Crafting a persona

Catherine Roach didn’t think her last name was particularly appealing for a romance writer. So she created a pen name that is a little more “romantic” and “exotic.” Here, she talks about what taking on a pen name can do for your writing and persona.


Who is Catherine LaRoche?

My birth name, and the name that I publish academic work under, is Catherine Roach. And I wanted to have a pseudonym as a romance author, not because I’m trying to hide who I am, but because it gives me something more to play with, and to engage in that, sort of crafting of a writing persona. I think I can be somewhat different as Catherine LeRoche, this is my romance-writing name, so far, than I am as Catherine Roach.

So it’s meant to be a form of my own name. Roach, it’s my father’s name and he’s Francophone, it’s a French Canadian family that he’s from that goes back for generations and was originally French in the spelling of the name. “La roche” means ‘”the rock.” So in a sense I’m returning my name to its family origins of long ago, by turning it into the French version of Roach.

So it’s still me, but because it’s French, it’s sort of more romantic, more exotic, more playful, prettier, I think. You know, Roach isn’t a very romantic name for a romance novelist. So I wanted something a little different but still me, so that I could play with that difference. And they’re two different parts of my personality, I guess, in some ways, that I get to play with and try to bring out and bring together through this writing experiment. That’s part of the fun.

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