In Which I Admit a Secret
Pseudonym: nom de plume/pen name, alias
Short version: Chandler Steele is a pen name. The actual person behind the Veritas Series is me.
And who is me?
Jana Oliver. I’ve been in the publishing biz since 2001, been writing since 1998. My books have been published by small presses, big presses and independently. My most successful endeavor to date is the Demon Trappers, which is a young adult urban fantasy series and has been published worldwide. I’ve won quite a few awards, including ones in the mystery genre. In short, I’m not a newbie.
Why Publish Under Another Name?
Why did I create Chandler and keep her a secret? Much like J.K. Rowling (though my royalty checks are **considerably** less hefty), I wanted to do something new without any preconceived notions as to what the story might contain. Rowling knew her fame with Harry Potter colored readers’ expectations of her Cormoran Strike series, so she published as Robert Galbraith. These books are classic British mysteries, set at a different pace than the Potter ones, with not a jot of magic or the paranormal. Once her pen name was “outted”, reviewers complained that the Strike books weren’t anything like Harry Potter. Which was the whole point.
I’ve run into this issue myself as often my non-Demon Trapper books are compared to the series, which is much beloved. I understand the sentiment, but I wanted to have free rein. Chandler was “born” so I could write pure romantic suspense/thrillers, based on current events, stories that include adult language and (gasp) sex.
From this day forward, Chandler and Jana are one person. No more hiding that fact in Facebook posts or on Twitter, Instagram, etc. Chandler will continue to “live” in Chicago, writing her rom suspenses with hunky heroes and kick butt heroines (and blowing sh*t up.) Jana will continue to live in Atlanta and write spooky paranormal urban fantasy stories. They will happily co-exist as Jana and Chandler both like scotch and the occasional cigar.
The Other Reason I did This
This was an experiment, of sorts. I wanted to find out exactly how hard it would be for a new author to find readers in 2016, without using an existing network of friends and acquaintances. Tyra Burton (best buddy and university marketing professor) and I used many of social media’s tricks, tools and platforms in an effort to build readership. And found it was just as hard in 2016 as it was in 2001 because there is so much competition. In fact, we’re presenting a workshop on our findings today, complete with all the grimy details. We both learned a lot of new things, lessons that we will be applying down the line.
For Jana’s readers, you have two books and a novella you didn’t realize existed (CAT’S PAW, KILLING GAME and BROKEN DREAMS in the Veritas series). These are NOT young adult stories. Currently they are only available on Amazon and Createspace, but will be rolling out on iTunes, B&N, Kobo and GooglePlay in December, along with a boxed set. More details can be found at Chandler’s website (www.ChandlerSteele.com) along with some informative blogs that cover “ripped from the headlines” topics like domestic terrorism, what it’s like in prison, prostitution and drug running in New Orleans, what it’s like to be a sniper, etc. And yes, the next Demon Trappers book (VALIANT LIGHT) will be out in the spring of 2017.
For Chandler readers, well now you’ve got a lot more selection to choose from (www.JanaOliver.com). Twelve books are currently available, ranging from young adult urban fantasies, to paranormal murder mysteries, and an award-winning trilogy about time travelers in Victorian London.
Eventually Chandler’s website will be integrated into a section of Jana’s (once that site is completely reworked). From now on I’ll be doing events as both JO and CS. But I have to admit being CS has been a blast, mostly because I had the joy of writing books I’ve always wanted to write while running completely under the radar.
So it’s ALL GOOD!
Jana & Chandler
is an international & multi award-winning author in various genres including young adult, urban fantasy and paranormal romance.