I’ll admit some of these questions caught me unawares and cracked me up.
1. Do people recognize you on the street?
Uh, no. Honestly, I’m not a very “big” name, if you will. When I go walking down the street no one recognizes me. Even at the library, nobody recognizes me until the librarian sees the name on my library card and goes, “Oooh, I thought you looked familiar.” I just smile and nod. Occasionally I’ll go in there and drop of my newest release when it comes out, but any other time I go, it’s as a patron. Because I’m not known for my “face” like actors/actresses or singers and other musicians, I’m not recognizable out and about. Thank goodness.
2. How often do you do signings and meet-and-greets?
Not often. I am painfully shy. Painfully. I’d rather “meet-and-chat” behind the screen via Facebook or emails rather than meet readers in person. Why? I’m socially awkward and just plain weird. Once a year at RT and usually one or two other smaller conferences, I’ll attend and play the part, but it always makes me nervous.
3. A lot of time there is “mudslinging” between actors or singers or politicians, does that happen among writers?
Sometimes. In the scheme of things I haven’t been around that long involved in the writing community, but in the three years since my first book came out, I’ve seen enough to know that this does happen. It’s even happened to me. Many authors who start to gain success will become the target of this, but it’s not necessarily a public war like you see with celebrities. It’s usually pretty quiet and often takes the form of other aspiring authors or authors who write in the same genre but don’t sell as well criticizing a more successful author publicly–some even have the brass to do this on their personal blogs. I think the best way to deal with this whether you’re the author being attacked or the one who is jealous is to go channel your energy into writing another book. This is a lose-lose situation where both parities look bad. Just don’t go there.
4. Do you ever feel like, “This can’t be real? Somebody pinch me?!”
All the time. I’ve hit a lot of wonderful milestones these past three years from winning awards to making big lists, which are all wonderful and make me excited. But these things are few and far between. I’m not always on a bestseller list. I’m not always up for awards. However, on a daily basis, I am rendered speechless by emails from readers and even comments on Facebook or my blog. For a small-town girl who lost the “race” for middle-school newspaper reporter to a kid who still ate paste, that’s pretty amazing.
5. Does the pressure ever feel like too much?
Yes, and no. I thrive off pressure. Or so I used to. I wrote two 100,000 word books in the span of 30 days (with two kids at home) because I wanted to be able to submit them to a contest by a certain day. So “deadline” pressure is okay with me. But, the pressure that isn’t always easy is the pressure I put on myself: will this book be as fun/exciting/well-loved etc as the last. When I start to wonder these things, it make writing a bit more difficult.
6. Have you never had a moment where you felt like giving it all up and walking away?
Yes. Similarly to my previous answer, sometimes I am my own worst enemy (or biggest critic) and self-doubt can creep in, which makes it hard to press forward and just the thought of writing stories feel miserable.
7. If you could start over, how would you have established your name differently?
I don’t know that I would have. How I came “on the scene” worked for me and is still working for me. I don’t do a tremendous amount of paid advertising or strive to have a mega following on Facebook/Twitter, etc. My books were kind of found on their own and I wouldn’t change that.
8. Do social media work in your favor or against you?
That’s tough. On one hand, it’s a great medium to get to know my readers, share information, and just be seen between books so I’m not forgotten. At the same time, it can be a hinderance: Facebook is a time-suck in the worst way, you see this then you click that and you want to read this over here and before you know it an hour is gone. That really doesn’t do me any favors. How I was able to write so quickly pre-publishing was that’s all I did on the computer. I wasn’t maintaining websites, writing blog posts, Facebooking, etc. I sat and wrote.
9. On average, how many reader emails do you get a day?
Depends. When I have a new book come out, I usually get an influx for about a week. If it’s been a long time since I had a new release, I might go several days without getting anything. If it’s been an extremely long time since I had a release, I’ll start getting more, usually in the form of: When is X book coming out? On average though, I typically get about one to two per day. Not an overwhelming amount like some people, but just enough to make my day!
10. Do you keep all your reader emails?
Of course! Don’t you keep my responses?
11. Are you friends with all the other historical romance authors?
Not even close. Just like with every other area of life, there are people who are your friends, others who you just know in passing (professional, but not close relationship) and others you’ve heard their name, they’ve probably heard yours but that’s about it. As I mentioned before, I’m extremely shy and quiet. I don’t “friend” other authors online usually and I don’t have a lot of them clamoring to be my friend. I’m that quiet gal who you used to see sitting in the back of the cafeteria–the one who actually didn’t MIND sitting alone. Of course I do have a handful of fantastic writer friends–but as Edward Banks told Regina, I’d rather have one or two always friends than a thousand sometimes friends. I think if you start to look close at other authors you’ll notice the same trend. There are a handful they’re really close to as well as a “circle”, if you will, of acquaintances.