They say that a criminal always returns to the scene of the crime. I'm no criminal (at least, I hope not) but I do have a confession to make, and here it is:
In the immortal phrase I have been rather economical with the truth when it comes to my various noms de plume. Yes, that's in the plural. I have contributed stories to the HDM board on FF.NET under three different names - Jopari, Daisy and Ceres Wunderkind.
Jopari was the first name I used, and my first attempt at writing fan fiction or, indeed, fiction of any kind. I think the Jopari stories were always a little off-beam. They only ever appealed to a narrow readership and alienated many by (intentionally) not putting Philip Pullman's major characters in centre stage. As a result, they were reviewed less and less as I went along, until eventually nobody was (or so it seemed) paying any attention to them at all.
My response was to write the two Daisy stories - The Knife Of Destiny and Lyra Goes On Holiday. Oh my! What a torrent of invective fell on poor Daisy's head! So many expert, wise and worthy critics, so ready to put the boot into a writer! How dare Daisy be American! (I'm not) How dare she do what so many of her fiercest critics had not done! Write a story, that is, and publish it. Yes - I'm pointing at you, Corona.
If you were one of the reviewers who genuinely tried to help and guide and be kind to Daisy, please accept my apologies. If you were one of the stuck-up sods who was too stupid to Google for the name of Daisy Ashford and learn that she was originally the eight-year-old author of The Young Visiters, then shame on you! Learn to think before you post next time.
It was a fun prank, all the same, wasn't it?
Yes, I was Emma Ashford too and also Ceres Wunderkind, the voice of reason, and I decided that Ceres had better put her pen where her mouth was, so to speak, and do some writing of her own. The five stories I hope you have read were the outcome of that decision. When I look back at them now, I wince occasionally at some of the awkwardnesses of plot (I made the stories up as I went along) and the clumsy expressions that pop up from time to time (or more often than that, perhaps). But, all in all, I'm quietly proud of what I did and I think I have learned from the experience of writing these tales. Primarily, to write stuff that people actually want to read...
If I ever do write another story set in the HDM universe I may, or may not, use one of my existing pen-names. I may invent a new one, or quietly disappear. Until then, farewell,
Ceres Wunderkind, October 2002