Why I Decided To Use A Pen Name


I did not decide to use a pen name because I’m trying to hide (that’s my face right over there).

I did not decide to use a pen name so I could use different names to write in different genres.

I decided to use a pen name because of my father and my ex-husband. Both attempted to tear me down, destroy my self esteem, and keep me from ever trying anything I wanted to do. When I was nine, my father told me I couldn’t draw people and not to add them to a picture I was drawing for him because “you’ll just mess it up.”

I was nine.

He also hit me. When he finally abandoned us for his girlfriend, he never paid a dime of child support.

Why would I want that loser’s name on my books?

My ex-husband did everything possible to discourage me from writing. He made sure that I would be financially devastated if I left him. He refused to return my belongings and gave the car that was bought for me and the hope chest that my mother gave me to his girlfriend.

Why would I want THAT loser’s name on my books?

My mother’s name is Dianne. I’ve been a huge admirer of Princess Diana since childhood. I decided I’d rather have a middle name that relates to two strong women than the name my father picked on a whim at the hospital when he found out I wasn’t the boy he wanted.

Ashe is part of the name of the city where I landed after I left my ex-husband, the first place in seven years I could get into bed without being afraid. I could read, write, watch, and wear what I wanted. I remember driving up and up the longest two-lane highway ever and suddenly seeing blue hills in the distance. I got to be myself again. I love carrying a piece of that place with me in my name.

I kept the name Robin out of pure piqué because people made fun of me for it the nearly the entire time I was in elementary and middle school. I earned that name like I earned every gray hair that I have.

I don’t have to let my identity be defined by people who abused me and held me back.

I can be whoever I want to be.


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