Before I began writing Sherlock stories, I’d published in magazines and anthologies a dozen porn stories under my actual name. So, when I was set to publish my first Sherlock fic I was just going to continue being Wendy C Fries.
Oh sweet summer child.
This was in 2010, the halcyon days of a fandom mere months old, and back then everyone seemed sure the BBC was going to sue all Sherlock fic writers into pencils and paper poverty. So I grumpily boarded the panic bandwagon and picked an alias.
I wanted something real-sounding and while I thought I made up the name Atlin, I’ve since learned there’s an Atlin lake and street, but I know exactly where Merrick came from: Joseph Merrick, to whom I dedicated both my books. Since I was a kid I’ve admired the gentle spirit of this person they called the elephant man, of how good he seems to have been in a time that was so very bad to people with deformities.
I love being Atlin Merrick. Though originally I didn’t want a pseud I’m glad Atlin exists. She writes much more interesting stuff than Wendy does—I have literally written articles on why dogs sneeze and while that’s cool it’s certainly no Sherlock pet play fic (see what I did there?).
I love that even after meeting Sherlockians in person most keep calling me Atlin, instead of Wendy.
I love that in some small way I carry the name of a man who made the world better by himself being so very good.
I love Atlin Merrick.
“Why We Go Invisible: Pseuds and Anon,” Spark’s latest newsletter, talks about why we choose to be other people on the internet. This is how I feel about the issue…read about Narrelle M Harris’ fraught journey from her nom de plume to now, and why one person will never unveil. And subscribe to Spark!