There is no easy way to begin.
I'm still sore, but it's faded from OH MY @#$% THE PAIN to a dull ache, the way muscles feel three days after an intense workout. It hurts, but it's the kind of pain that afterwards, you feel better overall. And maybe it sounds silly that I was hurting that much, but I was. I felt a bit sick, more than a little angry (at the situation, not the people involved), and something akin to grief.
Before I continue, I should probably explain ...
Back in 2008, I became afraid. I had a new manuscript I'd started working on, and a new job. In many ways, it was a new life. And so even though I had this blog, I realized how much safer I would feel writing under a pen name. So I abandoned this journal, bought a domain name, and set up a fresh Livejournal. Friends were encouraging. They all agreed that Moira Young sounded like an awesome name to use.
How did I come up with the name in the first place? Simple: because, upon giving my name, on several occasions people heard "Moira" instead of Laura. "Young" was just at random; I realize now that I had a teacher in high school with the last name, but it was a nice, clean, single syllable that seemed to fit.
The whole idea of using a pen name was reaffirmed when I was at at the PAX 2009 Q&A. Gabe and Tycho were asked how they felt about being known for their nicknames, rather than their real names. They both said it was fantastic. Recently, when I asked him, a bestselling published author agreed: he writes under a pen name and it helps him separate his personal life from his professional life.
So I was in a pretty happy place. Last year, I even began actively blogging under Moira Young, after being encouraged to do so. I started tweeting under the name and using it actively. There's even a fantasy writing book coming out where I contributed "one or more comments or questions" (more on that later) and I'm credited under that name. I was enjoying myself. I was happy, working away at my YA fantsy novel.
Fast forward to about five days ago. I got a message from an author I respect, asking if I was the author of BLOOD RED ROAD.
... wait, what?
Turns out there is another Moira Young. Whose YA dystopian novel is coming out in June.
As more than a few people have said, what are the chances?
I've said this elsewhere, but at this point, I need to make myself clear: I mean this "real" Moira Young absolutely no ill will, and I wish her the best. It is in no way her fault, nor could I possibly think to blame her. But it would be unfair and dishonest to myself if I said I wasn't feeling hurt by the situation
. I'd devoted so much time and energy to Moira Young, and then I felt like everything had been taken away from me.
If you've been following my moirayoung
blog, you'll know that this is how I react to bad news, whether it's a bad critique, or something like this. Give me a moment to get over it (and rage and curse and maybe even cry a little), and then I'll try to make it work.
Just ... y'know, let me process it first.
This makes me realize some truths: that in a lot of ways, I was hiding. I was too scared to be myself on the Internet. As someone who spent her formative adult decade (ages 16 to 25, a.k.a. "the emo years") growing up on the web, I'd been through all of the hurtful Internet melodrama countless times. I wanted that fresh start.
I didn't want to be Laura Taylor anymore.
This past week, I was agonizing over what to do with my name. What should I do? Something I'd spent the last few years working on, pouring my heart into, was lost in an instant. How could I even complain? The "real" Moira Young is the published one, and I'm still working on it. Do I even deserve to feel hurt by this?
Every single person I spoke to said that L.S. Taylor seemed to be the best choice. What's hilarious is that I already had the domain (lstaylor.ca) and this old blog already set up.
So, here I am.
I can't say for certain whether or not this will be my "official" pen name; I'm beyond making a decision until I finish editing my WIP and getting an agent. That's kinda the most importaint part here. But to keep blogging and posting as Moira Young would just feel false, and I'm too Canadian to want to step on anyone's toes. And since this was already here ...
Well, who knows? Maybe this was meant to be.