By Morticia Knight
Hey all, I’m a newbie here at Oh Get a Grip, but very excited that I was invited to participate by the lovely Lisabet Sarai. I’m going to introduce myself by way of this post, since this month’s topic ties in perfectly with sharing ourselves with our readers.
Almost every author goes through the struggle in the beginning of their public career where they need to decide how much of their lives they want to share. I’ve heard so many talks on this subject in various author groups where those who are about to dip their toes into publishing want to know whether they should use a pen name or real name, whether they should use a real photo or buy a logo, do they disclose what town they live in or remain vague. Even seemingly innocuous things like posting pics of pets or their fabulously decorated Christmas tree should be taken into consideration when interacting on the Internet. How much should we share and how much do readers expect us to share?
The answer is unique to every person and sometimes complex. We live in a world now where a Google search can uncover surprisingly personal details we may not want disclosed. I’m not even referring to scandalous or criminal events, but perhaps who our children are, where they go to school, where we work at our day jobs and so on. Maybe we don’t care if details about ourselves are exposed, but what about our friends and families? They didn’t sign up for this ride, so perhaps they’d rather not be included. This is particularly true if the subject matter of our fiction isn’t mainstream.
Since I write LGBTQ erotic romance, not everyone wants to be associated with me. Not everyone knows I’m bisexual, even though I don’t hide it and I’ve publicly appeared on panels discussing bi-erasure and bisexual representation in fiction. However, I use a pen name for many reasons, which I’ll get to in a moment. But first, I want to discuss what happened when I first began my public writing journey. I discovered not everyone wanted others to know they were friends with or interacted with me.
I began a Facebook page under my real name back in the day when it was first a thing. Of course, I invited my real-life friends to add me and several requested me as well. When I announced I’d be publishing, I didn’t disclose exactly what type of fiction it would be at first. Then my daughters announced on their pages what I was writing and tagged me. That’s when the backlash began. I had already invited people to friend request me on my pen name profile, because honestly, I rarely looked at my personal one anymore since I simply didn’t have the time. I then received a message from a long-time friend who holds very liberal views, isn’t religious and used to worked in the entertainment industry as an actress.
My friend told me she was sorry, but she was in the process of interviewing for a new job and couldn’t take the chance that potential employers would do a search and find out we were friends. Wow. That hurt. At the same time. I understood her fears. I was still working a day job at the time and wasn’t sure how what I did when not at the job would be taken, so I kept my pen name a closely guarded secret When an inter-office memo made light of an LGBTQ issue however, it was like a bag of rocks landed in my stomach. I sat on it for a day, thought it over, then had to contact corporate with a rather lengthy memo outlining why out of the over four thousand employees who had been sent the memo, there were bound to be at least a few who were on the spectrum and could be hurt by it.
Turned out the Vice President of Corporate was out and proud. He also had no idea about the memo, as it was handled at a lower level of the corporate tier. That was an eye-opener. I still didn’t over-share at my job regarding my pen name, because regardless of LGBTQ issues, the erotic content wasn’t something everyone would be comfortable with. In that environment, being one hundred percent open about this other life I led outside the workplace wouldn’t have been appropriate.
Then, I quit my job to write full time.
It was then that I decided to use my real photo and no longer hide what it is I do for a living. The only area where I remain vague has to do with my family. I don’t share my family member’s names, although they sometimes show up of their own accord because they tag me and are proud of what I do. All three of my daughters have come out publicly as bisexual, so for them, it’s a non-issue. My oldest daughter is also an author (although she writes diverse fantasy fic) and editor who has edited several of my books, so I’ve been more fortunate than many authors in terms of understanding and living a transparent life!
Thanks for reading and I’m thrilled to be a part of this great group of authers at Oh Get a Grip. As a reader, what are your expectations from your fave authors? Do you care what goes on behind the curtain, or do you prefer the mystery?
Although this is in the About Us section, here is my official introduction if you want to peek behind the curtain 😊
Once upon a time she was the lead singer in an indie rock band that toured the West Coast and charted on U.S. college radio. She currently resides on the North Oregon coast and when she’s not fantasizing about hot men, she takes walks along the ocean and annoys the local Karaoke bar patrons.
Morticia’s Social links:
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2q2I2Do
Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/authormorticiaknight/
Facebook Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/MorticiasKnights/