I’m very nearsighted…like, I need my glasses to find my glasses nearsighted. As a result, I’ve never been able to wear a mask without walking into furniture, walls, people, large pets…you name it and I’ve probably smacked a shin on it without corrective eyewear. And I’m not a big enough nerd to wear glasses over a mask.

In The Valmont Contingency, both the hero and heroine use masks. While Garrick doesn’t hide his face, he does hide his name and identity while out on shakedown / privateering patrols. It’s a reasonable precaution, given the kind of people he deals with and his family’s net worth. I’ll discuss Tasha’s mask in my Release Day post on the Carina Press blog.

I’ve noticed that the characters in my stories are never just one thing, just as the people in my life are never just one thing. My supervisor (at the day job) is a software QA manager. He also plays bass guitar in a band. Spooky Man is retired on disability, but he’s also an animal seducer — doesn’t matter what species, they all seem to adore him.

In my stories, the characters often need to disguise or hide part of themselves to protect friends, family or their own future. In Blade’s Edge, Taryn needs to hide that she’s a twin, because it would cloud the line of succession in her small country.

In Open Mike at Club Bebop, the hero has a military handle he uses when in the net, but he keeps it separate from his physical identity for several reasons, including the facial reconstruction after the “friendly fire” incident that nearly killed him. And the fact that he still does clandestine cyberwork for the government.

Once upon a time, I was active in the Society for Creative Anachronism. As part of developing a persona for recreating history, members are encouraged to research and adopt a Medieval- and/or Renaissance-appropriate name. I still have friends who know me primarily by that name.

Even Val Roberts is not my legal name, but a shortened version of it, in case I need to sign hundreds of autographs at a time one day. Hey, it could happen. Technically, then, I have three identities, although I seem to be able to limit my characters to two identities.

But what about you? Do you have a mask, or an alter-ego that you don’t reveal to everyone? If you’re a superhero, don’t answer that. I wouldn’t want to be responsible for your nemesis discovering your secret.

Be careful out there. Things are not always the way they first appear.

2 comments so far

  1. Amberly Smith on

    I have a fairly professional mask that I wear at work and people assume I am sweet and innocent and are often quite shocked when I say something racy or learn about my writing. There is also the mask we all wear around family, or maybe thats just me

    Nice post Val!

  2. stephanieberget on

    I hadn’t thought about different personas as masks, but I have one at work, one for writing and one with strangers. Only my husband knows the true me. Great post.

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