Today I’m happy to host a Northern Colorado mystery writer on my blog. Bailey Cates writes the Magical Bakery Mysteries. They feature new witch and baker Katie Lightfoot and are set in Savannah, Georgia. The first in the series, Brownies and Broomsticks, released this month in paperback and ebook formats from NAL/Penguin. She also writes the Home Crafting Mystery Series as Cricket McRae. The sixth in the series, Deadly Row to Hoe, will release this November from Midnight Ink/Llewellyn.
Welcome, Bailey (although I have to admit it feels odd calling you Bailey when I’ve known you so long as Cricket). I’m very excited about your new series and can’t wait to read Brownies and Broomsticks.
What’s in a Name? by Bailey Cates
Thanks for hosting me today, Pat!
Hi everyone — Bailey Cates here. Well sort of. I write the Magical Bakery Mysteries published by NAL/Penguin as Bailey, but I also write the Home Crafting Mysteries published by Midnight Ink/Llewellyn as Cricket McRae.
And you know what? Neither one of those is my real name. So how did I end up writing two mystery series under two different pseudonyms? It started in 2007 when I realized two things: Rarely does anyone spell my real name correctly – which would be a problem for search engines – and I wanted people to remember the name of “that author” after meeting me or encountering my books. Cricket McRae is easy on both search engines and the memory.
You know that game where you combine your first pet’s name with the name of the street you grew up on to get your stripper name? Well, I moved around so much that I didn’t really have a street name to pick, and my first pet was a beagle named Monday that I don’t even remember. But I did have a beautiful German shepherd growing up, and her name was … Cricket. So that was the inspiration – I named myself after my dog. The McRae is a play on another part of my real name, and refers to my Irish background.
I’ve told some people it was a childhood nickname, just because it was a quick, simple answer that didn’t involve the word “stripper”. Now it really is a nickname. Lots of people who know my real name call me Cricket – and I love it!
“Cricket McRae” is also part of the branding that I developed before the Home Crafting Mysteries ever came out. Set in the Pacific Northwest, they feature a soap maker as the main character, and “Cricket” fit with the clean, dare I say perky feeling I wanted to convey with everything from website design to covers to fonts. It all fits together.
But the Magical Bakery Mysteries feature a different kind of protagonist in a totally different situation (witchcraft and baking) and environs (Savannah, Georgia). The publisher wanted another author name on the series to distinguish it in the minds of readers. Sounded good to me.
Bailey is a family name, albeit a last name. On the other side, but still Irish. I’ve known both men and women with the first name of Bailey, and I very much like the androgynous nature of it. Cates is again a play on part of my own name. I have to say, I like the way it looks on the cover!
People have asked me if I’m disappointed that my real name isn’t in print. Not at all. I’ve always had nicknames, from my grandfather calling me Worm (affectionately, of course) to my guy calling me Katrina now (a reference to my baptismal name, though I’ve never heard of a Katrina in the bible, and something about a hurricane).
However, it looks like things are about to get a little more complicated because I have a new book in the works. It’s quite different from the others I’ve written. It’s a contemporary western mainstream mystery, not a cozy at all. My editor mentioned just the other day that it might be a good idea if it were published under a different name.
Let me know if you have any ideas…
There are many authors who write under different names. As a reader, do you appreciate knowing when you pick up a book by, say, J.D. Robb it will be a different kind of story than one by Nora Roberts even though they were both written by the same person? Or is it just confusing?
Thanks so much for being here today, Bailey. The only thing I worry about with author pseudonyms is that I’ll miss something my favorite authors have written if the new name isn’t well publicized and cross-referenced for search engines.
As for coming up with a pseudonym using pets’ names, I’d have a problem. The dogs I’ve had were called “Tubby” and “Buster.”
For more information about this author, please visit her website or check out her blogs Hearth Cricket and The Lightfoot Chronicles. You can also find her on Twitter: @cricketmcrae and @writerbailey and on Facebook as Cricket McRae and as Author Bailey Cates.