I’m splitting.

Don’t get too excited.  I’m not leaving or anything like that.  No, I’m going through something of an identity crisis and I’m considering splitting myself into two.  People aren’t sure what I write.  The problem is that I write in multiple genres.  One side of me writes thrillers and mysteries and the other side of me writes horror and dark fantasy.  I know a number of writers who flit between genres with no problem and I hoped to do the same, but it isn’t working for me.  My writing in different genres confuses people.  Horror readers think I write mystery and mystery readers think I write horror.  The simple thing to do would be to stick to one genre and have done with it, but I don’t want to.  I love writing horror stories as much as I do crime. 
So what is a chimera to do?  What else, but split.

I think it’s time for a pen name, but which side of me gets the new identity?  That’s an easy one.  The pen name will go to my horror writing.  I’ve written a lot of short horror fiction that has appeared in magazines and anthologies, but I’ve never published a horror novel, whereas my published and forthcoming novels are thrillers.  It would be too disruptive to reinvent myself in the mystery and thriller world now. 

The topic of a pen name has been on my mind for some time.  My attempts to educate the world to my multi-faceted aspects haven’t worked and it’s getting a little frustrating.  People either label me as a horror or thriller writer, never both.  More than a minor annoyance, the situation has hindered me.  Not for the first time, anthology editors have looked me over because they knew me for one genre and not both.  It’s time to break out the white flag and surrender to the realization that it’s hard being two things at once.

I do have a name picked out, but I’m not willing to share it at the moment.  Change, while good, does create waves.  While I want to create a second writing identity, I have to consider other people.  There are a number of upcoming projects, which this decision will affect.  I need to discuss it with them first.

As Eric Burden of the Animals once said, “I’m just a soul who’s intentions are good. Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood.”  It’s not a good situation for a writer to be in.

I’ll let you know what I decide.

Yours a person divided,
Simon Wood

21 thoughts on “Splitting

  1. Mike MacLean

    Aldo beat me to it. You know, of course, that you are now going to receive a ton of smartass name suggestions.

    Smartass suggestions like… Woody Simon … oh, oh, or how about Jack Thunder. Yeah, Jack Thunder–that’s friggin’ cool.

  2. Laura Benedict

    Remember when Garth Brooks turned into Chris Gaines for a while? He stopped wearing the cowboy hat and dyed his hair black. Along with the new name, you could go bleach blond and get an eyebrow stud, or maybe a nose ring (removable, of course, for your Simon Wood tours). The hat thing could get messy, though. Hats tend to look dorky in authors’ pics.

    I bet you have a new myspace page already filled out!

  3. Guyot

    Here are the pen names Simon is trying to decide on, along with the nickname his loyal fans will call him:

    Faustino Goff – “The Goffmeister”Heretic O’hurlihy – “HH”Nigel Mansell – “The Lion”Rick Danger – “Ranger Danger”Scooter McWritealot – “Scoots” or “McWritey”Jefferson Airplane – “Huh?”Symen Would – “Ginormous Wood”

    Please vote for your favorite. Results will be announced in Simon’s next post.

  4. Louiseure

    I vote for the old middle-name-plus-first-street-you-lived-on.

    I’d be Counter Waverly under that system. Makes me sound like a romance writer, with books full of camisoles and castle moats.

    Hope your nom de clavier works out better than that.

  5. pari noskin taichert


    Faustino, Nigel, and Symen all sound horrific enough.

    ****I’ve been thinking of about a pen name for my new series. Fans of quirky humor might resent the darker tone of Iris’s world.

    But how would to promote these splits simultaneously?

  6. Naomi

    I’m not that keen on pen names for myself. I guess I hope that one book or short story will lead to another sale of another. Of course, I’ll be traveling in noir territory this year and then in YA lit next year–so I guess I’ll have my set of detractors. But the work all seems to have the same thematic thread, so maybe using one authorial name makes sense.

  7. Elaine Flinn

    Ohh…I like Rick Danger. It’s just so…so…dangerous. Just like Simon.

    Hey, Louise – I’d be Josephine Lawton. Sounds like a historian or a biographer, huh? I’m much rather sound like a bodice ripper rapper.

  8. Alexandra Sokoloff

    I wish I had enough books out to split myself – it sounds like so much fun!

    Rick Danger is great, but Scooter McWritealot still has me laughing.

    Louise, I mean Counter, I thought for your stripper name you use your favorite pet and the street where you grew up.

    Nikki Sepulveda for me, which yes, I’m going to use somehow, somewhere.

  9. Louiseure

    Alex, then I’d be “Shelby Waverly.” I’d be running in JD Rhoades territory. A Good Old Southern Girl who knows all the backroads and can put on a condom using only her tongue.

  10. simon

    Thanks for everyone’s suggestions. Let’s call them varied. 🙂

    If I used my mum’s maiden name and my first pet, I would be Tiger Smith–but I may save this name for my porn career.

    Jim Clark Jr might be good (Guyot should know who I mean), but I have another identity picked out–but I ain’t telling.

    And Louise, do you know where I can find this Shelby girl. She sounds like a sweet girl…


  11. Louiseure

    Hey Simon. I hear Shelby’s hanging out at a little dirt track outside of Tuscaloosa, trying to figure out how to file her fingernails into the shapes of Phillip’s Head and regular screwdrivers.

  12. simon

    Lainey: Julie lets me say what I want, as long as she gets to edit…

    Louise: Tuscaloosa, hmm…

    Guyot: JC is my all time racing hero. I’ve always thought about visiting the stone marking the spot at Hockenheim.


  13. Laura Benedict

    That’s what the interviews say, Elaine. But I may have scared/insulted Mr. Mosley away.

    I should’ve just told Simon/Scooter not to wear a Speedo. Surely no one’s wearing Speedos in their authors’ pics!

  14. simon

    Laura, Laura, Laura, you haven’t seen my author photo have you…?

    Hey, my ARCs for Accidents Waiting to Happen just arrived. I’m happy. 🙂



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