I wonder how many other writers struggle with their author name. My book documents Sugar Hill, Harlem during the doo-wop era, when stickball reigned, the Apollo was the hottest ticket in town, and I was a skinny kid named Jeanie Baker. In the public school system, proper etiquette meant first names only, so from 8:30 to 3 o’clock, I became Theresa Baker. Having two names was cool. Then, in the 1960s, while I was at college, America shrugged off all vestiges of the formal ‘50s and suddenly Theresa turned into Terry.
I handled multiple identities quite well, but then one day a voice on the phone asked for Jean. “Sorry, wrong number,” I said and hung up. Fortunately, he called back. It was Marshall, my shy, freckled-face friend from the old neighborhood, who was in town performing in a summer theater production of “The Wiz.”
Now I’m Mrs. Terry Mulligan and technology, not stickball, reigns. In today’s publishing world, if you want to sell a book, the Internet and social media are your new best friends. That entails choosing a domain name. I chose terrybakermulligan.com. But Theresa Jean Baker is still who I am.