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