On Names

It seems likely that The Gutter Prayer will come out with the author listed as “Gareth Hanrahan” and not “Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan”, for the most prosaic of all possible reasons: “Ryder-Hanrahan” is too long to fit neatly on a cover. (Insert the Douglas Adams routine about how all it takes to be a best-selling author is to have a short second name and a slightly longer first name, so you can put the surname in BIG LETTERS and the first name in slightly smaller ones, and make an eye-catching text block on the cover).

I wrote as “Gareth Hanrahan” for many years, of course; the Ryder-rider came after I got married, and dropping it isn’t a big issue. “Ryder” is a much cooler name than the never-ending vowel fugue that is Hanrahanrahanahanahnahan, but adopting a different name for my novels seems unnecessary and bad SEO. They’re fantasy novels; Gareth Hanrahan has written many fantasy games. QED.

Ironically, both The Gutter Prayer and The Divine Machine are very much concerned with family names – several of the main characters are part of the same ill-fated family, and have to find a way to live with their family legacy. The stakes here are much lower. Call me Gareth Hanrahan, Ryder-Hanrahan, mytholder (a username I’ve had for twenty years, so it has to have some legal weight!) – the words are the same.

I started, tentatively, a new novel. Divine Machine is out with some beta readers, so while I wait, I’m poking at something new and unrelated. I don’t know if I have the right style for this idea, but we shall see.

Wait a moment – Gareth Ryder _perfectly_ fits the Adams formula…

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