Okay, you probably need more of an explanation than that. Kimberly McNeil is a pen name—a fictitious name for an author. Lots of authors have pen names for various reasons.
Ever heard of Mark Twain of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn fame? His real name was Samuel Clemens. How about Robert Galbraith? This one’s a little less well known, but if you’re a Harry Potter fan, you probably know. Yup. Robert Galbraith is a pen name of J.K. Rowling.
Every author has their own reasons or wanting to use a pen name. J.K. Rowling I can absolutely understand because of her success as a young adult fantasy author, when she wanted to write an adult mystery, I’m sure she worried no one would read it.
Why did I choose a pen name?
Here’s the thing. The first novels I had published were released under the name A.C. Williams. That’s me, Amy Christine. But one thing connected all those first novels—they were for grownups. Some of them were really seriously for grownups. Not that older teenagers can’t read them and enjoy them. Not that they’re so graphic none but adults should read them. But those books certainly deal with a lot of adult issues.
But that’s not what I started out writing. The very first novel I ever wrote was originally called The Mitchell Case. I was 11 years old, and I scribbled it in a one-subject notebook on a family vacation to Arkansas. That’s the series that gave me the dream of writing. That was the first book in the series that would become the Legend of the Lightkeepers.
When my publisher opted to publish that very first novel of mine (after it had undergone many many many revisions), we decided that publishing under my real name was a bad idea.
I didn’t want a middle grade or young teenager to pick up a book by A.C. Williams and expect it to be for their age group. I wanted people to learn to recognize the name Kimberly McNeil as a young adult author who specializes in fantastic worldbuilding, vibrant characters, and intricate storylines.
Why Kimberly McNeil?
This is the cool part. Kimberly McNeil is actually a character in the Legends of the Lightkeepers series.
So who is she?
I can give you the basics, but I can’t give away too much. Where’s the fun in that?
Kimberly McNeil is around 30. She’s a junior reporter with BBC Cumbria, and she lives in Carlisle, an old city in Northern England. But she isn’t English. She’s Scottish.
She grew up on her aunt’s farm in the Central Highlands, near the town of Balquhidder, but she left as soon as she could to attend the University of Edinburgh, where she got a communication degree.
She’s working to make a name for herself in Carlisle, but it’s difficult because her boss doesn’t really take her seriously. So to manage her stress levels, she spends most every night at the White Raven, a pub in the city center.
That’s where she meets a mysterious cloaked woman, who begins telling her a story. The woman has no name, and Kim only calls her the Storyteller. But the stories the woman tells are captivating and engaging on a level that Kim doesn’t expect, and before she knows it, she’s drawn into the world that the Storyteller is weaving.
The tale the Storyteller shares with Kim is what has become the Legend of the Lightkeepers. With every book in the Lightkeepers series, we get to learn a little more about Kim and the Storyteller, as well as the characters in the Storyteller’s tales.
The series is in no danger of ending anytime soon, but believe me that you want to get in on the action early. If you like complex plots with loads of characters and vivid worldbuilding, Lightkeepers is for you, and Meg Mitchell & The Secret of the Journal sets the stage.
So that’s who Kimberly McNeil is. She’s me. And if you want to support my writing but you’re not as interested in the grittier subject matter, the Lightkeeper series is your best bet.