My maiden name is Zander. Growing up, I hated being at the end of the alphabet because school classes were always set up alphabetically, students were lined up alphabetically and teams were often chosen the same way. I was always last, or close to it. Luckily, when I was in elementary school, my principal, whose last name began with a W, used to use reverse ABC order whenever he chose people for anything.
At my wedding, my dad’s toast to my husband and me included “disappointment” that I’d only managed to move up a few places in the alphabet.
When I started writing, one of the things I had to consider was what name to use as my author name. Since my name is Wilck, the difference alphabetically isn’t huge. It used to be that you wanted an author name that worked well on the shelves in the bookstore. Ideally, you wanted to be at eye level. With the advent of electronic publishing, I wonder how important an author’s actual name is.
I’d contemplated using my middle name and going by “Jennifer Alison,” but that seemed too contrived to me. I thought of just using my maiden name, “Jennifer Zander,” but that seemed to discount everything I’ve become. Ultimately, I decided on using “Jennifer Wilck.” I don’t want to forget where I came from, but I do want to acknowledge who I am now. And you never know; being a few shelves higher than the ground in a bricks and mortar bookstore might help!