Alan Conrad is me, though Alan Conrad is not my original name.
During my last years investigating accidents and personal injury claims, when I was about to publish The Birdcatcher, a book that reveals some of the dark side of the personal injury business, I had to use a pen name to keep a lower profile in that industry. I worked then only on temporary contracts and I needed each of them.
But I’m retired now, so you might think I would abandon Alan Conrad and write under my ‘real’ name.
Well, in the same way that Eric Blair grew to like being George Orwell, I’ve begun to like being Alan Conrad.
Why Conrad? When I read Joseph Conrad’s short novel Youth in high school, that enchanting story of young first mate Marlow on his first journey the the Far East, I not only wanted to travel across the world like him, but I realized for the first time that I wanted to write.
I read all Conrad’s books, including the famous Heart of Darkness, inspiration for Francis Ford Coppola’s film Apocalypse Now. Conrad showed me that my own different perspective on this world was authentic.
But Conrad didn’t only do that. I learned to see through his eyes. He taught me how to write. From the start, with the SF stories I began writing in 1969. he was always there, looking over my shoulder. Through the years he was my guide, my inspiration, my constant companion and advisor.
He too, by the way, wrote under a pen name. His birth name was Jozef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski.
And so, when it occurred to me one day that the books of Alan Conrad might one day sit side by side with those of Joseph Conrad on the shelves of public libraries, that clinched it. I was Alan Conrad.