When my cousin Donna got her very own bedroom (room addition) on her 16th birthday, she set aside one wall for people to write anything that they wanted to on it. So, at her birthday party, she invited me (I was 15 at the time) to write on her wall. After a little pause to think about it, I drew stairways and wrote a prose.
Less than a half hour after I did that, my aunt Marie, who was also attending the party found me and asked me “do you know what you did?!” I thought she was mad at me for doing something wrong! Come to find out my aunt Marie was an awesome poet, she had seen my prose and I really didn’t know what I did.
After that, I found out that I had two uncles that were also poets, so I wound up with three mentors who all agreed that I HAD TO find a pen name as ALL writers have pen names.
It wasn’t till a year and a half later that I found my perfect pen name. My Uncle Dave who hadn’t seen his family for seventeen years arrived in town. It was a rather special time of my life as I was nearly seventeen (only a couple weeks away).
For one of the family outings that we did together as a family, I saw “ILIA” and it seemed to be a perfect pen name for me, so I started using it. At the time, I didn’t know that 99.9% of writers have a first and last name as a pen name.
When I started painting, drawing and designing it was very natural for me to just sign my works with ILIA.