(Excerpts from a blog post dated April 21, 2016)
I’ve been writing stories since before I could shape all the letters correctly, and I have some saved proofs to that effect. My backwards Ks are awesome, let me tell you. In more recent decades, I’ve been finishing novel-length creative works since 2004. But most of those works, when found anywhere outside my trusty laptop, exist online under a name not connected to my real one.
My real name is common enough, and also just a letter or two off a prominent and prolific author already. And for those and other reasons, I have always intended to publish under a different name than the one on my government ID.
The name I have chosen for myself for the purposes of publishing is K.M. Clantoren. The M of K.M. is for Mendeia, which is my handle on most social media, and also on AO3 where I have years of fanfic history behind me.
Now, conventional wisdom is that one doesn’t want to conflate “real” publishing with “just fanfic,” but I am the most cheerful little tiger that ever was at calling bullshit.
I am me. I am inspired and driven by cartoons and movies and anime. I am also inspired and driven by thunderstorms and music and spiritual revelations and really stupid jokes. Sometimes that inspiration leads me to write stories about Leverage or Spider-Man. It also leads me to my own stories within my own worlds. But you can’t have one without the other. You can’t have me, someday successful author maybe, without also me, the one who writes about Max. I am one and the same.
And I have fought too goddamn long to be myself to give that up now.
So I’m K.M. Clantoren.
The K stands for Kelly. My given name and the one I respond to if you want my attention (although I’ll answer to my wife’s name, too, after so many years of being confused for her).
The M stands for Mendeia. Where I came from. Where I’ll always be going even if I become someone else, too. Where I practiced my craft and went from wretched to passable. Where I still retreat when my heart needs its immortal and immaterial blankie. And also my Twitter handle when you want all my wacky times in 140 characters or less.
The Clantoren name is one I invented out of whole cloth. She is who I hope to become here. Who I hope to be as a published author. Maybe even who I hope to be in the world. The one who has slightly more of her shit together than Kelly and is slightly more marketable than Mendeia. The one who gets to be on the books people read and in the stories that touch their hearts.
Nice to meet you, world.