As a writer that is publishing work under a pen name I am finding it difficult to get my true personality across. A pen name is like a mask, and there are times when I am challenged with an inward struggle to reveal my identity to the world. In spite of the fact that I must hide my identity due to my current occupation, which is immersed in the education field, there is still a possibility to share a little bit more about me. Therefore, I will write down three hidden facts for your own interest. Hopefully it can shed a little bit more light about me as an author and a person that has an everlasting love for writing.
I am a young adult.
I am a young adult that writes for young adults. A millennial that targets readers that are in the same age bracket as myself. My writing tends to be very liberal minded, it touches on characters that belong to the LGBTQ community; the characters Ben and Taylor are in a long-term romantic relationship. I wanted to include characters that belong in this community because many of my friends and readers are a part of this group. It is important for the LGBTQ community to have a presence in the literary world- a voice. The younger generation is more open to these ideas, and I think this is absolutely wonderful. For centuries sexuality and sexual orientation has been shunned due to Judaeo-Christian values, but it is our generation that is speaking out and embracing the rights to choose the people that we wish to love. As a writer I want to ensure to have characters with different ethnicity, languages, backgrounds and sexual orientations. Future published work will ensure this is done, so that readers can view characters that reflect themselves. On a final note, I wanted to write novels focused on a target market that was mostly young adults for the simple reason of communicating words and ideas to people that share a similar lived experience as myself. A pen can give a person a voice; words can spark a world of ideas. I wanted my words to reach a generation that can change the world and make a difference for the coming generations.
I am black.
In light of the "Black Lives Matter" movement I have been relatively silent on social media. Rest assure, I discuss this topic among my family and friends. I know that silence is complacent, but I felt that I could communicate my thoughts more through a novel than a quick Instagram post. Nevertheless, being a black woman has shaped my world mindset. You might be wondering why I go under a pen name that is clearly Anglo-Saxon. I have divulged on this subject on a previous post that you can read here. To summarize it quickly, the pen name was chosen by two of my favourite fictional characters "Dorian Gray" and inspired by the Game of Thrones character "Petyr Baelish."
I am aware that Cursed has no persons of colour. I have written several unpublished novels that do have people of colour that come from all over the world. I hope to have them published one day, so you may see the diversity and multi-cultural elements that make each "black" character unique. At the end of the day we are just people, we do not fall under the same stereotypical persona that is displayed in hip-hop videos and BET Awards. As for myself, I would say I am rather an a-typical black person. I do not fall into the stereo-type, and I suppose writing under a pen name gives me a mask that better hides my true identity. Most people are surprised when they discover that I am a black writer with an embarrassing truth that I sounded too "articulate" for them to realize it sooner. A racial and biased statement that must be left for a blog post on another day. My manner of speech can easily be explained when you know a little bit more about my background. I grew up on English literature and to this day it is can be classified as one of my favourite reads. I am also a recent University graduate, so years of reading academic papers and producing lengthy essays have instructed me on the ways of better writing.
Black people should have a voice in the literary world. We should have black authors on the world stage and characters that are three-dimensional and diverse. We should read about issues that black people face in their community and the world stage. We should observe the multiverse of languages, dress, food, music and culture that people of colour embrace on a daily basis. We should refrain from stereotypes unless it is to get a point across.
I admit there are times when I wish I could reveal my identity and be proud of the works I intend to publish in the near future. The fact of the matter is that I work in a field that cannot allow me to openly publish work that has "erotica." Nonetheless, I wanted you to know as a reader that I am a proud black woman and I am not ashamed of that fact.
Feel free to share your thoughts on this blog post. It has been a very riveting experience because I feel so exposed, but perhaps that is a good thing. More information about my coming work, including diverse characters that reflect different ethnicity, sexual orientation and cultural backgrounds will be brought forth in future blogs. Take care everyone and stay safe out there!
- Peter Gray
Peter Gray is my pen name.
Why would a woman choose to write under a man's name? It is quite simple really, I was inspired by the journeys of the writers Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters.
A masculine pseudonym was the only means of publishing novels in the nineteenth century. Growing up, I used to read of the struggles of women publishing their work anonymously or using a masculine pseudonym. When it came time to publishing Cursed, it felt almost natural for me to go under a man's name.
Unfortunately, due to my involvement in the educational system, it would have been quite impossible for me to publish it under my real name. Do I regret it? No, not really. I enjoy my privacy, and in this day and age it is something to truly treasure. I hope you understand my reasoning of publishing stories under a male's name. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to comment below. I would be delighted to respond to them.
Peter Gray is my pen name. As an educator I thought it best to publish my stories under a different name given the fact that they may contain sexual scenes and language. In this blog I may provide certain antidotes about myself, but there are some things I would like to keep private due to my profession.
Peter Gray was a name that came to me quite naturally. I have made it a point to trust my intuition, so there were no second guesses that I should publish "Cursed" under the pseudonym of Peter Gray. The name "Peter" came about for several reasons, all of which earn an interesting story. Firstly, I have a tendency to like fictional characters in television shows and novels with that name, a trend that I am still trying to understand. Secondly, I write fan-fiction under a similar name on Archive of Our Own (Ao3), but for personal reasons I will omit that information for now. Thirdly, my unhealthy obsession with the fictional character Lord Petyr Baelish (Littlefinger) from Game of Thrones was enough persuasion to take up the name. Indeed, even the physical appearances, quirky mannerisms and the distinctive raspy tone of voice of Lord Baelish was taken as inspiration when constructing the character Damian in "Cursed." Therefore, it is my way of tipping my hat to this fictional character.
The surname "Gray" was inspired by the novel "The Picture of Dorian Gray" by none other than Oscar Wilde. As a fan of classic English literature and the author, Oscar Wilde, it felt quite natural to take up the surname. I intend to produce more novels that stem along a similar theme of Gothic horror, drama and enough sexual passions to satisfy even Dorian's hunger.
What are your opinions on this name? Feel free to share your thoughts below.