Leap year…one extra day where I explain my pen names and me.

I’ve got three pen names, which I’m probably going to whittle down to…three. I’m often asked, “Don’t you get confused?” or, “What do you want me to call you?”

No, I don’t get confused. You are most likely many things and called many things throughout your day. You could be a partner, sibling, cousin, parent. I’m Babe, Mom, or Erin just at home.

Regarding “What do you want me to call you?” I do understand the confusion because my growth as a writer has transformed as my children have aged. I’ve been writing and publishing for over a decade. Imagine having middle schoolers, being a middle school teacher, and writing steamy romance. When the kids were in school I kept my names SEPARATE for their sake and mine. But, they are all adults now, both legally and emotionally for the most part because let’s face it, adulting is a struggle. I’m also no longer teaching. And because I’m an empty-nester I have more time to volunteer in my community and my writing community. Because I’m volunteering in my writing community my legal name and my published name are becoming intertwined. So, as an author, I’m Tobi, but as a workshop presenter…I’m okay with authors knowing both names and calling me either Erin or Tobi.

Having a pen name is amazing because I can put on this persona of the extremely extroverted, funny, gregarious author of sexy romance! I’ll do things outside of my normal comfort zone (which is my couch and binge-watching Schitt’s Creek with a glass of red wine).  I’ve written over a dozen books as Tobi Doyle. That’s who readers know and it’s totally cool for them to only know one side of me. I appreciate their time and money and realize they just want to go on a journey with my characters, not me. I don’t want to change that name or brand because it is a part of me. But it’s not all of me. Just like your work self is different than your home self.

So, I’m Tobi Doyle, writer of HEAs with heat and humor, but I’m also a mystery writer (unpublished) and a children’s book author and illustrator (unpublished) because human beings are complex.

What about you? Did you do something special this Leap Year?

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