I made the decision years ago to use a pen name. There were a myriad of reasons, not the least of which is that there is another writer out there with my legal name who’d already bought up all the internet real estate. Nobody ever spells it right anyway. But part of my motivation was to keep my writing life and my real life very separate. Not in a trying to protect my identity from crazy stalkers kind of way, but more because I’m actively pursuing a means OUT of my Evil Day Job, and I’d just as soon put off my boss finding out about it until I can actually, you know, LEAVE (because she’s going to lose her shit, as I’ve done a great job making myself indispensable).
There are people in my real life who know about my dual identity, of course. My immediate family, my close friends. There are a few more who know that I write, but don’t know under what name. And that’s fine with me. I like having the split. Because I really don’t want to try to explain in person to non writers who actually know me any of the stupid questions non writers inevitably ask (non writers, don’t take this personally–we know you’re just interested, but we get these questions a lot).
Anyway, the wife of a friend of ours grabbed a copy of Genesis the last time we saw them, and I got a lovely Facebook message last night about how much she enjoyed Forsaken and was looking forward to the rest, and did I have anything else out because she gets on a jag and wants more.
I mean, obviously, I’m thrilled that she liked my work and wants to read more, and she didn’t say anything I haven’t gotten before from fans I’ve never met, but it felt different. Almost like…I don’t know, an invasion of my privacy. Which is stupid. My books are out there for public consumption. That’s totally the point. We want people to like them and tell friends and so on.
But I felt…exposed. Like that dream where you go to work naked or something.
Kristen is always talking about not hiding behind pen names because the people we know IRL can end up being our biggest supporters. And maybe that will be true eventually when I’m able to come out of the closet, so to speak. But for now I’m just feeling kind of awkward and shy.