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Does An Author’s Identity Matter? My Two Cents…

Apparently sometime during the past few weeks or so, one of my “go to” authors in the M/M genre revealed themselves to be a woman. The only way I found out was when I went to search about their next book. (I’m not going to reveal who it was. I’m sure you can find out if you do a search). So when I read about it, I learned that there had been some backlash and people lashing out at the author on various sites around the web. I don’t go to many sites where people meet up to discuss different books and genres, and it seems that this is where the author is getting criticism from people who view this as some sort of fraud. They feel that she has lied to them and owes them an apology. I couldn’t help but think why does this matter?

I started reading when I was 3 years old. My mother took us to the library every Saturday morning and we had to make sure we checked out enough books to last the week. My mother often told the story that the library wouldn’t give me my own library card until I proved that I could read. My mom told the librarian to pick out a book and when they did, I showed them that I could read. I got my first library card that same day. From my earliest memories of reading, it was always about the story. I couldn’t tell you who wrote a particular story, but I could describe in detail what it was that excited me or what I didn’t like.

Who wrote the book, whether they were a man writing romance and using the pen name of a woman or a woman writing science fiction and using the pen name of a man, never mattered to me. What does matter is the story. I want to be sucked into the story. I want to be challenged to think, whether it is something I don’t agree with or something that I’ve never read before. I want to be hooked from the first page and keep reading until I figure out who the killer is or to see if the main characters get their happily ever after.

What I don’t think about is who the person is behind the pen name. I don’t need to know if they are a man or a woman, if they are married, divorced, where they work or play. I understand that an author may have reasons for keeping their identity hidden, be it the fear of losing their day job, losing their friends, etc. If an author chooses to share who they are with their readers, that is fine, but I don’t feel that an author owes that to me because I buy their books. None of that matters. What matters is if they can write a good story. I have several authors who are auto buys for me. Most of the time I love their new books, but once in a while, I won’t. And that is okay too. I’m not going to like every book an author puts out. For instance, one author writes really funny, campy contemporary vampire books and I have them all. When she put out a new historical romance, I read it but didn’t like it. Others did, and that is what makes the literary world go round and round. Not everyone is going to like everything you write. Just write a good story. That is all that I, the reader, is owed.

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