Why did you choose a pen name?
I like to say “Caleigh O’Shea” was born of necessity.
I was christened with a common name, and I hated being a Debbie. There were more than a dozen Debbies in my high school graduating class alone, and most of us at some point experimented with spelling our names differently, just to stand out.
Imagine my despair when I checked my real name (Debbie Pierce) online and found hundreds of me, spelled exactly the same! And those were just the ones who’d beat me to the best dot-com names.
Since I’d been blogging for a couple of years under a rather loosely-put together Irish theme, I started toying with the possibility of fully embracing my Irish heritage. I tested names for a year before finally zeroing in on “Caleigh O’Shea.”
I think it fits me.
“Caleigh” is a Gaelic name meaning slender. Who doesn’t want to be thin?? “O’Shea” is an old Gaelic surname meaning stately, fortunate, and hawk-like (dauntless). A writer certainly needs those traits to survive!
There are O’Sheas scattered throughout Ireland, particularly in Counties Kerry, Cork, Tipperary, and Kilkenny. It’s my hope the clan will accept me as an honorary member.
Why did you become a writer?
I couldn’t not write! I’m a voracious reader who, as a child, checked out immense stacks of books from the local library, then tucked myself away to explore faraway lands.
Throughout school, I was blessed with remarkable English teachers who taught me the basics — grammar, punctuation, spelling. I wrote poems, journals, and essays (some of which won contests). Every summer found me starting a novel with pencil and notebook paper; conveniently, I tired of the story line as a new school year started.
What’s your writing routine?
It varies. Generally, I like to end one day in the middle of a thought or scene (so I’ll have something to come back to and finish). I tend to write to music, too (preferably something instrumental so I’m not tempted to sing along!)
Besides writing, what are some of your other interests?
I enjoy sports, especially tennis and golf; music; reading; blogging; and beading jewelry. Recently, I’ve connected with my inner child through adult coloring (a wonderful way to relax while playing with colors), and I love spoiling my young adult son and our Sheltie.