A Julie By Any Other Name, or Beware the Power of Vision Boards

By Julie aka J.A. aka Julianne, bundled up in Somerville

justkillingtimeSome of you may have noticed our masthead keeps gaining names, but not faces. That’s because a few of us have multiple personalities. I, for example, have three short stories published under the name J.A. Hennrikus. In my arts admin and teaching worlds, I am Julie or Julie A. Hennrikus. But the Clock Shop Mystery series, which debuts in October, is being written my Julianne Holmes. They are all me.

When I was offered the opportunity to write the Clock Shop series, it came with the caveat that I needed to pick a pseudonym as part of the contract. I wasn’t surprised, since it was sort of my own fault. Let me explain.

Dad and I at my graduation from the Harvard Extension School.
Dad and I at my graduation from the Harvard Extension School.

Back in early 2008, I did a vision board of what I wanted to achieve in the next five years. The board had two sections. On one side, I cut out a picture of someone wearing a cap and gown, and wrote “Harvard Extension School” and “Finish”. I had proposed a thesis on the use of POV by Agatha Christie and its impact on the genre, and I was having trouble getting a thesis advisor. It took several months, but I did get an advisor, and I graduated in 2009.

The other item I put on my vision board were pictures of several mysteries. I wrote “a Berkley Prime Crime mystery by Julianne Holmes”. I’m not sure why I was thinking about a pseudonym in 2008. Maybe it was to differentiate my academic and creative writing lives. Whatever the reason, Just Killing Time by Julianne Holmes will be published by Berkley Prime Crime.

Why Julianne Holmes? I am the first of three daughters, and my parents were going to name me Julianne Holmes Hennrikus. Julie, Julia and Anne were all family names. Holmes was my paternal grandmother’s maiden name, and she was quite ill when I was born. My maternal grandmother thought that was an awfully long name for a baby, so it was shortened to Julie Anne. A perfectly fine name, but when I started writing short stories, I thought that J.A. sounded more literary. When I needed to chose another name, Julianne Holmes seemed right.

Now, do I believe all of this happened as a result of a vision board? Yes, yes I do. Even if you are skeptical, it is a fun activity. If nothing else, mine is a story about dreams coming true. And the need for two or three extra names.

19 Thoughts

  1. I am fascinated by the Holmes part of your name. My grandmother, Madeline Holmes (Falvey), lived to be 108 (or 104, depending on who you believe). She influenced me more than any other person and was my “rock.” I wonder if we aren’t more than “sisters” in Crime, Julie, J.A., Julianne!

    1. My great grandfather came over from Scotland, and lived here. I wish I’d known my grandmother, but she died when I was 10 days old. She was tall, blue eyes, white hair, and loved the color red. I suspect we would have gotten along famously.

  2. My grandmother (who was orphaned early but ended up marrying a rich man, who then managed to lose all his money, so she went to New York and got a war-time job, and…) used to say, “Man walks in the direction he looks.” If you don’t visualize it, it’s not likely to happen. See what you want, and find a path to it.

    BTW, we named our daughter Julia after one of my Irish great-aunts (the only Connolly of that generation that I remember meeting, as a child) because she was the sole family member that everyone liked, on both sides of the family.

  3. Interesting. I assumes the Holmes part of your pen name was for Sherlock Holmes. I didn’t know how you picked that name, but I like it more now that I know it means something personal to you.

    Vision boards? I’ve never tried one or heard of them. But I have heard of writing goal goals for where you want to be in one year, five years, etc. The problem is, I’m not so good at figuring out where I want to be in X number of years, which is why I seem to stumble into things all the time. So when someone articulates it and then achieves it, that really impresses me. Great job of getting the book you wanted with the publisher you wanted under the name you wanted.

  4. I love the story of all your names, Julie!

    I haven’t done vision boards, but I do like to think in terms of longer term goals. I like to revisit them in the early part of every year, so I know how I want to focus my energy. Of course, there are also the delightful surprises along the way!

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