Who Is Samuel M. Key?

Well, unlike Richard Bachman or Leigh Nichols, Samuel M. Key is an actual entity existing apart from myself. Unfortunately, the separate identity he has is that of a stuffed toy-a small Steiff monkey that Iíve had since I was a child and who still bears the name Sam the Monkey (from which we get Samuel M. Key....).

Samís had a bit of a rough life. I carried him about in my pocket when I was a child and he went everywhere I went, losing most of his plush, gaining an ink stain from Iím not sure where, and generally doing his Velveteen Rabbit best to be real. In the years since then, heís managed to find his way into my baggage and accompany MaryAnn and I all over the world.

Iíve explained why I needed a pen name elsewhere. How I decided on Sam dates back to a long correspondence I had with the late Ron Nance, a dear friend of mine who used to insist that Sam (who has his own rolltop desk and writing paraphernalia in a little "office" on top of my rolltop desk in my office) actually wrote all my books. From there it was a small step further to MaryAnnís suggestion we let Sam have his own by-line.

And just to prove that we are, indeed, two separate beings, hereís a photo of the pair of us. Samís the smaller one, sitting on the cover flat of one of his books.

Photo copyright © by Beth Gwinn.

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