Identity Crisis? or, What’s in a Name?!

My last name for 37 years was/is “Blomeley”.  At 37, I married; my groom’s last name was/is “Maddigan”.

What was I to do? I had the name “Blomeley” for so long that I did not want to change it!! My father could not understand that!!  He said: “With the numerous times Blomeley has been pronounced and spelled so many different ways, why not take this chance to get rid of it?” My father said that!!

Well, I could not let Blomeley go!!  So, I kept it, and in effect doubled my last name.    I signed my marriage licence: “Blomeley Maddigan”.  Over the years I have added a hyphen now and again – more ‘now’ than ‘again’!!   The hyphen seems to help people understand that my first name is not “Blomeley” –  or “Maddigan” – it has happened!

So, why I am telling you this? Well, I am an occasional artist – as in abstract art.  My works went without a signature on the front, for a number of years.  (I did sign the back).  What would I sign on a picture?    “Patricia Blomeley-Maddigan” ?  That’s 24 letters plus one space and one hyphen! Signing that on a piece of art work was almost offensive to the picture!!  A couple of years ago, I reached a place where I wanted to sign my pictures. So, after much pondering, I decided on one name only: “Blomeley”, and I am very happy with it. (Signed on a slant up).

However, what if the ‘writer side’ of me leads to publishing?  What name? Just ‘Blomeley’ seems inappropriate.  But, my 3 name signature on the cover of a book?  Somehow that seems too much.  It is important to me that I keep ‘Blomeley’ in the picture.  So, Patricia Maddigan, does not seem the way to go, (with all apologies to my husband).  By the way, my husband was/is open to any name I have/use – thankfully!

And what about a name change?  My thought?  ‘Patricia James’ !!   Within our family ‘James’ exists as a first name, and as a last name – that’s a very brief explanation as to where I had the idea spring from!  But then no one would know it was me?! (Vanity? Pride? Maybe!)

So, after encountering a similar dilemma on another blog, this post seemed like an appropriate place to ask:

“What do YOU think? What name would I use on a book cover?”.

All comments will be appreciated!

Thank you!



Filed under Blog

13 responses to “Identity Crisis? or, What’s in a Name?!

  1. Lily Bishop

    I discovered this post on a goodreads forum, so I thought I’d give you a shout-out. I’ve just gone through this entire exercise. I created my pen name because I don’t want to publish steamy romance under my name. So the name I want to see on a book cover is Lily Bishop, and I’m building an Internet identify under that name. Maybe if I publish non-steamy romance I’ll publish under my name. It’s a constant dilemma. Mainly I don’t want to embarrass my kids or my husband if I ever find any readers.

    • Hi, Lily –
      Thank you for stopping by! Yes, I am on Goodreads often.
      I also appreciate your insights. It is always good to hear from someone who is actually living my question.
      Thank you!

  2. I think Blomely is a lovely name, it makes me think of homely and lovely and blloming and of course ‘B’ has a huge advantage over ‘M’ on the bookshelves. You could keep the double name in your personal life and Blomeley is already making a name for itself, so go with that upward and positve momentum.

    Good luck!

    • Thank you, Claire!
      Glad you took time to visit, and to comment on this post.
      That is true what you say, I can use different last names as appropriate.
      In fact, for a number of people I am ‘Maddigan’ – just easier in a number of social situations.
      Am I too complicated??!!!
      I do like your comment about positive momentum. Lots to consider.
      Thank you for stopping by, Claire.


  3. Rae

    I would say use your whole name, hyphen and all. Then we can look for your books on the B shelf near the front of the store 🙂 Rae

  4. I have a book that I refuse to have published because I don’t want people to know that it is me. I am more comfortable writing from the bones when I think no ones watching. For you, I would keep both names. There is no reason to use another name in a case where you don’t mind showing who you are and if you are going to disclose yourself, I think you should disclose the entire name.

    • Thank you, Stephanie – I can tell you speak from your heart. I respect your thoughts and opinions. Maybe I will create a book cover and see what it all would look like.

      For yourself, would you consider a pen name?


  5. Comment from Joseph Eastwood (whose Blog hosted the original post along this theme: ).

    From Joseph:
    ” Hi, Patricia! 😀 Thanks for the comment, and yeah, you could do with a debate on your blog 😛 (which I am now following xD)

    It looks like you’ve put a lot of thought into it, and that’s always a good thing!

    Don’t forget that you can put a capital letter and full stop to represent a name, as I am doing with my pen name J. T. James the J and the T stand for Joseph and Thomas 😀 I’ve used my name to create another, you can do the same.

    Patricia B. Maddigan or Patricia M. Blomeley, in fact I’m not sure how all that works, maybe you could go by P. B. Maddigan 😀 I know you said that you wan’t to keep your name for pride and whatnot, and because it’s such a long name, I can understand why you’d want to shorten it. Or maybe you don’t have to shorten it, if you self-publish any of your writing, you can have whatever you want on the front cover and as for signing something you don’t have to use each letter, sometimes when I sign things they become a bunch of loops and squiggles 😀

    I hope I helped a little bit 😀 ”

    Thanks, Joseph!

  6. If Blomeley is where your heart/mind is…keep it for no matter where or how you use it.

  7. I use a pen-name because my real family name is constantly mispelled and mispronounced all over the world. As an artist, I used to sign with my first name only up to the new millennium when I cut it to Barb+full year (Barbara 01 looked awful, Barb2001 even allowed for a little face, using the 0s as eyes).
    As for you, how about shortening the first name and keep the double family name? Pat Blomeley-Maddigan! Or just keep the full name – but then I’m very fond of double surnames, makes it sound like a noblewoman: Camilla Parker Bowles, Patricia Blomeley Maddigan… see? OK, I’m European, I’m fond of nobility (even if I’m not British and Italy hasn’t had a king in over a century)! 😀

    • Hi, Barb –

      Your comment brings back memories. With a name like Patricia – and maybe even Barbara – there are numerous possibilities for nicknames or short forms. In my career life, ‘Pat’ is pretty universally used. And in fact, I had a number of comments that ‘Pat Blomeley-Maddigan’ did work – so that encouragment helped! As does yours!

      I guess I am still pondering……….


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