I had an old friend ask me, “Dude, what’s up with the pen name?”
I have several reasons I write using the pen name, Nathaniel Sewell. First off, after I wrote Bobby’s Socks, my wife wondered if I’d want my young nephews and nieces to read the novel, and know it was my creation. Since the story is about the epi genetic link from child sexual abuse and suicide, the answer was – NO!
For the most part, Nathaniel was chosen because we like the name. We are not parents by choice, not from any form of genetic defect, or me ‘shooting blanks’, although I do like to go ‘shooting’. But if we had had a boy, we’d have named him, Nathaniel. If you want to travel all ‘Downton Abbey’ with me, an conjure an upper-crust English accent, “Yes, yes old boy, Nathaniel, quite nice, yes, quite – proper, wouldn’t you say?” And all the men in the wood paneled, Cuban cigar smoke filled study would respond with either a hearty, “harrumph, harrumph,” or ,”yes, yes … yes.”
The last name, Sewell, comes from my grandfather’s first name. He was a preacher, and lived an amazing life. He met my grandmother, Hazel, in 1926 near downtown Los Angeles, California, not far from the shadow of the LA County Library and where route 66 terminated. If you want to understand what being in ‘love’ is all about, think about meeting someone, getting married to them, and driving across the country in a Model A Ford into the heart of Appalachia? If you read from the below link, you’ll get a basic idea why I chose the last name.
Growing up, I rarely told my friends about them. I didn’t think they would understand, you see, the city of Lexington, Kentucky would make for a perfect setting for a daytime soap opera. “Genoa City, it ain’t got nothin’ on us!” I mean you have all the major vices, tobacco, bourbon, horses, gambling, lots of wealth, a litany of ‘wanna be’, within the back loop of the Bible belt. And sprinkle in the fact I grew up a Southern Baptist, and my grandfather had a thriving Brethren Missionary ministry. And I have several familial sugar plums I could add to this complicated history, but I think you’ll get the point I am making. (I guess it might make for an interesting novel, hmm, hmm?)
I used to travel with my grandmother, Hazel, through the corkscrewed, narrow roads of Eastern Kentucky. She was a nurse, and would go out and pay visits to the folks for a variety of health care reasons. I’ll write about her another time, but it is needless to say, I have been to, and seen poverty, depravity that would cause most people to scream and pull out their hair. And as Jim Bob Calhoun might say, “Eddie, it be smack inside this here, United States, no kiddin’.”
Now, Nathaniel Sewell is my literary brand. If you take a close look, I decided to go all in with the author photo. It was professionally taken by Dr. Sharon Langendorfer. I mean come on, I have thick, bouffant hair, I’ve never had a pimple on that pasty white, apple pie face, add in the color coordinated bow tie, blazer with puffed silk pocket square, and snap your fingers and yell with Christopher Clayton, MANIFEEK!
“Ladies, and gentlemen, boys, girls, and those happy creatures roaming about the fairyland forest, I give you, the one, the only, Nathaniel Sewell!”
(PS ~ And if you are curious, yes, I’m wearing colorful, woven socks, Bobby’s socks.)