Tabitha Vohn is a pen name. Her creator is a certified bookworm, thanks to the countless fairy tales, Bible stories, and nursery rhymes she was read as a child, and the Gothic, Romantic, and Contemporary novels she enjoys today.

She has earned a B.A. in English and a M.A. in Teaching, and currently teaches high school English.

On Writing, Tabitha says, “I strive to write the type of stories that I enjoy reading. Ones that question those blurred lines between love and lust, between good and evil. Ones that make us question human nature while simultaneously seeing the beauty in it as well.”

Tabitha has published three novels–Requiem for the Fallen, Finding What Is, and Tomorrow Is a Long Time, (which received the AI Badge of Approval and B.R.A.G. Medallion)–and one volume of poetry, Only For a Moment. She is currently writing her fifth novel and is in the process of publishing her fourth novel (A Different Path) and second volume of poetry (Thin Places).

 

Why the Pen Name:

Man, wouldn’t the life of an authoress by easier if I wasn’t crouching behind a pen name? Yes and no. On the upside, I would be able to hit up all my friends, family, and co-workers for the free publicity. I wouldn’t always be worrying about my face in photos. I could vlog if I didn’t feel like blogging. And say that I actually write something that takes off: how will I ever do an interview or book signing and maintain anonymity?

Maybe I’m kidding myself. Maybe for those closest to me, it wouldn’t take long to deduce my true identity if they picked up a book ‘cause, let’s face it: pieces of a writer’s life inevitably end up in their writing. Regardless, there are two big issues that fuel me to keep my identify in the dark; both of them symptomatic of the same larger problem.

Two facets of my life demand the lie of perfection. One is my profession. As a teacher, I am expected to be sterile. Many of my students look at me as a mother-figure. They want to imagine that I am boring, chaste, prim, and maternal. They are the ones that are fascinated that I live an actual life outside the school walls. The other half love to fantasize that I am some lush, hippie stoner (I’m not) who’s having way more fun than they are. They are the ones that seem disappointed when I say that I spent a weekend going to rummage sales with my hubby or walking through the woods at my grandfather’s home. Regardless of which side of the coin I fall on with my students, the reigning expectation-from them, their parents, the administration, the community -is that I stand as a flawless, sterling example to be looked up to. Ok. Not necessarily a bad thing. If I were completely honest, I truly hope that I am a good model of what a successful, stable adult looks like. But God forbid I should ever be caught with a glass of wine in my hand, or be tagged in a photo of my family at the beach or, worse, publish a novel that’s not G-rated. See where I’m going with this? Maybe it’s different for teachers in urban environments; places like Chicago, L.A, or Brooklyn. I don’t know. But to be a public school teacher in a small country community puts me under a microscope and under the watchful eye of every Whinnie the Pooh-denim jumper-wearing mother with the private phone number of the principle in one hand and her fingers typing snappily to the local gossip rag on the other.

So there’s that, and then there’s the other aspect that is more difficult for me to write about. See, I am a Christ-follower. Quite devout actually. Quite resolute in my ideas of right and wrong. And quite at peace in my spirit about my relationship with God. I try to be the best emulation of his love, patience, and grace towards others as I can be, regardless of my personal shortcomings. But, as much as I love Christ, I’ve never gotten along well with His followers. That’s not to say that all Christ-followers have it wrong. In fact, my family (my mother and grandparents especially) have been models of what it means to be a follower of Christ, be loving and be human. And I’m happy to say that there’s been at least one church (out of the dozen or so that I’ve attended I my lifetime) that truly accepted me and treated me like family, the way that Christ wants His church to act. Sadly though, my experience with those other places has not been so stellar (and yet they all wonder why there are no butts in the seats). But hey, who wouldn’t  want to spend their time in a place full of judgmental people with a self-righteous agenda whose main goal is to turn the love of Christ into a legalistic list of rhetorical, religious bunk with a gotcha-God figure who waits, anticipating with glee, for the next opportunity to watch someone fall short just so He can toss them into a big fiery pit? (In case you didn’t pick up on it, that was not-so-heavily veiled sarcasm). Unfortunately, such has been the attitude of many Christians that I’ve met in my lifetime. Ones who viewed Christianity as a religion, not a relationship with God. Ones who missed the whole point: the idea is to love more and judge less!! Because of this, being a Christ-follower puts one under the radar both from within and without the community. I keep my real name disassociated from my writing because I’m not ready for those family members, friends of family, or colleagues of family who have been trained to be religious “dirty cops”, who would judge (not only me but my family members) harshly if they disapproved of what I write or how I choose to tell my stories of redemption.

So, at least for now, the pen name stays. And slowly, I’m choosing who and who not to reveal it to. Maybe someday I’ll no longer need it (though I doubt it). Until such time, I’m going to keep telling the stories that I want to tell, and hope that whoever reads them sees “purpose behind the poetry”. I put my characters through a rough time. I let them screw up and make bad choices. Sometimes the darkness is intoxicating-no duh! If it weren’t, everyone would be choosing the high road- and I don’t shy away from that. Moreover, I write it as I see and understand it. But I do so, so that my characters can find redemption, and so that they can learn to be good to themselves. I see my stories as cautionary tales, but ones with hope. That’s what I wish for my readers to take away from my stories. No matter how screwed up your life is or how many bad choices you’ve made, hope is only a good choice (and a prayer) away.