in this name-the-author — literally — discussion. Hey, you might even get a prize.

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And, speaking of names . . .

I’ll be one of the interviewees on MWA’s Murder Must Air broadcast this Thursday evening, Oct. 18, at 8 pm central time. The topic is promotion and host L.C. Hayden wants me to talk about how to "get your name out there." Hah! I’ll have plenty to say.

The other known guests are: author David Skibbins and PR pro/author Jo-Ann Powers. L.C. says that there’s also going to be a mystery guest for an additional 15 minutes of the show. Can’t wait to find out who it is.

36 thoughts on “Name the author

  1. d.a.davenport

    I like it the way it is. I don’t have trouble remembering your name at all.

    The reason I use D.A. is that Deb or Debbie Davenport sounds like either a perennially perky refuge from a 40’s musical or a plump and peppy Nancy Drew character.

    Debbie and edgy simply don’t work together at all.

    Reply
  2. B.G. Ritts

    “…bookstore employees … always know exactly who the customer is talking about…”

    This is important. If it also holds for librarians, it seems to me keeping your name would be a good idea. Perhaps because I’m of ‘a certain age’, P.T. immediately brings Barnum to mind.

    While I agree ‘Pari’ is particularly wonderful, searching for it on Amazon yields over a quarter million hits — most of which are for ‘Paris’. Any combination of your three names, however, only shows books you have written or are mentioned in.

    I guess I’ve never been much for keeping up with the Joneses. Why have a name similar to others’ when you have such a unique one already? Do people ever get ‘Connelly’ and ‘Connolly’ confused? I often do.

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  3. Bryon Quertermous

    Quertermous isn’t bad enough. My parents had to spell my first name weird as well so now everybody calls me BYron. The first day of school was always a pain in the ass. But I love my name and wouldn’t want to see any other name on a book cover. But I suspect that, like you, that might change after I publish and have to deal with the crap associated with it. But at least for the first book, I want to see my real name. My full name.

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  4. Naomi

    I agree, B.G. I always have to look up the correct spelling of Michael Connelly’s name.

    I also have a challenging surname, but I suppose I must look like a Hirahara while strangers must wonder what Pari looks like. The funniest mispelling in a Bouchercon program was Hirahiraha. Ha is right!

    Quertermous is quite an awesome name. Seems like it came out a world of minotaurs. Very mysterious and fantastic.

    My husband, who works as a guidance counselor at a Los Angeles high school, has students with the most wonderful names, like a Latino girl with the middle name, Alabama. Turns out that she was named after the song, “Sweet Home Alabama.” You never know.

    You just might be before your time, Pari. You could hang on and wait until the rest of the U.S. catches up with you.

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  5. pari

    Good morning all,Wow. It’s neat to know that all y’all have opinions.

    J.D. and Toni,I’ve thought about the single name seriously. But, as B.G. points out, when you do an online search it would yield far too many of the wrong hits.

    D.A.,I understand your decision with the initials. I also think they sound good together. That’s not the case with any combination I could come up with.

    B.G,Your comment about P.T. cracked me up. Yep, it does remind one of Barnum.

    Naomi,I have no idea what Noskin means, but Taichert is some kind of pond digger. “Pari Pond?” Sounds like a children’s book writer to me.

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  6. Louise Ure

    I’d definitely keep the Pari part, and use it as a surname. Then just pick whatever first name you always wish your mother had named you.

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  7. JT Ellison

    I agree — losing the Pari would be like cutting off your arm. And initials are all well and good, but it’s always a richer experience to know the real name. I’d go with Pari X.; )

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  8. pari

    J.T,.,Pari X? I love it. I’ve always been envious of our own Alex’s possession of that consonant.

    Louise,Your suggestion interests me strangely. But, you see, I’ve always loved my first name (except when I was in elementary school and everyone teased me — Bryon knows what I’m talking about . . .).

    Naomi,Hirahiraha! That’s just wonderful. Most folks don’t make a name MORE complicated. And, yes, you do look like a Hirahara.

    I haven’t made any decisions about the name thing . . . just toying with the idea.

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  9. PJ Parrish

    Pari,

    How about P.J. Taichert? Then you can join the club with us, P.J. Tracy, P.J. Nunn, P.J. Coldren, P.J. O’Roake, P.J. Haarsm (sci-fi) and P.J. Erickson (children’s, I think). Affiliate members include M.J. Rose, S.J. Rozan, C.J. Lyons, T.J. MacGregor, B.J. McCall…and K.J.A. Wishnia.

    Dues are $20 lifetime. We take any author. Except O.J.

    Reply
  10. Jacky B.

    When I first discovered Murderati, there was one name that JUMPED right out at me: Pari Noskin Taichert.

    Instant intrigue.

    Probably has the same effect when on the bookshelves. People may not be able to pronounce it, but they’re not gonna forget it.

    It sure ain’t broke, so why fix it?

    Jacky B.

    Reply
  11. Fran

    Unless your new series is a wildly different style, my vote is stay who you are and let the rest of us catch up.

    Natalie Collins writes terrifying novels about the Mormon Church. However Natalie Roberts writes funny, funny cozies. I can see why she changes names there.

