Monday, June 23, 2014

Pen Names and How I Became N.K. Traver

From the first day I got serious about writing, I knew I'd be using a pen name. I wanted to separate my personal life from my writing one, and I also thought my married name might be a difficult one to remember or retype since it's spelled differently than it's pronounced.

So began much Googling of cool names and mixing and matching to find the perfect one. I had possibilities like Jordan Gray, Raven Hollow, and even my brother's name, which is short and easy to remember. Except I have two brothers and then I would feel like a terrible person for leaving the other one out.

As with many important decisions, I called my dad to see what he thought. I listed all my creative combinations and said I was leaning most toward Jordan Gray. What did he think?

Flashback: My Grandpa Traver's house, several years before. I'm in college. I do not yet know I want to be an author. I write online a lot, I start and stop books. But I'm going to school for programming because that's what pays and that's what I'm doing with my life. Grandpa is telling me how he wants to write an autobiography. He's telling me how he's started and stopped writing several books. This goes completely over my head, though I do make note that it's cool both Grandpa and I write.
He passes away a year before I get serious about writing. He never finishes the autobiography.

Back to the phone call with Dad on the other end. He says, "Oh, I was looking forward to seeing 'Traver' on the shelf."

And I thought about Grandpa, and that was that.

To avoid a family feud about using one brother's name over the other, I settled on my current initials for the first name. I had some degree of separation from my personal life, and I think it's pretty easy to remember if heard in conversation.

But most importantly, Grandpa, we did it.

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