When Jeff was writing his introduction of me last week, he asked if I minded his telling you my real name—Patricia King. I said I did not. I decided to use a pseudonym for my fiction, not because I want to hide from the public, but because I want to distinguish myself from all the other Patricia Kings of which there are thousands.
The latest searchable census data, from 1990, gives the following statistics for the US:
- Number of people named Patricia, the second most popular female name: 1,628,911
- Number of people with the last name King, the 30th most popular last name: 475,530
- Number of people named Patricia King: 2,975
If you search “Patricia King” with Google you get 59,800,000 hits in .2 seconds. You will not find me on any of the first 60 million or so.
|Patricia King on the cover of|
her last nonfiction book:
I had written my nonfiction books under my real name, which made sense since they were all connected with my consulting practice. Other nonfiction writers were publishing as Patricia King: a sociologist, an expert in dollhouses, and most notably toward the end of my nonfiction career, a televangelist and entrepreneur who has published sixteen books. More than one person, upon meeting me actually told me that they had googled me and thought I was she.
|Patricia King, the televangelist and entrepreneur|
When I finally broke through into as a published novelist, I wanted a name that would distinguish me from the other 2,974 women who carried my name, especially the authors.
Truth be told, I also wanted a name that would get me www-dot-fill-in-the-blank-dot-com.
My first thought was to name myself after my female forbears. It would connect my name with my heritage for one thing. And, to me, their names were mellifluous and much more romantic than the rather business-like and prosaic Patricia King. So I chose my mother’s first name—Annamaria and her mother’s maiden name—Alfieri. I wanted to honor those women, who never had my opportunities. My mother never got to graduate from high school. Both my grandmothers were illiterate. I think it is amazing and wonderful that, under the circumstances, I got to be an author.
|My mother: Annamaria Pisacane Puglise|
|On the left: Sabina Maria Alfieri Pisacane|
|The Original Annamaria Alfieri with her husband,Francesco|
I have only two memories of the real Annamaria Alfieri. In the first, I am only around three and sitting on her lap; she is calling me “tesoro,” Italian for “treasure,” used as we would say “darling.” The other is being five and standing at the foot of her bed, not really being able to see her nor understanding that she lay dying. She was 95. I would like to believe she knows I took her name.
By the way, Annamaria’s/my third South American historical mystery launches tomorrow. Blood Tango takes place against the most tumultuous week in Argentine history, Buenos Aires 1945. It imagines the murder of an Evita lookalike. You can read all about it and get a sample chapter at www.annamariaalfieri.com
Annamaria Alfieri - Monday