and I realized why it was bothering me so much. They (meaning Rowling and her team) lied up a whole persona for this pseudonym:
After several years with the Royal Military Police, Robert Galbraith was attached to the SIB (Special Investigative Branch), the plain-clothes branch of the RMP. He left the military in 2003 and has been working since then in the civilian security industry. The idea for Cormoran Strike grew directly out of his own experiences and those of his military friends who returned to the civilian world. ‘Robert Galbraith’ is a pseudonym.In other words, this bio gives her attributes, experience, and inspirations that she didn't have, including the experience of being a man. Because we all know only men can write decent mysteries. Unless you're PD James. Or Agatha Christie. Or any of these women. Even so, certainly no self-respecting male reader is going to read a mystery by a
Rowling's manufactured history for her pseudonym has broken an unspoken contract between authors and readers; not one authors have asked for, but one we have nonetheless--one of friendship and honesty and a degree of openness. And in this "new era", I wonder that the pseudonym's time for demise may have come. Jo Rowlings and her "team", in all their marketing wisdom, may well have just pushed that time along.
The Internet Age, which should be called the Exposure Age, has brought the world closer to itself. Expectation from fandom is changing. Readers like to know their favorite authors. They friend us on Facebook and chat to us on Twitter. (I sure as hell squee over my favorite authors when they friend me! Don't you?) Readers like to know some of the stuff that makes writers tick, the stuff that makes us write the books we do. Do we embellish ourselves sometimes online and in person to make us more interesting? Sure. Does that give us a right to use well-crafted lies in a bio and a knifeless sex-change operation to give us the street cred to tell and selll our tales? Resoundingly, hell no.*
Rowling's "persona" could foster mistrust between readers and authors, especially on the heels of the sock puppet scandal and ongoing issues with Amazon reviews, an act like this could make readers think writers will do and say anything to part them from their cash.
We already lie for a living. Unfortunately, I guess some writers don't see it as too much of a leap to do it for realz.
* As an aside, this bothers me too. No one is more uniquely qualified to tell the story you want to tell than you. We lose sight of that, man, we lose sight of art.