Yes, I can see how you might be a bit confused. Don’t panic. I can explain.
Okay, so, my name is Anne-Mhairi Simpson. If you found me via Facebook, or if you’ve known me since before 2011, that’s what you know me as. This is because I’ve had my Facebook account for way longer than I’ve been writing novels.
(Not longer than I’ve been writing stories, though. That’s something entirely different.)
If you found me via Twitter or something I published, you probably think I’m Mhairi Simpson, and I am.
The ‘Mhairi’ part is Scottish, by the way. It’s pronounced VAA-ree. Not so hard once you know. Typing it’s a bit harder, lots of vowels to get straight. Anyway, to get back to my point…
The truth is, I’m a bit of a weirdo.
Okay, a lot of a weirdo.
Anyway, I love my name but I hate hate HATE being called ‘Anne’. I have nothing against the name in itself but just not for me. ‘Anne-Mhairi’ is fine. ‘AM’ is fine. ‘AnnieMaryLizzie’ is fine, if you’re my mother. (If you’re not, forget it.)
‘Anne’, however, is not.
Now, this is all well and good. Most people have some preference or other about their name, but when people see ‘Anne-Mhairi’ on the screen or a name badge or whatever else, a couple of problems arise. Firstly, it’s not a terribly common name outside Scotland so most people don’t know how to pronounce the ‘Mhairi’ part. Unfortunately, this tends to result in them just not trying. Can you guess what happens next?
Yup. They call me ‘Anne’.
My eyes turn white. My head spins around. Smoke comes out of my ears. Apparently it’s quite scary.
(Note to the general public: Don’t call me ‘Anne’.)
The second problem is, funnily enough, that when people see ‘Anne-Mhairi’ online, they frequently get lazy. Even though they can see it written out clearly in front of them, they just can’t be bothered to type it all out. So they call me ‘Anne’.
My eyes turn white, etc, etc.
In order to discourage laziness and to encourage people to at least take a shot at the difficult part of my name, I chopped the ‘Anne’ off for my pen name. So I write and publish and sometimes even edit as ‘Mhairi Simpson’. If you’ve been introduced to me since 2011, you probably know me as ‘Mhairi Simpson’. And that’s fine. You may also know me as ‘Anne-Mhairi Simpson’ and that’s fine too. Other acceptable names are ‘You’, ‘Queen Bard’, ‘AM’, ‘Would You Like A Drink?’ and ‘Battle Chicken’.
Just don’t, for the love of all that’s good and pretty and kind, call me ‘Anne’.