This site, my twitter (@vmcooney), and my signature all read “VM” Cooney. However, my byline – and the name I most frequently respond to – is “Tory.” The reason for this is a compromise made by my parents over two decades ago.
The story goes that my father wanted to name all of his children after influential British monarchs: in my brother’s case, William the Conquerer, and in mine, Victoria. My mother, however, claims that she named my brother after a family friend and wanted to name me after her favorite author, childhood psychologist and non-fiction writer Torey L. Hayden.
As a result, I was named “Victoria” but called “Tory.” No one knows exactly where the change in spelling came from, though it’s been suggested my father was amused at the idea of abbreviating “Victoria” to “Tory,” given The Bedchamber Crisis of 1839, or that he had only seen the word “Tory” in a historical/political context. He simply claims that his only concern was preventing me from ever using a heart to dot the “i” of the more common “Tori.”
Regardless, I now pay homage to both: one in my initials and the other in common use.