Back before The Orchard sold, my agent and I had a talk about names. I did not want to publish it under my real name. I didn't even want to use Frasier. Names I came up with were Terry Ahlberg (grandmother's last name) and Anne Ahlberg.
Why use a pseudonym for a memoir? I didn't want anybody to easily figure out the innocent and not-so-innocent players in the story. I explained to my agent why I didn't want to use my real name, and her response was: "How will anybody back there even know about the book?" And that kind of says everything, because I was thinking just the opposite: How will they NOT know? If you aren't from a small town, you don't understand these things. So we put the name issue aside, agreeing to worry about it later, when and IF (highly unlikely) the book sold. Once it did sell, I brought up the name issue again. I told my editor that I'd rather not publish the book under Weir. I think there was some discussion about it behind the walls of the publishing house, and later I was told that since it was memoir it really needed to be published under my real name.
I doubt I will ever be comfortable with that decision. But on the other hand, I completely understand why it was made. I know it's weird that I would want to protect certain people from exposure, but that's the way I am. And I think the whole Frey thing has made publishers paranoid about putting anything out there that might seem suspect. The result is that that they work extra hard to make sure everything is transparent. I suppose it was horribly naive of me to think I could use a different name. But I still like Ahlberg.