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

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

Some 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.

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.

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