Thursday, February 23, 2012

Why I'm Using a Pen Name (Sort Of)

I get asked quite often why I'm using a pen name. Here's why:

Yes, I am (sort of) using a pen name. Well, not really. What I'm publishing under is my maiden name, Khoury. The reason I'm using it is little different, and I just wanted to explain.

"Khoury" comes from my amazing Syrian grandfather, who immigrated to the States with his twin brother around 1964 in order to attend Toccoa Falls College (the same college I graduated from in 2010, actually). Here's a picture of Papa (he turned 65 yesterday):

(In this photo, he's standing inside the house where he was born and raised, in a little village in rural Syria.)

In Middle Eastern culture, it's kind of a big deal that you have sons to carry on the family name. My grandfather married an American girl--my grandmother, Nancy--and they had three sons. Of those three sons, only my dad has had children. Four children. All of us girls. Redheaded girls, but girls nonetheless. So sooner or later, we'll all be married and the Khoury name will be lost. 

I've always wished there'd been at least one Khoury boy to keep the name going for at least another generation, but since that didn't happen, I'm publishing under Khoury. It's kind of my way of carrying the name on and honoring my Syrian heritage.

So there. That's why. 


And here's another picture of Papa, simply because in this one, he looks a little like Brian Jacques. And that is definitely not a bad thing. Eulalia! ;-)


  1. That's neat and sweet, dear. I love you.

  2. That is really awesome. I am totally behind you on that one! What a fabulous way to honor your Papa and your heritage!

  3. That is the cutest reason ever for using a pen name like that! :) I'm using one too, Baxter is my maiden name. Much easier to spell than married name and it's kind of nice to have that part of me still around.

  4. I'm publishing under my maiden name as well... partly because I've been writing for so long under it and also because it stands out more than my married name. The only other Graudins I know are related to me!

    1. Yeah, Graudin is pretty unique! Can't say I know any. Same with Khoury. Except for Raymond, of course. ;-)

  5. I'm an Arab-American (and a fellow Hatracker), and it makes me so happy and proud that you've made this decision. Congrats on your big book deal! Here's hoping to many more.