World, meet Kivrin

Kivrin and AniWhen I published Bend almost two years ago, I had no idea how this writing gig was going to pan out. Maybe no one would buy it? Or maybe readers would buy it, and they would hate it, and my career would basically be over before it started? Or maybe I would never publish another book (until recently, this one seemed the most likely). Add that to the fact that I’m camera shy and perplexingly unphotogenic, and the most I could bring myself to show of my face was this phone shot of me hiding behind my cat. That way, if I failed spectacularly, all that was attached to that failure was my pen name and a moderately vague bio. Mine would not be the face of failure!

Well, I’m about to release another book, and it’s time to be an adult and a professional. Ahem.

This required some work, though. I hadn’t had a haircut since last summer. I desperately needed an eyebrow wax. I knew I should put more than my standard effort into doing my make-up (which I don’t even bother with most days, and when I do it’s concealer, eyeliner, mascara, and I’m done). After a shockingly expensive trip to Ulta, a visit to my waxing salon, and then three hours in my stylist’s chair while she colored and cut my hair, I felt like Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality, but dammit, I was ready!

Fortunately, my amazing and talented husband is an amateur photographer, and so I didn’t need to go waste my time at a studio. Because I knew that to get this right would be time consuming and painful–and I was right. But after two hours and hundreds of shots, we did it!

So here I am, ready to face the world.

Be kind, world.


About That Name

My signed first edition of To Say Nothing of the Dog.
My signed first edition of To Say Nothing of the Dog.

Choosing to use a pen name for my writing was a no-brainer for me. Years ago, a friend pointed out one advantage to using a pen name (other than keeping your public and private personas separate) was when you get bad reviews. It’s easier to have a thick skin if someone were to say “Kivrin Wilson sucks!” than if they used my real name.

The main thing for me, though, is that I have a very Norwegian first name that no English speakers know how to pronounce. To make things worse, my married last name is also a female first name, so for the past eighteen years I’ve had people getting my name backwards on an almost daily basis. Did I need that aggravation from readers? No, I did not!

I’ve had readers who think Kivrin is an Irish name. Others think it’s Norwegian, for obvious reasons–plus I suppose it does have a Nordic sound to it.

That’s not where it’s from, though!

It’s from a book.

I’ve loved the name since I read Doomsday Book by Connie Willis. My introduction to Willis came when a dear friend recommended that I read the sequel to Doomsday Book, To Say Nothing of the Dog, and to this day that is my all-time favorite novel. Time travel, history, laugh-out-loud humor, mystery, smart writing, an immersive and imaginative story world, and a thrilling plot twist at the end–and there’s even some romance. I love this book so much that when my husband gave me a signed first-edition of it for my birthday last year, there was no doubt it was one of the best gifts he’s ever given me.

Doomsday BookNaturally, after finishing To Say Nothing of the Dog, I wanted to read more. So I picked up the first book in Willis’s time travel series. Now, knowing that in this one the characters travel back to the time of the Black Death, I expected this to not be anything like the delightful romp that is To Say Nothing of the Dog. What I did not expect was such a bleak, dark, and gripping tale of disease and human mortality. The impact this book had on me can be summarized by this quote from the beginning of the third part of the novel.

“Buried with my own hands five of my children in a single grave… No bells. No tears. This is the end of the world.” –Agniola di Tura, Siena, 1347

This quote alone gave me goosebumps.

The main character’s name in Doomsday Book is Kivrin. I’m pretty sure Willis made the name up (this page agrees with me) and that it’s meant as a diminutive of Katherine. Regardless, I love the name. Obviously. 🙂

As for the last name, Wilson, I chose that simply because it rhymes with my maiden name.

So that’s the story of my pen name. And I can’t recommend these books enough! At the moment, I’m eagerly awaiting Willis’s first  release in years: Crosstalk A new romantic comedy from Connie Willis? Yes, please!


Thank you for subscribing to my mailing list!

You'll receive a verification e-mail shortly with a link to confirm your subscription.

If the email doesn't arrive, please contact me for assistance.

Sign up for my newsletter to get the latest info about my books, to enter exclusive giveaways, and to be the first to read bonus scenes!
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.