When my first book was published (Raven: The Call from Central), I opted for the name ‘Stephen E J Tomporowski’, first because it is my name, second to distinguish myself from another Steve Tomporowski.
The E is for Edward, my birth middle name while the J is for Joseph, which was a confirmation name. That name came in handy, because otherwise my initials would have spelled a word (SET) and caused confusion on documents. When initialing, I always use four initials, SEJT, not just because I want to be unique (don’t we all?) but to avoid the confusion of my initials with a word.
Now you would think that with a name like ‘Tomporowski’ it would be a cinch that I’d have a unique name. Nope, didn’t happen, but it only fell short by one similarity and the habit of search engines of making sure that Stephen, Steven and Steve are equivalent and all show up in the results.
And there’s the problem. There is a Steven M. Tomporowski out there, or rather in there, in jail. Here’s a link to one of the articles on him from 2004:
In short, Steven M. Tomporowski killed his parents and his uncle, and was convicted.
He got life in prison without hope of parole with the judge calling his crimes “vile, vicious, premeditated and cold-blooded”.
Needless to say, that’s not me and you can understand that I really want to distance myself from this guy with a similar name.
Apparently this guy was also a stand-up comedian of the foul-mouthed kind, probably just a local Illinois phenomenon. I had originally thought that there were two of them out there that I needed to be disassociated from. Subsequently I found out that the killer and the comedian were the same person. Phew!
In a bit of irony, once I was contacted by this guy via email. He was probably 11 or 12 at the time and as you would have guessed (this was the mid-90’s), his email was via AOL and in all caps.