I’ve had a few people ask me about my muse’s name. Is it made up? Is it based on anything? How do you pronounce it? Where did it come from? Why don’t you use your legal name to write under?
So I figured I’d take a few minutes and answer a few of those questions.
First up… yes, Elijana Kindel is a pen name. Reason why I chose it… was a personal reason. One that I don’t mind sharing. See, in a strange string of events (that did NOT always include marriage), the legal name of EK’s author has been changed a few times. And let me tell you, that seeing my entire name written out on my college diploma was… quite an eye opening (or perhaps squinting is a better way to describe it) experience. So it was decided by me that a pen name was the way to go for this muse-author partnership.
Elijana is pronounced (well, when I say it… it’s got a mix of North Carolina twang with a Virginia drawl) Ellie-Yan-Na. No, it isn’t a name that is used in my family, but… it fits for me and the muse. Especially when you consider that EK’s author has a nickname from a family member and has occasionally been called, Anastasia (and no that is NOT this author’s real legal name).
The last name Kindel… that one is derived from a family source and was added to pay tribute to a special person in my family. My grandmother–A.K.D. She was a special lady who taught me more than I ever realized while she was here. She’s greatly missed and–can I just say that, in hindsight, my grandmother was freaking amazing? When I think about the things she did and the battles she faced… wow.
I swear, there’s a part of me that fully believes that she was one of the primary reasons that Harlequin is the powerhouse it is today–because if you could have seen the number of books gracing the never ending supply of bookcases in the house–yikes! But besides that–during WWII, my grandmother joined the WACs (Women’s Auxillary Corps) and was stationed at the Pentagon while my grandfather was off in Europe doing his part keeping Patton and his communication lines open. LOL, and get this–After the end of WWII and my grandfather came home, he got out of the service and went to work as a contractor who worked on setting up satellite communications for the US. So after spending all that time apart, my grandmother settled down to raise her four daughters while her husband was down in Brazil helping them shoot satellites into space. Add to that that she stayed at home (no longer in the WAC, but working still for the DoD–this time with the Marine Corps) while my grandfather was shipped to Korea during the Korean conflict to watch over communication systems, then later he was sent to Vietnam to watch over and set up satellite systems… and wow. She retired with a whopping 40+ years service with the DoD. And then… as if she hadn’t already done enough. She went out and got herself another job. Just to keep her out of trouble and stop the boredom.
She was amazing. And I didn’t even mention the memory I have of her that day when my grandfather stood at the back of his pickup truck, with the tail gate down, and seized up with a heart attack. I swear I have never seen a flying woman before, but my grandmother flew across the yard and slammed into my grandfather. He fell back against the truck bed and she was on him, beating the ever loving shit out of his chest. It was amazing. Still is when I think about it. She saved his life. Period. End of story.
So yeah, there you have it. The background behind the derivation of my pen name.
Oh and one more interesting and two cool things–this time about my grandfather, E.G.D.. I found out after he had passed away that he’d been at the Battle of the Bulge. The military historian in me wishes that I’d known that when he’d still been in his right mind. But truth be told, he never talked about it. And having read about it–I get it.
Now for the cool things. When my grandfather spoke about his time in Vietnam during the conflict, he always used to get this smirk and say that where he was at was the safest place to be in the whole damn country. Why? LOL, because everyone wanted the satellite station. In one piece.
Second cool thing and something that has played with my writer’s imagination for years… my grandfather spoke multiple languages. Fluently. But only I knew this. See I grew up living in my grandparent’s house and my grandfather was retired and essentially my stay-at-home-mom by the time I reached elementary school. So he’s the one who taught me to cook, fix a motorcycle, get me interested in the Star Wars program. So when I reached the fifth grade and they offered an afterschool program that introduced us budding middle schoolers a taste of different languages (Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese)… my grandfather would pick me up after the class was over and then that’s when the fun began. Because he taught me how to enunciate and speak with a variety of different accents for the different dialects there are for those languages. He’d take me down to the game room and point out the countries on the huge wall map of the world that had been mounted there since long before I was born and show me the regions where the dialect I was practicing came from. But there was a catch to it. The foreign language fun stopped the moment another person showed up at the house. And I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone that he knew these languages. So it was our little secret. One that I didn’t share until after he passed away.
Now for the part that plays with my imagination… he was a communications specialist with Patton’s unit in WWII, he spoke multiple languages (including reading and writing in Russian), he spent the majority of his time after his Army career traveling the globe to setup satellite stations, and he spent the most time away down in Brazil (where a lot of Nazis fled at the end of WWII). And yeah, he didn’t even have a college degree (although I was told after he passed that he received an honorary one later in life). Truth was, he was just a farm boy raised on the banks of the Potomac who happened to have a knack for languages. So I have always wondered… could my grandfather have been a Nazi hunter? Hmmm, and what kind of story could I craft from that little gem of an idea?
LOL and that’s it from me today, boys and girls. Have a great day and… as always, happy musing!