I find sometimes it’s easy to be myself / Sometimes I find it’s better to be somebody else
– Dave Matthews Band, “So Much to Say”
Blowing the dust off the personal blog, because admittedly, I’ve been in hibernation. Part of me wants to talk about all of the awesome things I’ve been cooking up as an author and the other half wants to bemoan the real life distractions that’ve been getting in the way, but that’s not what I came here to talk about.
Next weekend, I’m attending Wizard World Philly for the first time in two years, because it seems like Wizard has finally started doing something right again with what had been my favorite convention. Last year, we exhibited at Otakon, an anime convention in Baltimore, and JR and I are hoping to do another convention somewhere else by the year’s end. (NYCC, dare we dream?) This sets up an interesting conundrum for me, however, in starting to do so many public appearances.
Much to my chagrin… I’m not Peter Dawes.
I know, I know. It’s as upsetting to me as it is to you, because seriously, there are days in the week (seven to be exact) where I wish I could pull a sword, decapitate someone pissing me off, and go about my business. The wonderful thing about the internet is that I can use my main character as a pseudonym and anyone who talks to me knows Peter’s a persona. Any time you see me on Facebook and Twitter, I’m being the authentic, honest-to-goodness person behind the mask.
But meeting me in person can be a little… jarring.
So, the time’s finally come for me to come out and actually reveal the Man Behind the Curtain. Only, he’s not really a man at all.
Hello there. My name is Julie Staples (you can call me Jules) and I am the mad genius behind Peter Dawes. As I said above, I’m not Peter. Peter is Peter, and any author or creative type is probably nodding their heads in understanding as I say that. The characters take on their own lives with their own personalities, which is why I coined the hashtag #thevoicesarereal.
I am also the person behind Karyn Mitchell, if you’ve seen her floating around. (She’s my paranormal romance pseudonym.) And this picture is older than Moses, but it’s my best one and I wanted to put my best foot forward before I’m photobombing all over the place because I can now.
Most of my posts have pointed toward being of the male persuasion, only because using Peter as a moniker seems to indicate I would be. By and large, though, you already know me. I have four kids from a previous relationship, am (more or less) married to the best thing to ever happen to me, my partner-in-crime, JR Wesley. Everything I’ve shared has been me and my life. The names and genders have been changed, however, to protect the innocent.
And yeah the title of this blog is sort of a misnomer. But to be perfectly honest, I’ve never been that stellar at being a girl. If I would’ve grown up with role models like Felicia Day, I would have a much better handle on it, because that’s the sort of girl I am. This is why I prefer writing male protagonists. Women are beautiful, complicated creatures who drive me up the wall whenever I try to think like what normally constitutes being “the typical female”.
Just remind me I said that the next time I have an emotional outburst.
- Holy shit, you haven’t been a guy this whole time?
No, but at the same time, when I’ve been approached in private by people asking me questions about the real me, I’ve done my best to answer them as honestly as I can. Telling people about the really real me is on the basis of trust, something I’ve been short on in recent years. Someone once used my online identity to defame my character and that experience was hell on earth. (I’m not being melodramatic in saying I had a nervous breakdown.) If I’ve been gunshy about my identity this is why.
I won’t get into that whole story. If you want to know it, just ask me in private. Or reference back to this post I wrote. I’ve repeated it ad nauseum as it is.
- So, why Peter Dawes?
I started out posting rough drafts of the Vampire Flynn books on my personal deviantART account six years ago. Around the time I started the fifth book, Peter turned to poetry to help him cope with the awful shit his writer was putting him through.
(Not commonly known fact: I am a sadistic bitch to my characters.)
Anyway, it led to Peter having a deviantART account of his own. When I decided to adopt Peter as my pseudonym, I’d already been roleplaying him, so continuing to roleplay him wasn’t all that difficult. I still roleplay him, only now, he has his own Twitter account.
- I thought you were gay?
She doesn’t have a pic for me to post, but you’ve heard me talk all about my partner, JR. I call her Jesi. The necessity on my part to have Peter necessitated her to have a complimentary persona, which is why she used Victor Mason for a while. You haven’t met Victor in prose, unless you’ve been reading his story over at Bloodtide. You’ll meet him in Peter’s books sometime soon.
Jesi wanted a pseudonym for her editorial work with Crimson Melodies, and thus was JR Wesley born. Truth be told, Jesi and I are really free-spirited people. Polyamorous. Bisexual, although the term pansexual might be a little more applicable to me. But in everything, we are a partnership and I can’t see a time in my life when I wouldn’t consider her the peanut butter to my jelly.
- A gay Christian, no less…?
Yep, we exist, and minus the self-loathing, too. Everything I said about having a seminary level education? Accurate. My fortes were textual criticism and apologetics.
I don’t really have a denominational affiliation anymore, but I’ve been camping with the Episcopalians lately. They’re good people.
- And your crush on Joseph Gordon-Levitt?
I will probably get arrested the first time I meet him, for jumping him and trying to take all of his clothing off. True facts right there. Keep the gratuitous JGL picture porn coming, friends.
The bottom line is, I’m a complicated creature and have relished the freedom Peter’s given me. And it’s my sincere hope I continue having that freedom being me, working through the different avenues of expression my creativity likes running down. I’ve never liked being pigeon-holed into one identity, one frame of mind, or one stereotype. I still plan on writing under Peter’s name for all my urban/dark/historical fantasy projects, because it’s still hard as a woman to write male protagonists and be taken seriously. It doesn’t matter how many male muses I have in my headspace, it’s the truth of the matter.
So, here I am. For the first time since 2008, I’m taking a tentative step forward in showing you the really real (wo)man behind the curtain. Consider it therapy. Consider it that desire I have to be able to be the sort of author who’s connected to their readers, but I’m being crazy and throwing myself out there.
And just in case you were partial to that Peter fella, and his Flynn alter ego, don’t worry… they’re not going anywhere. *slow, wicked grin* The floor is open for comments and questions. Just please… be gentle.