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What’s In a Name?

I have a secret. Hansen is my maiden name.

Okay. That’s not really a secret. It’s public knowledge. But sometimes it feels like a secret.

A couple of people have asked me why I’m writing under my maiden name. To be honest, I hadn’t really thought people would wonder. When a person writes, they can use whatever name they want. It’s the beauty of writing.

I’ve told people that it’s because I can write embarrassing things and my kids can say they don’t know me. Or to give myself a little separation just in case of anything. But that isn’t really true. I’m fine embarrassing my kids.

I started writing when I was a child. I have a file of stories I’ve saved since childhood. At about the age of twelve, I started writing my first novel. The main character is Anne Elizabeth Heartly. She has quintuplets. On a train. In the first chapter.

Maybe not the first chapter. But a lot happens in the 80 pages I wrote.

Before I wrote, I told stories. I’ve always made things up for other people’s enjoyment.

When I sit down and start typing on my computer, I can see that girl in the study with a manual typewriter who can barely push the keys hard enough to make an imprint. I remember the first time I used an electric typewriter and how exciting it was for everything to work so fast and easy. I’m back in typing class, loving the way my fingers fit over the keys. I’m at college discovering a Macintosh.

All of those memories bring a smile to my face.

All of those memories have the same name.

When I started telling and writing stories, I was Marianne Hansen.

And when I tell and write stories now, I’m still Marianne Hansen.

With better shoes.




  1. Sarah Maren says:

    YASSS! Almost no one knows me by my married name (or maiden name for that matter!) and that is just how I like it. I like having a “work name” because it gives my family privacy in a not so private job. As an aside, I gave my kids FOUR names so they could decide who they wanted to be. My 10 year old daughter is already a writer and I have been encouraging her to drop her last name and use my cool maiden name (which is one of her FOUR names) as her pen name. We’ll see if she listens. 🙂

    1. Sarah Whitehead says:

      I like having a few identities. Just to keep people guessig

    2. Sarah Whitehead says:

      I agree too

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