the politics of identity

I was chatting with one of my editors the other day on that evil instant messenger, and I jokingly told him I would write him into one of my new stories. I’ve done this before, written someone in. I think it’s kinda cool, really. Plus then I don’t have to invent a name, I already have one. Plus that whole disclaimer thing makes it just too easy. Anyway, my editor said that he didn’t want me to use his real name. He then went on for a bit about his theory of names, and why his own name broke those rules.

Completely nuts about sums it all up. wink.gif

But it really got me thinking. I do it, so do many other authors. We all hide our identities. Very few authors (there are exceptions) use their real names. The vast majority of the stories I have read (and I realize I probably haven’t even touched on 1/100th of them), those authors all use pen names.

I do it to protect my every day identity. I would imagine that’s why the vast majority of other writers do it. Potential employers have been known to search Facebook and Google to screen those applying for jobs. And with the global recession, someone looking for work has to be savvy and protect themselves.

But why?

Why is it such a bad thing to be an author? Certainly Stephanie Meyer author of the extremely popular Twilight series doesn’t seem to have the need to hide her identity.

Or is it because we write gay stories?

I thought in an Obama world, writing stories about gay people would be okay.

If Stephanie Meyer had written Twilight with two gay protagonists, would it still be as popular?

Or would it be on a website similar to Gone from Daylight, offered up to anyone who wishes to read?

I’m addicted to sci-fi and fantasy stories, especially vampires. In the regular commercial world, of which Meyer is a part of, I find it extremely difficult to find a good gay vampire story. Of course the standard for me is Comicality’s own story. I even hold myself to his standard.

But when I did a simple search at Amazon, there were very few good items I might even consider buying, and most were a few years old already. I’ve already read the Tanya Huff books that lead to the popular TV series Blood Ties.

So why is it that those of us who write this great fiction, have to use a pen name?

I guess at the end of the long night, we all want to be able to feel safe in our warm beds. Being an out author isn’t as cool as it seems, nor does it pay the bills unless you have a major best seller.

I’m ready to curl up with a good vampire story, and a cup of hot chocolate.