Interview with a Pseudonym

I spoke recently to a fellow writer about how I’d branched out into erotic romance. He told me he’d written erotica too, under a pseudonym. This is what he has to say about the experience.

Angela V Mazzone

I have a bachelor’s degree  in psychology, a master’s degree in counselling, and – after a doctorate –   publications (in journals and a book – 1970-80s) all directed at psychology and gender issues. I retired  in 2000 and moved to Australia, after receiving (with writing colleagues) national short story awards in 2007 and 2008.

I was then inspired by writers like Norah Vincent (Self-Made Man: One Woman’s Year Disguised as a Man) and John Griffin (Black Like Me: The Definitive Griffin Estate Edition) – both taking risks to experience/understand gender and race issues – as well as writers publishing under assumed names, as all three Bronte sisters, Howard O’Brien as Ann Rice, Frank Baum as Edith Van Dyne, and Lucille Duplin as George Sand, I conceived a new challenge for myself: publish as a woman.

Less courageous than Ms Vincent or Mr Griffin, with a digital world at hand, I – as allowed on the Yahoo website – created an alias, Angela V. Mazzone. Then, responding to a 2010 call in the USA to add a chapter to an anthology of international first-experience-as-a-lesbian accounts, ‘Angela’ wrote and had accepted ‘her’ account of anxiety and uncertainty and eventual satisfaction having a two-sweet-girls’ lesbian experience in Australia.

An unlikely accomplishment – that small publication – gives me some satisfaction even today. The story is Girl on a Thursday in ‘I Kissed a Girl II’, edited by Regina Perry.

My prior university students, my daughters, and writing friends (in the USA, Australia and Brazil) have expressed both amused and admiring comments.

Unlike some other journalists, I have no plans to write under my own name about how I surfed the Web seeking to understand how women expressed themselves and sometimes – applying my professional skills as counselor – ‘Angela’ advising men and women in troubled relationships.

I did have a wealth of worldly-wise experiences at my command, however – such as (1) helping a young woman – who I thought suicidal – adjust; (2) following a respected man ‘of the cloth’ – a minister – express his hidden self; (3) encouraging a needing-of-attention, aging woman in Florida to feel better about herself; (4) advising a young (very intelligent) college-age woman in the UK about the sexual demands made on her by a boyfriend (happy outcome); and countless opportunities to console both men and women in marriages where matters were going south.

‘Angela’ did – I believe – good, without any harm.

While I’m quite happy with the discoveries made about the abstractions called men and women, and I am building them into a novel extolling the courage of women, Angela Victoria Mazzone – I’m sorry to tell anyone who might care – closed her counselling services two years go.

                                           – ‘Angie Mazzone’

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What are your thoughts on ‘Angela’s experience, and pseudonyms in general? If you have any questions about pseudonyms, writer perspectives, gender issues or the like  for Angela, I’ll ask her to respond in the comments.