Tag Archives: choosing your nom de plume

Your writer’s name

What name are you going to use as a writer?

I found that personally, this question was holding me back. I needed to find a good nom de plume. Some of you might be absolutely fine using their birth name to write. Some of you might decided to use one because they love the idea but for some of us, it is a necessity. I, for example, didn’t want my family to know what I was writing. I knew that some of it might be hurtful for them. But the main criteria was that I felt that if I wrote under my birth name, i would censor most of what I would write. In other words, the thought that my family (my mother in particular) could read what I wrote paralysed me. Is that strange? For a while, I thought I would wait until her and my Dad went back to the creator but I just couldn’t. I had to write. So I moved countries and started writing in a language that wasn’t my native language. And the English language has given me the freedom that I needed.

How did I chose my nom de plume?

First I changed my first name slightly. The reason was that my name in the English language is nothing like my name in French and I hated how the English pronounced it. No matter how many times I tried to explain to them how to pronounce it, they always butchered it. So I used an anagram which also happened to be a nick name of mine anyway, so it feels familiar. It happens to mean angel, and a lot of people have called me that. I find that sweet.

My surname came from my love of the cinema. The Freres Lumiere were the founder of the cinema. Most film students know that. And there is a very strong and vivid love of the cinema in France, even today. Paris is the city that has the highest ratio of cinemas per capita in the world. France is the third biggest market for films and it is the country that has the smallest percentage of US films screening. In short, we love a good film. So de Lumiere was a way for me to honour that love that my native country and myself have for the cinema. During the best part of my life, I could only cry in the darkness of cinema theatres. And when I did I cried fountains. Bambi is one of my best tear jerker. That says a lot.

Lumiere also means “light” and as a visual artist, the light is very important to me. It is also important to me because I am an energy worker. I believe that we have a force in us, that other traditions call chi or ki, that makes us alive. We are not only bones and flesh. We have a soul. I believe in subtle energies and in the invisible. I experience telepathy, clairvoyance, intuition, mediumship and other “paranormal” phenomenal every day. At the same time, I am a very practical girl whose best subjects in school were science and maths and who had a fifteen year successful career as a lawyer. I need proof. I love contrasts.

Someone once told me my name was ridiculous because it means Angel of Light in French. They advised me to change it as soon as possible. Technically the “de” in French is what is called a “particular” and when used in a surname it is an indication of nobility. I like that it gives me nom de plume un “Je ne sais quoi”: a special touch. So I said to that person (I was not offended in the least) that my name was like marmite, you love it or you hate it. It’s not really my issue.

How are you going to chose your nom de plume? I know authors who have chosen their mother’s maiden name. Or chosen randomly from a phone book. I have one British ancestor called Armstrong and I once considered using that name. I liked the strength of it. There are wonderful first name and second name dictionaries that can help you with that choice.

You can use more than one nom de plume. I have a second one for part of my work that I need privacy for. My agent told me that he has a client who has ten noms de plume. Wow. Does she use a different name for each book she writes? And if she does, why? That certainly triggered my imagination.

The best to your creativity,

Ange de Lumiere

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