    But you have a wonderful and unique name, and as a bookseller, it’s one to remember. And if people can’t pronounce it? They can’t pronounce Lescroart, Crais or Chabon. Not bad company.

    Of course I understand that John Lescroart told Michelle Gagnon that she should be prepared to be “Gag-nun” because people will just get it wrong, so there is that.

    Follow your heart and your gut. But keep the Pari, definitely!

    Reply
  12. Tammy Cravit

    I don’t have any trouble remembering your name, Pari, so I’d say “why mess with a good thing?” Leave it be, and don’t worry about it.

    Of course, I do fear that I’d horribly mangle the pronounciation were I to try *saying* it…maybe you need an audio file on your Web site to help those of us who are linguistically-challenged in that regard. *wink*

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  13. pari

    Fran,I was hoping you’d chime in. Thanks for the input. At this point, I’m wondering if my name is really as much of a deficit as my ego might make me believe.

    Tammy,Here you go:Pari rhymes with “starry”Noskin = NawskinTaichert = TieKurt

    Although, I DO like the idea of putting that audio file on the website. Might just do it.

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  14. Alexandra Sokoloff

    I love your name, Pari, and this couldn’t be more perfect: “Farsi for angel, fairy or sea nymph”.

    Yes to all of the above!!

    This is a sensitive subject… my name is easy enough to pronounce, but people just freak out when they see it.

    My editor and agent told me not to change it. So I didn’t.

    Reply
  15. Elaine Flinn

    Stay the way you are! I mean, hell, Pari – there’s only one of you – keep it that way.

    But I know what you mean about pronounciation…some folks don’t think Flinn should sound like Flynn…and in the beginning…called me Fline. 🙂 I think they’ve got it now. 🙂

    Reply
  16. pari

    All right. I’ll stop it.

    The “yeas” have it. Unless I have an exceedingly clever brainstorm, I’ll stick with the whole shebang.

    Thanks to everyone who has dropped in so far.

    Reply
  17. pari

    Salmon?

    You know, this discussion has a kind of grass-is-greener edge to it, doesn’t it?

    People with names I would have expected to be a cinch still have problems.

    Perhaps it’s endemic, part of being an author whose work escapes our hands and flies free in the world.

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  18. a Paperback Writer

    I’m glad BG said the comment about PT Barnum because it’s EXACTLY what I was thinking.I think your name is great. (And I was pronouncing the first two names right! I feel so proud.) I wouldn’t go with just Pari because it’ll look too much like the middle grade author who goes by Avi.I vote for keeping your own name just as it is, especially since you’ve already built up a reputation with that name. I suppose if you want to try something totally new then you could pick a pseudonym (I’d avoid Lemony Snicket, though, if I were you), but otherwise I’d stick with your name.And as for mispronounced authors’ names, well, I guess that puts you in league with Salmon Rushdie, Cornelia Funke, and Neil Gaiman, and Eoin Colfer — all very different, but all with very big sales, so it’s not a bad trend. (I mispronounced Gaiman and Eoin until I met each one in person. I still have no clue how to pronounce Funke, and on Rushdie I go with how my friend from Bombay pronounces it, in hopes that it’s closer than either the English or American versions I’ve heard.)

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  19. pari

    Hey, there Paperback . . .I’m in great company. I’ll stop the whining.

    Rob,Pari Jones has a nice ring to it . . . kind of a sweet/sour edge. Hummm.

    Tom,You crack me up. I won’t be offended in the slightest if you pronounce the last name that way — as long as you keep the “r”. It will be wonderful to meet you at the Hillerman con. It’s a small and very fine event where you’re bound to make some excellent connections. Do you have an agent/editor appt?

    Reply
  20. Tammy Cravit

    It’s funny how names get misheard…I’ve had similar problems as Simon. Most commonly, my name seems to get rendered as “Pammy” — and when I say my full name, Tamara, people hear “Pamela” even though I pronounce it in the Hebrew manner with the stress on the second syllable.

    Oh, and thanks, Pari, for the pronounciation key. It cheers me to know that I would have been wrong only on the first syllable of your last name, which I thought was “Tay”.

    Still, maybe you should put that audio file on your Web site. Maybe you’ll start a new trend on author web sites.

    Reply
  21. pari

    Tom,That’s even better. Tony is getting on in years and he’s a bit absentminded. I want him to live forever; he’s such a nice man.

    You’ll probably enjoy Steven Havill, too.

    Very much looking forward to it.

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  22. pari

    Tom,We can work something out; I’ll be at the con all day Friday. On Saturday, one of my children will be testing for her junior black belt in Tae Kwon Do. That afternoon, I’ll be testing for my black tip (the only step after that is the black belt). So, Friday is my only day.

    I absolutely want to talk with you about Mysteries to Die For, too.

    The new book won’t be available yet, but I’m hoping to show up with an ARC for people to see . . .

    Reply
  23. pari

    Oh, my gosh, John,I just saw this today — Oct. 22. Just using my initials would certainly be daring, wouldn’t it?

    But I don’t know how people would pronounce it. Kind of like when Prince did his weird graphic A thing.

    It might be too distancing.

    Reply

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