I have a complicated system of names.
As I’m sure you’ve noticed, my URL is “farrahkaya”, but my name is Jacinta. I’m also married, so I also have a married name in the mix. My first name is actually Farrah, but I was called Jacinta growing up by everyone. Parents, teachers, everything. Once I got to university, my legal name was used, since that’s how I registered for everything (so that my degree would be in my legal name). Now that I’m “creating a brand” as it were, I have no idea how I want to proceed. Do I want to make a name for myself as Farrah Kaya, my legal name and a short form of my maiden name, or do I want to stick with my married name? Or a combination of the two? Or my full, complicated maiden name? This indecision is part of the reason I’ve not yet registered a URL, nor started a Facebook page for myself as an author.
Practically speaking, I know my legal name would give me an edge in our multicultural world. Farrah belonged to my great grandmother (possibly great-great grandmother) and means “Bringer of Joy” in Turkish/Arabic. My maiden name means “Sheer Rock”. They both have familial and cultural overtones. On the other hand, my mother saw “Jacinta” – meaning “Hyacinth” – on a street sign and just had to have it. I was one random boyfriend’s house away from being called “Jasmine”.
Our names define us. As an author, words are important, and my name – whatever words I use to define myself – will forever be attached to my work. What do I want that name to say about that work, and – assuming that I will one day be successful enough for people to know my name – what name do I want remembered?