Some years ago, I was at a local author expo and over all the noise in the room, at some point, I realized someone was calling my name. But he wasn’t saying, “Dianna.” He was saying, “Dana.” When I finally heard it, I turned, wondering who there would be calling me by my childhood nickname? It was the author at the table next to mine.
I’d completely forgotten that I write books under the name Dana Trantham!
I was born Dianna Dann Trantham II. That’s right, I’m a “second.” My mother was the first. Dann is a feminized version of my grandfather’s name, Dan, and it’s pronounced the same way. But because my mother was Dianna, and I suppose my parents foresaw problems with the name Dann, they called me Dana, completely unaware of the problems that name would cause me. I hated it. Even when I learned there was another girl named Dana at my school–probably not until 6th or 7th grade–I felt Dana was a boy’s name. In fact, I was often teased because of it. I think Dana Andrews, the actor, might have been popular at the time. We’re talking mid to late 60s.
Anyway, I struggled for many years in school to get my teachers to call me Dianna. It only started working after elementary school when my mother no longer registered me or talked to my teachers.
When I was in early adulthood, I dropped the name Trantham and became Dianna Dann. I always knew I wanted to be a writer by that name. And no one could pronounce Trantham, anyway. I was Trant-HAM or Tranzam. Finally, I could just be Dianna Dann.
A couple of years later, though, I got married and became Dianna Narciso. Now I’m called Narcheeso, Narcoosee, and Nabisco. I’m not joking. For the record, it’s Nar-SIS-oh.
The first book I wrote was on atheism. And I wrote it under the name Narciso, because I knew I would be writing fiction at some point and I had to save the name Dann for it. So, basically, I married into the Catholic Narciso family and proceeded to, as far as they may very well be concerned, trash their name with the shame of nonbelief. (Not that I’m ashamed of it; I just recognize that I may not have been very kind in my choice there. But what could I do? I consider myself Dianna Narciso. And it’s not like my husband isn’t an atheist as well, though I’m not sure his mother knows it. –Uh, hi Mom!– Even so, the Narciso family is one of those “Let’s pretend this thing doesn’t exist and never speak of it” gang. And there I was, writing about book about it!)
When I did finally write fiction, it was under the Dianna Dann name. But after I wrote my mainstream (or women’s fiction) book, I wrote a fantasy trilogy. So I used Dana Trantham for those three books. And then I wrote Zombie Revolution. Well, I thought, I can’t use my fantasy or mainstream name for a paranormal humor book. So I created D.D. Charles.
D.D. for Dianna Dann and Charles because my brother’s name is Charles. He was a “second” too. But my dad was never called Charles, so my parents didn’t have to come up with an unlikeable, tease-worthy nickname for my brother. Still, nobody calls him Charles. He’s Charlie. (He writes books too, as C.E. Trantham.)
Anyway, then I wrote a couple of kids books and I was all, like, I need another name! And then I said to myself, “No way. I’m not adding another name!” Thank goodness I stopped the insanity. I wished I’d stopped it sooner. A lot sooner.
So I published the kids books under the Dana Trantham name with the fantasy books. And I’ve added the name Dianna Dann to Zombie Revolution. I’ll be publishing the next paranormal book, if I can ever get it written, under both names, too. I’m thinking that will help somewhat.
It’s still too many names. I’m too many people. It’s crowded in here.