J.K. Rowling Has a Pseudonym and 5 Other Famous Fakers

Categories: Books

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At least this mystery is solved
The jig is up for Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling. This week it was revealed that the author who is most famous for her creation of the Gryffindor colors penned a recent mystery novel titled The Cuckoo's Calling. Rowling wrote the book under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. The news was released by the Times who saw too many connections between Rowling and the mysterious no-name author.

Rowling says that she was rather enjoying writing as someone else. One can only imagine the hype of putting a book out under her real name and the ridiculously high level of expectations she must meet. As Galbraith, Rowling said that it had been a "pure pleasure to get feedback from publishers and readers under a different name."

Many authors have been in Rowling's place, publishing under different names to hide their true identities whether due to their extreme popularity, in an effort to keep their gender a secret or just because they felt like it. Here are our top five secret authors.

5. Richard Bachman AKA Stephen King
Allegedly, King took on the name of Bachman to be able to write more than one book per year, which was the limit to writers of the time. King decided that rather than exhaust his reading public, he would publish books as Bachman. The other idea behind the pen name was for King to see if he was as good as a writer as people gave him credit or if his popularity was dumb luck.

Bachman put out several books one of which, The Running Man, became a movie in 1987. King demanded that Bachman's name, not his own, be given credit in the film. He even had a fake picture of Bachman on the jacket of his books, who was supposedly the insurance agent of King's literary agent.

Eventually King outed himself as Bachman and even killed him off but not before letting it out that Bachman may return again one day with a posthumous manuscript.

4. Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels AKA Barbara Mertz
Talk about identity crisis! Mystery author Barbara Mertz writes under not just one but two different pseudonyms. Apparently, Mertz, who holds a Ph.D. in Egyptology, had published a nonfiction book on ancient Egypt under her own name and then wrote a suspense novel that had nothing to do with ancient Egypt whatsoever. Her publisher was worried that people would be confused --- why, I don't know - so it was suggested that she write all gothic and supernatural-type novels, Egypt-based or otherwise, under the name of Elizabeth Peters.

But then she has also written a series of books called the Amelia Peabody series, which are about an Egyptologist, quite like herself, who solves mysteries. Rather than be even more confusing, although it seems that confusion is the route that was taken, Mertz writes these books under the name Elizabeth Peters. Peters writes about other mystery-solving academics as well.

Mertz is an acclaimed mystery writer with many awards under her belt. My question is who accepts the awards when she goes to the podium?

3. A Lady AKA Jane Austen

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Jane Austen was a lady indeed

Jane Austen may now be one of the most recognized and celebrated female authors of all time but during her own life she hid behind anonymity. Austen published her books under no name whatsoever, just calling herself "A Lady." At the time, assumedly, writing as a women was a difficult task but if you are going to out your gender, why not out your name as well? Regardless, Austen never received the credit she deserved during her lifetime. Imagine if she knew how many movies and take-off movies have been created based on her novels? Imagine she knew what a movie was at all?

2. Anne Rampling/A. N. Roquelaure AKA Anne Rice
Anne Rice is well known for reinvigorating the vampire genre with her The Vampire Chronicles series including Interview with a Vampire and The Vampire Lestat. Interview with a Vampire became a popular film that Rice even wrote the screenplay to. But not everyone knows that Rice has a sexy side.

Both of Rice's nom de plumes, Anne Rampling and A.N. Roquelaure are really into BDSM, which stands for Bondage & Discipline, Domination & Submission and Sadism & Masochism. Yup. Under the Rampling name, she wrote Exit to Eden and the subsequent Belinda, both of which are romance novels with pornographic twists. As Roquelaure, she wrote the Sleeping Beauty series, which explores the sleeping beauty character but there are orgies and stuff.

Because of her focus on BDSM, many people wondered if Rice (or any of her other identities) partook in the lifestyle, but her husband said if she's into BDSM, then why is our sex life so boring? No. He never said that (out loud anyway).

1. Lewis Caroll AKA Charles Dodgson

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So pensive. Is he thinking about math or little girls?

Who is not familiar with the author Lewis Caroll, famous for taking a young girl named Alice down a rabbit hole into a most peculiar world of fantastical animals, monsters and caterpillars that smoke pipes. But Caroll was not his real name; the man behind the looking glass was actually named Charles Dodgson. But it wasn't just that Dodgson wrote entirely under a different name, he only wrote fiction under the Caroll name.

Dodgson was also a published author of mathematical books. He published nearly a dozen books under his real name in the fields of geometry, logic, algebra and mathematical theory. He is even the brain behind something called the Dodgson condensation, which is a method of computing the determinants of square matrices -- whatever that means.


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2 comments
abby
abby

@Anse This is our art/culture blog so we write about art/culture. You should check out Hair Balls, that's where we write about news news. 

Anse
Anse

I'm really worried about the Houston Press. Please don't take offense to this, Ms. Koenig, as I'm sure you will have readers who find this story interesting. But I visit this site regularly because I once read the print copy regularly. And the content on this site has gone really downhill. There are some great, in-depth stories from time to time, but everything else is lists! Is it a matter of controlling expenses? Do you guys not have the resources to provide more substantial coverage of the 4th largest city in America? Is this city really so devoid of interesting news that our beloved weekly paper must be reduced to the List Du Jour? I hate to bring this up--I really, really hate to do this--but I must direct your attention to our state capital city's weekly paper. It's a massive thing every single week. Their coverage of state and local politics is expansive. Not every story on the Austin Chronicle site is all that interesting,  but my god, compare the two, and you'd think the city of Houston had a population of 20,000. Hell, my hometown has only 10,000 and their local paper still puts out two issues a week! Please, please address this before we see you evaporate before our eyes.

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