The customs officer looked up and shrugged. No, really, he truly looked apologetic. “I’m sorry,” he said, “But I have to send you to immigration. There’s a Michael McPherson with the same birth date wanted by the US police.” He wouldn’t elaborate.
The last thing I wanted after a cramped plane flight was to line up at immigration in order to get back into my own country, and luckily I was pushed to the front of the line by the security guard because of my Canadian passport. Membership has its privileges.
The immigration officer was just as baffled and called his manager, who stated that it was a long shot hit. They let me go. That was my first clue that there are just too many Michael McPhersons.
But it gets weirder. I decided to go with Michael A. McPherson as my author name, but yesterday I read his obituary. For the family’s sake I won’t link to it, but safe to say he’s African-American and from the south. He was pretty close to my age too. Eerie.
Another Google result turned up a university professor named Michael S. McPherson, which is too close in the search to Michael A. McPherson, and because he has several published books it could cause a little confusion.
So how about M.A. McPherson? Just forget the first name. Then I discovered that there’s a poet, again of African-American heritage, who goes by Kuwme M. A. McPherson. That’s going to cause a lot of confusion, because I’m definitely not a poet. Even my mother laughed out loud at one of my poems. It wasn’t meant to be funny.
So I’ve decided to re-brand as Michael Andre McPherson, using the full middle name. A quick check of my birth certificate and passport show that I don’t need to worry about the accent over the last “e” in Andre, although I was taught to use it as a kid.
And since I’m re-branding: notice I’ve changed the name of the blog? That’s where I’m going. No more blind submissions to busy agents. I’ll stand or fall on my e-book sales. Besides, I really like the domain name.