my identity

It’s Really Me, Not a Robot, a Student At Northwestern, or a Pen Name

After someone pointed me to a link yesterday about my identity, I decided to write this quick post and put it in writing once again. Sometimes I feel like Oprah Winfrey when she tells the world she’s not gay.

First, if you need proof, contact Elisa Rolle, the m/m book reviewer. I’ve met Elisa in person, here in my home, two summers ago when she was traveling through the US. I’m sure she’ll back me up.

I’m not a robot, I’m not a student at Northwestern (I think they have an athletic field named Ryan), and Ryan Field is not a pen name. Well, Ryan is my middle name because I don’t like my first name. But everyone I know has been calling me Ryan for the past twenty years. So I don’t consider this a pen name.

I’ve used pen names before for various reasons and I don’t like doing it. It’s hard to promote a book and keep it real with a pen name, for me, and I decided a long time ago that I’d use my real name when I was writing m/m fiction of any kind in order to keep it real.

The few photos I post around the internet are me as well. I don’t use fake photos of anyone and I’m not trying to hide what I look like. I’ll admit I don’t take the best picture in the world. But it is me. And I wouldn’t post a fake photo of myself.

I think a lot of this doubt about my identity comes about because I write fast. At least that’s where the robot reference originated, but I’m still not sure about that one. I’ve been writing for almost twenty years, every single day of my life, and it’s become part of my daily existence. I don’t have to force myself to write. I just sit down and do it; this is what I was trained to do. Even when I was working full time in my businesses I wrote at least 1,000 words a day, which wasn’t always easy. Up until I started working for e-publishers, I was in about twenty different anthologies a year. And all that practice paid off in the long run. Now I write anywhere from 3,000 to 4,000 words a day full time, and that makes it easy to write at least a novel a month. I’ve written novels in two weeks and that’s just too stressful. But a novel a month is doable. I also only require about three or four hours of sleep each night. So I work longer hours than most people.

I know that many authors use pen names for their own reasons. And I respect those reasons (I wish they would use solid first names instead of initials…B.Z., E.D., and Y. R. really confuses me and I never remember them when it’s time to buy their books. And people have trouble remembering names, forget about initials. But that’s none of my business.) I also understand that because the Internet promotes anonymity it’s often hard to trust who is real and who isn’t. I thought I was connecting with a real person for a year, and then found out he was only using a pen name for publishing reasons. I know the owner and publisher of a small press and he uses pen names and fake identities for every single editor even though he’s doing all the editing himself. In other words, it’s all fake with this guy.

I think we’re all skeptical by now. And I understand when people question my identity. But I can’t put it any plainer than this. Pardon the cliche, but I am who I am.