In which the real author reveals his fictional self.
Well, obviously Cameron Forrest is not my real name. It says so at the back of the novel. Or maybe it is my real name. Psyche!
No, really, it isn’t. Cameron isn’t a real person, but he is a lot like me. He is male and heterosexual. Married with at least one child. If you’ve read my novel Respite, you can probably guess that I am Canadian, that I use cannabis and love saunas. Really, if you’ve read the book, you likely think you know a lot about me already.
But I’m not really Cameron, and he is not really me. And neither one of us is Mark, the central character in the novel, who ends up being a writer as well. It’s pointless to deny that there are similarities between Mark and myself. For me at least, it’s easiest to write about what I know. But it’s also true that this is a work of fiction, not an autobiography. Some of the events in Respite could have happened to me, and maybe some of them even did, although not exactly as they are portrayed there. It makes it kind of fun: an alternate reality, the way my life could have turned out, but didn’t.
The decision to write under a pen name, and not to reveal my true identity, was a tough one, and I’m still uncertain about it. After all, I’m certainly not ashamed of Respite, in fact I’m very proud of it. I’ll go into the reasons for that decision in another post. And I’m pretty sure that if someone really wants to make the effort, they can find out who I am; after all, I’m no expert at cyber security. But I’m not too worried about that: at least it would mean that someone has read my novel! Still, dear reader, I’d prefer to remain anonymous, at least for the time being. Why not just accept that, and have fun with it? Try to guess which parts of the novel are more true-to-life than others. Try to imagine yourself as Mark, or as Monica; what it was like to be one of them. That’s what I did.