Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Two Cases of Mistaken Identity

"How obvious it is now--the gift you gave him. All those letters, they were you... All those beautiful powerful words, they were you!.. The voice from the shadows, that was you... You always loved me!"- Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Act 5

My name came from the above reknowned play. Roxann(e). I just don't have the E at the end, as the character did. Blame it on my mother. My middle initial is E. If you've never read this classic, you can always watch the movie Roxanne, starring Steven Martin and Daryl Hannah. While it's not nearly as touching as the original play, you'll get the gist. It takes a different spin on the mistaken identity theme, something that's come up twice lately in my life.

Not a real common name, Roxann(e), although there was one girl a year younger than me in high school in a small town I shared it with. I never expected to be a part of a small group of romance authors that had another Roxanne in the midst. The Ditzy Chix. Two Mary's? No. Two Linda's? Not even one. In fact, ours is the only name that is shared by two. Weird. Just plain weird. But I digress.

The confusion came about when a friend asked one of the OKRWA members at RWA's National Conference this month in Washington, DC, if Rox won the National Readers Choice Award. My book, Family by Design, was a finalist in the Short Contemporary category, which I was extremely surprised and humbled to learn this past spring. When I say it's an honor, I mean it sincerely. The friend asked and the OKRWA member said, "Yes! She did!" The thing was, it was two days after the announcement of the winners of the categories, and I hadn't been notified. Not expecting to win, I was still basking in the glory of having been a finalist, happy that I hadn't won since I couldn't be there in person. Again, quite an honor. So what was the deal? I was finally able to reach a friend who was attending conference and verified with her that I was NOT the winner of the short contemporary category. "No," she said, "I was there, and I don't remember who did win, but it wasn't you." Mystery solved, right?


Just how did this rumor get started? And it did get started, even though I assured everyone who congratulated me that I did not win, but was fine with the outcome. (That "honored" thing again.) A few days later, I returned to the OKRWA website to check out a suspicion I had. I was right. Roxanne St. Claire was the winner of the Romantic Suspense category of the widely acclaimed contest. (BTW, Huge congrats, Roxanne! And to Michelle Celmer, who won the Short Contemporary category!!) A simple mixup with the names. Nothing more. Not even a disappointment. At least the mystery was finally solved. :)

Then came the second case of mistaken identity. A few days ago I received a message from my fellow Ditzy Chix, Roxanne Rustand, who asked if I'd received the author copies of my August book. I had. But so had she. It happens. Sometimes the wrong books are shipped to the wrong author, although not usually because of the same first name. Today I received a phone call from Harlequin, verifiying that I had received my books. I had to laugh. With only three Harlequin/Silhouette authors out of literally hundreds, if not thousands, sharing the same somewhat unusual first name, what were the odds that this would happen?

Having gone through the majority of my life knowing less than a handful of people with the same first name as mine, having two incidents of confusion in the same month has been, well, weird.

I think I'll change my name to something unusual. Then again, what name these days is unusual? Mine obviously isn't. I'm just pleased that I share it with three lovely women, two of which are very talented writers, that I know. What could be better?

Signing of for now as Rox...

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