After 10 years of using the name Laina Turner as my author name for my cozy mysteries a couple months ago, I decided to make a switch.
Why, you ask?
Because I like to make things difficult for myself. I just love a challenge, don’t you?
Ok, not really. The name change wasn’t on a whim. It was something I had thought about for a very long time before actually deciding to do it. I thought I had things well thought out and a calculated plan on how to execute things. I knew it would be kind of a pain to change all my book covers over social media accounts, explaining to my readers, and all that, but I felt it was what needed to happen to best reflect my brand.
However, the name change endeavor has proved to be a lot harder than I ever expected. The word challenging doesn’t even begin to describe what it’s been like, but when I finally finish the process, I know it will be worth it.
When I started writing years ago, I used Laina Turner, my real first name, and my maiden name. Since we’re all friends, and I do like to be transparent, I can tell you my legal last name is Molaski (my ex-husbands). My current husband’s last name is Sartori. I didn’t change it when we married because I wanted to have the same last name as my kids. For a long time, my son thought it’s just because I thought having a Polish last name was cool.
I may change it when my kids are all off on their own, but then again, maybe not. It’s a lot of paperwork, and not sure it’s worth it.
But anyway, I digress.
After years of writing cozy mystery, I finally wrote the romance books I’d wanted to write for years. Delving into a new genre meant I needed a pen name (for marketing reasons, not because I wanted one), and I came up with Elle Sweet.
I thought I was so brilliant. Elle for the “L” in Laina and Sweet was my grandfather’s last name, so it was meaningful, plus I found it fitting for a clean romance author.
However, it never felt right to me to have a pen name. I didn’t feel authentic, and it hindered me from engaging my fans. I actually became a little angry. Because while I enjoy writing cozy mysteries and love all my readers, I’ve been dreaming of writing a clean contemporary romance with older characters for years. Now that I was finally doing it, I didn’t feel I could market my romance books the way I wanted, and that made me mad.
I realize being uncomfortable and not marketing the way I want to is mostly in my head. I know so many authors who use multiple pen names because they write in different genres, and they do just fine marketing their books. I’m even confident that readers aren’t fazed by an author they like using a pen name. It’s common. But for some reason, it bothered me.
However, I knew I needed a pen name to keep my genres separated on Amazon.
After a lot of thought, I created a pen name closer to my actual name in hopes it would “feel” better to me, and that’s how I came up with L.C. Turner. The initials of my proper name Laina Carole.
Instead of just changing my romance books to the new L.C. Turner name, I thought, why not make things as confusing as possible? I changed my cozy mysteries from Laina Turner to L.C. Turner and changed my romance books to Laina Turner.
Now, why would I do that to myself, you ask? Isn’t that taking a confusing process and making it even that much more confusing?
Why yes? Yes, it does, but again, it all had to do with how I felt portraying myself to readers and my desire to be as authentic as possible.
While both the cozy mysteries I write and the romance are fiction, the romance books I write are more personal, and I want them to have a message.
My cozy mysteries also have many personal elements, but I don’t live in a town where people drop dead like flies. I am an almost 50-year-old woman who has been married twice, divorced once, has kids, has lost a parent, plus experienced many more of life’s obstacles. You know all the life experiences that help form who we are.
Because my passion is romance with older characters who have experienced many life’s curveballs, I wanted these to be written under my real name to share my real experiences.
I know it’s confusing; I know I may anger some who buy one of my cozy mysteries under L.C. Turner just to find out they already read it (thank goodness for the simple process of returns). Still, I hope you understand why I changed the name.