I never thought I would have a pseudonym. I think like most people, when I decided to write, I knew I wanted to see my name in print. “Shari” is the one my parents gave me and I loved (except for that one time when I was thirteen, but that didn’t work out because what else would I call myself?) And anyway, my father named me for Harry Belafonte’s daughter. As someone also from the Caribbean, I feel it’s an honor.
I am terrible at nicknames. I live in a country where nonsense names parents give infant children sometimes stick with them for life, or else you are “gifted” with one by friends, neighbours, coworkers. When I was small my eldest brother called me “Mousielouse” for reasons he has never disclosed and it’s only years later that I decided I liked it. It was fascinating to see my name translated to Mandarin by my teacher when I was learning: 百雪梨 (Bai Xueli.) Me choosing a nickname on the other hand? A mess, I can’t settle on anything and change my mind with my mood. It’s also the reason I don’t have a tattoo.
Anyway, when I started writing professionally I knew I wanted to see my name in print. And honestly, the thrill has never died at seeing my name on a magazine (and hopefully one day soon on many books!) But I also have this thing. See, I write speculative fiction and I enjoy that, love that, best thing ever. But I also want to try my hand at mystery fiction, my first love (heyyyy Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew!) So I got this crazy idea, you know, what if I used a pseudonym?
I don’t have to do this, I know. But I’m doing it anyway. And I quite like the name I’ve finally settled on: Kim Bailey. Kim Bailey is me as much as Shari Paul is me and any other pseudonym I may decide to use in the future. (Who knows, I might want to try my hand at writing plays.) Kim Bailey is the me who likes whodunits, who goes into the dark places of human nature, who wants to unravel mysteries like the best village maco. So, here we are.
In November, I’m going to post a mystery short on Wattpad. It is not, in fact the first mystery/crime story I’ve written. That was a novel about Jack the Ripper I hand wrote at sixteen. But I hope that it is a good one and that people will enjoy it.
See trailer here: The Case of the Music Dealer
And before I go, here’s some recommendations: Apolépisi: A De-Scaling by Suzan Palumbo, 12 Things A Trini Should Know… by RSA Garcia and Pen Pal by Grant Canterbury. I’m working on reading more short fiction. I’m also currently reading Samuel R Delany’s Babel-17 and let me tell you, I really love it. Also, Dr Eric Williams’ Capitalism and Slavery, which is quite eye-opening but also affirming of things I think we all understand.
Okay so that’s it. It’s almost Divali here, and last night I listened to a bamboo cannonade as neighbours prepared. It was raining and I worried that they wouldn’t be doing anything, but they are! I hope to see some nice displays.