Have You Ever Wondered If You Could Re-Invent Yourself?
We can always begin again.” ~Sharon Salzberg
Throughout my entire adult life, I have nurtured my business brand. My image is built around work accomplishments in the nonprofit world. I have been proud of attaching my name to the causes I care about – higher education, the arts, women’s health care, and social services, especially adoption. Those who know me professionally think of me as a business leader, and they interpret everything I do through that lens.
So when I began writing a book on leadership, no one was surprised. I already had a platform to discuss effective leadership skills, and what it means to be a connector in the workplace.
And then Covid hit. And that leadership book project went on hold.
But amazingly, another book idea took shape in its place.
It all began a few months earlier over mimosas at Sunday brunch in Union Square. Two girlfriends put a crazy idea in my head. “You should write a book about your dating experiences here in New York,” they urged. “But why?” I asked. “Because no one has better stories than you! Besides, connecting is what you are passionate about. You talk about what it means to be a workplace connector. You should talk about what it means to be an effective social connector.”
Hmmm, I thought. If my stories of dating in mid-life could encourage others who are facing a big life transition, maybe it would be worth it.
But to pull off writing a book about dating would require an entire re-invention of my brand. How was that possible?
Ah, I’ve got it, I decided. I will write under a pen name.
Who Is Kate Somerset and What Does She Stand For?
It was a big decision to choose the right name for the person who would be the “other” me. I wanted a name that sounded sophisticated, and yet approachable. I needed a name that would be easy to remember. And I wanted a name that would be memorable. After weeks of pondering possible first and last names, I chose Kate (my middle name is Kathryn) and Somerset (for my Manhattan apartment building). Kate Somerset was now the author of the dating book I had yet to write!
From the get-go, Kate needed a face (an avatar), a website, business cards, an email account, her own cell phone number, and even a mailing address. I began to think like Kate. It was almost like learning a second language!
THE DATING BOOK
The next step was figuring out how to put the book together. In a twist on ‘Sex and the City”, I planned to tell real stories about real people… but without real names. 15 chapters, 15 men, 15 song titles!
Since I had saved all the text chains of conversations with the men in the book (and many who didn’t make the book!), that’s where I started. Each chapter describes a true dating experience, be it one date or more.
As I wrote, I began to see patterns and lessons from my dating life. Even with all the horrific press that dating receives, (and yes, my book does contain some doozy experiences!), I discovered if you show up authentically, dating like anything else can be joyful.
Called “Mom…You Just Need to Get Laid: The Adventures of Dating After Divorce” the book is published by the Brooklyn Writer’s Press. I am excited that the audiobook, voiced by the fabulous actor Laura Patinkin (cousin of Mandy), was produced by The Three Tomatoes!
I love what Jack Canfield, co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul wrote for the back cover:
“In a world craving human connection, this is the book you’ve been waiting for…the irrepressible Kate Somerset teaches life lessons on a brave journey to find herself in New York City. This isn’t just a book about dating. It’s about having a possibility mindset in life…”
MY AUTHOR REVEAL
On Valentine’s of this year, I have “come out” as the author of the dating book. My name is Ann Louden, aka Kate Somerset. Why own the pen name now? Because it’s time to begin talking about the book as me. I am proud of the larger message I want readers to know: we can indeed re-invent ourselves. I was skeptical. But Kate proved me wrong!
My advice to you as Kate – and as Ann – is to face your life with a sense of curiosity, optimism, and courage. Care less what others think of you, than what high standards you hold for yourself.
I would love to know how you are re-inventing yourself. Write to me at Kate@KateSomerset.com. Let the real you be seen!