Saturday, July 14, 2007

Playing the Name Game

Usually writers play the Name Game with their characters. Lots of sites of baby names, a baby name book or two, the Social Security database. Few people ever realize that authors can play the Name Game with their own name.

I'm one of them. I have a very ordinary name. It doesn't stand out or attract attention. I'm not saying I don't like my name, because I do. It's very easy to spell. It's just very ho-hum and plain when it comes to grabbing attention in the world of fiction.

For several years, I've occasionally written articles online under the name of Rachel Wilder. Wilder is my maternal grandmother's maiden name. Wilder has instant recognition because of Laura Ingalls Wilder. And yes, I'm related. Distant though it is, it's still there. Almanzo Wilder is something like my 8th cousin. The family connection goes back to the 1600's when two brothers named Wilder came to the colonies from England. They settled in New England. I come from one brother and Almanzo comes from the other.

Over time, my branch of the Wilders ended up in Arkansas, east Texas and Louisiana while Manly's branch stayed in New England and upstate New York. My great-grandfather Wilder was named Robert and he's buried in Gillum, Arkansas. (I think it's Gillum anyway, I could be wrong) I've only been there once, his grave was lost for awhile because nobody knew where the cemetery was. He was buried there without Mamaw Wilder's consent. Mama wants to write their love story someday. She loved him so much.

I've been mulling over the whole pen name thing for several months now, but hadn't actually made a decision on it. Now I think I have.

Look out CBA! Here comes Rachel Wilder!


  1. Your great-grandfather was born in Wisconsin. I can't remember when they moved from New York to Wisconsin though. Need to get the book out & look it up.

  2. Love the name! I've always loved the name Wilder. I'll be watching for Rachel Wilder on a cover soon!

  3. That's a great name! And a cool story to boot. Look out CBA!