Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Explaining the "Elle": A Guide to Pronunciation

It’s time we cleared the air. See, it has recently come to my attention that my name stumps peeps. The “Hill” part isn't a hurdle, but the palindromic nature of my first name appears to confuse many would-be pronouncers.

Because I’m me and think everything deserves a story, let me first provide some background. “Elle Hill” is a nom de plume, a moniker I plucked from the ether a few years ago when deciding to honor my greatest passion and publish my fiction. The first name on my birth certificate, like 83% of the rest of my family’s, begins with an “L”; as a result, I named my writerly self “Elle,” pronounced like the letter. In this way, my literary identity constantly honors 83% of my beloved family of origin (sorry, Kris).

My last name, “Hill,” derives from my father’s middle name, an honorable name with a boatload of history. I proudly wear my father’s surname, Owen, in my everyday life, but I also wanted to honor him as a writer; hence, “Hill.”

(This last name is important to keep in mind should you ever want to buy books with my poetry in them, since I publish those under my given name. I figured it would look kinda cool, or at least acceptable, to future employers, far too many of whom seem to think Googling their future employees is kosher, to find my name connected to poetry. OTOH, and as a once-underemployed sociologist on the job market, I admit to a slight concern with associating my professional name with paranormal bodice rippers, especially given our unfortunate cultural devaluation of feminized genres. As I mentioned in a previous post, it’s all about giving in to the dark side of marketing and making oneself a commodity.)

So, in short, my nom de plume is pronounced EL (think “L”) HILL.

And, Kris, I have decided Elle Hill has a middle initial. It’s K.