I had been thinking about writing a pseudonymous novel for years. Like, I am sure, most writers. How many do? It is in the nature of things that we don’t know. But I intended from the start to come clean, only wanted to make a little experiment.

The Diary of a Good Neighbour got written for several reasons. One: I wanted to be reviewed on merit, as a new writer, without the benefit of a ‘name’: to get free from that cage of associations and labels that every established writer has to learn to live inside. It is easy to predict what reviewers will say. Mind you, the labels change. Mine have been–starting with The Grass is Singing: she is a writer about the colour bar (obsolete term for racism), about communism, feminism, mysticism; she writes space fiction, science fiction. Each label has served for a few years.

Two: I wanted to cheer up young writers–who often have such a hard time of it–by illustrating that certain attitudes and processes they have to submit to are mechanical, and have nothing to do with them personally or with their kind or degree of talent.

China’s Other Revolution
Jane Somers’s Diaries