What's in a name?

Following on from the announcement that I have signed a two book deal with One More Chapter to write under the name of Eva Glyn, I thought it would be nice to explain why – and what the name means to me.

In today’s market author brand is incredibly important. With so many books to choose from it’s important to have something that will help readers recognise that yours is something they would like to read. We all have ‘go to’ authors and if there’s something about a book you’re browsing that reminds you a little of them, then you are more likely to think you will enjoy it.

When I started my road to publication, almost by default I had written a slightly spooky love story, The Cheesemaker’s House, so I decided that was what my differentiating factor would be. What I didn’t appreciate was be how hard it would be to find a home for ghostly romances; mine by no means fit into the paranormal category, and yet they aren’t mainstream contemporary romance either. I was extremely lucky to find Sapere Books, who had the confidence in my writing to go for the Jane Cable author brand of ‘the past is never dead’.

But one of my novels, The Faerie Tree, didn’t fit into that category. Nothing even vaguely spooky in sight; just a highly emotional tale of second chance love and the tricks memory plays across twenty years. And during lockdown last year I decided to submit it to Charlotte Ledger at One More Chapter. I knew she liked my writing but wasn’t interested in anything ghostly, and I had always believed in this book. So I gave it a polish and a new name, and off it went.

When the novel was accepted the issue of author brand was the first thing we discussed. This was to be a two book deal for emotional women’s fiction – exactly where I had wanted my writing to go for some time. But as the books wouldn’t be what readers have come to expect from Jane Cable, and as my relationship with Sapere was set to continue, I suggested that I should use a penname.

To be honest I’d had the first name in mind for a while. Eva was my father’s mother’s name and as she died just after my parents met I knew never her. But all the same it was my father’s writing gene I had inherited (albeit from the other side of his family) and I wanted to pay homage to that.

I juggled with the surname for a while. Initially I’d thought of Cornish, my other grandmother’s maiden name, but although – or perhaps because – I live in the county now, it sounded too much like a ploy. Another obvious choice would have been Hampson; a family name on my father’s side and used by his cousin, John Hampson, a novelist member of the Bloomsbury Group in forties.

But it was as I was sitting in my study, staring at the family photos, it came to me. There is only one picture that isn’t of a family member; it was one my mother always kept in her living room of her and my father’s great friend, poet and novelist Glyn Jones. His name said it all – it was Welsh, it was simple, and it meant a great deal. Now I have to make sure I do his memory justice.