There are possibly a handful of people out there (in the area of 3-5) that both know my so-called "real" name, where I work, and where I live. Everybody else knows these things to varying degrees. My publishers know all this, of course, since it's legally pertinent.
I've recently encountered an attitude where people say they "respect" somebody more if the name they write under is their "real name". Using a pseudonym, is, according to these people, equivalent to cowardice.
There are several writers out there that put their faces on their websites. All power to them, if they are comfortable with it (I imagine some might not be but feel it's the "done thing"). All power also to writers who don't look anything like weavers of dark and majestic sexy novels, and still put their faces out there.
Within the last two weeks, I've acquired a second stalker (a first stalker reared her ugly head about three years ago and I'm pretty sure she's still out there somewhere, and quite possibly reading this), and another stalker/obsessive "fan" (and you guys know how much I hate the term "fan"). And I've also encountered some people that faced negative consequences because they allowed the wall between their "public" and "private" lives to be breached. Or breached it themselves, feeling they don't "need" the protection, or frankly trusting the wrong people.
There's even been a case of a publisher breaching that wall, as some person at a publisher outed the writer's "real persona" in public.
This here is another case of a romance author facing - potential very very serious - damage due to the stuff that she writes/has written.
We are *not* operating in a safe space.
Hence I am *not* going to conventions, don't give out my photo, don't do anything that attaches my face to my books (sorry, big hot shot agent/publisher, that means NO booktours and no signing), don't even give live interviews via radio/phone or anything else. If I meet readers, I meet them on my terms and after several years of personal correspondence, or if I know I can trust them. And even then I got burned.
I hope my colleague Judy Mays makes it out intact. I'm definitely keeping my fingers crossed for her.