Inger Ash Wolfe Responds
Last week I wrote about how crime novelist Inger Wolfe’s pseudonym bore an uncanny resemblance to Danish crime writer Inger Wolf’s real name. The pseudonymous author, who has altered this appellation slightly to include a middle name, sent in a lengthy response and clarification by email a few days ago. An edited portion appears below:
I am writing to you now in order to set the record straight concerning
the name Inger Ash Wolfe. I was alerted to one of the entries on your
blog which contained your suggestions about why I chose to write under
this particular pseudonym, and I would like to explain how that name
was chosen and to clear up any misconceptions about the circumstances
concerning that choice.
I initially named myself “Inger Wolfe” to honor the memory of a
relation of mine who was a fan of mysteries (the name is based on her
name, but is not identical to it) and at the time I began writing The Calling,
in the early fall of 2005, I did a search on the name and came up with
nothing. (If you put “Inger Wolfe”—with the ‘e’—into Google, no
references to the Danish Inger Wolf, prior to the ones in your blog,
come up at all). Later in the fall of 2005, I checked for similar names
and different spellings just to be sure: Inger, Ingrid and Ingmar
Woolf, Woolfe, and Wolf. And that’s when I found the Danish Inger Wolf.
When I discovered her, she had published one book in Danish—a literary
novel entitled Sidespring—which had appeared in 2000. At that time, I consulted with my agent (The Calling
was not finished yet and had not been sold), and we agreed that the
work I was doing was significantly different from the work of the
Danish author named Inger Wolf, as it was written in a different genre,
as well as in a different language; it was not available, five years
after its publication, in any other language than Danish, and also it
seemed that this author might no longer be active as a published
writer: nothing else had come out since her debut. As a result I
continued with my plan to use the name with its spelling different from
Two years later, in December of 2007 (after the advanced reading copies had gone out and the jackets for The Calling
had been printed in three countries—they have since been reprinted), we
discovered that Inger Wolf had published crime fiction. I consulted
with my publishers in Canada, the US and the UK, feeling that we owed
it to both her and to myself to further differentiate the name, and we
added a middle name which I and my publishers will always use. As a
result of this, my books are published under the name Inger Ash Wolfe.
I would be grateful, if you write about me in your blog (or anywhere
else), that you use the name I am being published under and no other.
Your statement that the middle name “Ash” is being used “on some dust
jackets” is incorrect: all publishers throughout the world are using
the full name—Inger Ash Wolfe—on the final dust jacket, in the book,
and in all publicity materials. You may simply have encountered
outdated listings or cover images on the internet that the publishers
are working to have changed.
On your blog, you wrote that I “pick[ed] a deliberate pseudonym
that sounds an awful lot like a writer published in some of the same
countries,” but I hope you understand now that my choice of a name
similar to the name of this Danish author was not deliberate at all,
nor is it an “appropriation”. My choice of the name is a complete
coincidence. Further, I was not aware that Inger Wolf had published
crime fiction until a year or so after I had signed book contracts for The Calling.
I have written to Inger Wolf to clarify these matters and to ensure
she understands that any perceived similarity between our names is an
accident. I trust you will correct statements made on your blog that
Consider it done. In related reading, C.E. Petit has his own take on the Wolfe/Wolf conundrum.