Let’s talk about my favorite subject in the whole wide world — me!
(I know, I know. You like it better when I talk about sex. So if you just gotta have that daily dose of dirty talk, head over to the One Handed Writers blog for my How to Talk Sexy in Bed tips. Skills everyone should have!)
But back to the important thing here, which is me, or in today’s case the not-me me that is my pen name. (Pronouns are going to get kind of complicated today, huh?)
It should be fairly obvious that A. Vivian Vane is not my real name, although it would be an awesome name if it were. Those imaginary parents would have been pretty sweet.
But no, like most sex writers, I keep up a thin veneer of anonymity, although in my case it is a very thin one — plenty of people who know the real-name me also know that I write as AVV, and it’s not exactly hard to connect the two identities online if you really cared to. (I don’t view sex writing as a dark secret I need to keep, so I don’t go to much trouble to hide the connection. Using two names is mostly just a way to keep my sex writing and my non-sex writing from popping up in the same Google searches, so that I’m not diluting either brand with a bunch of stuff that customers aren’t looking for.)
Anyway, how did I end up writing as A. Vivian Vane? I’m so glad you asked, because I put a lot of (too much) thought into that one!
First off, the initial. (Get it? ‘Cause it’s the first part of the name? First off? Hang onto your seats; it gets worse from here.)
Using a first initial has a big, obvious benefit: it’s gender-neutral. A lot of sex writers agonize over whether to have a “male” or “female” persona; I prefer to sidestep it entirely and let the reader imagine whatever is sexier to them.
The first initial is also a joke for my own amusement: I went with “A” because it’s also an indefinite article. It lets me read the name as “a Vivian Vane,” as if the name were a type of object — which it is, because it’s an entirely fictional concept! I’m so clever.
“Vivian” is several things, none of which are very consequential. It’s a vaguely feminine name, which makes it sound sexy to a lot of people (especially with all those V’s in it — V’s are sexy and sex-related in English; think about vagina, virgin, vulva, etc.).
It also suggests “vivid,” which I like because my writing is undeniably vivid (or at least explicit), and it goes back to an old lit-class joke about referring to critically-acclaimed authors by their initials to show how hip you are: in that construction, Vladimir Vladimirovitch Nabokov would be VVN, or vee-vee-en — Vivian!
(I am such a nerd, right?)
And all that leaves us with is “Vane,” which is, yes, yet another pun: because the name is self-referential, every time I read it I’m thinking about myself — vanity, in other words; ergo “Vane.” You could also argue that, because people invariably find out about them, pen names are a pointless (vain) exercise.
Is that a lot of meaning to cram into one silly pen name, or what? Good thing I’m such a big fan of making big things fit…