After several days of thinking hard about it, I took the HUGE decision at last: yes, I would finally tell my novelist uncle in America that I’ve written (and I’m still writing) novels under a pen name.
What pushed me over the edge was asking myself, “Suppose he were to pass away and I never told him? How would I feel?”
I would have wished that I’d had.
Not that he’s in imminent danger. (God forbid.) But he’s in his mid-70s and, as we know, you never know. So I emailed him late last night UK time. Below is the first part of my note to him (with various personal bits removed):
Dear Uncle —
After nearly 2 years, I finally decided I would let you in on this….
….I also know I’ve joked with you about my writing a book. That’s because… well, I have.
I’ve written two so far.
Let me explain. Since 2013, I’ve indy published 2 novels in an ongoing series. (About 100,000 words each.) They are on Amazon under a pen name Helen suggested I use. The books came about largely because I had long wanted vaguely to do something like it. Friends urged me on also (including our lovely girlfriend, Kam, who you may recall died unexpectedly a year ago).
Set two decades ago, the novels are “gentle” historical romantic fiction: families; friends; university; relationships; travel; expats; cultural differences; and twenty and thirty-somethings. Hovering in the background are politics and lifestyles in Europe and America in the 1990s.
Their style and overall content is why a Facebook message you wrote me a few months ago REALLY made me laugh. You thought I should write a “cozy.” Well, I couldn’t do crime (and don’t want to), but sometimes people do have a good sense of your personality! (You do mine!)….
There’s lots more. However, I didn’t share my pen name or link him to the books just yet. I wanted first to gauge his reaction to the “revelation” by just writing of the books’ existence, and nodding to and partly addressing (later in the email) what I considered “uncomfortable” issues that could arise about the fiction and “sourcing” of a lot of it.
Yep, it makes perfect sense. Why NOT move perhaps to turn your life upside down right at the start of a week?
Oh, and I wasn’t “relaxed” last night. I was entirely sober. That email wasn’t like a drunk Facebook message or drunk tweeting session or anything like that. 😉
Have a good Monday, wherever you are in the world. Me? Now I await the response. 🙂