I asked for questions, and you came up with some great ones! This is the last one…
Exhibit A: My father-in-law read my teen love story. I think it was the first romance he had ever read.
Exhibit B: My mother-in-law isn’t a big reader. She gave me this bag instead (aw, isn’t she cool?)
Them: “How’s the writing going?”
Me: “Good! Really good. I’m working on the new teen novel. Also drinking tea.”
Them: “Uh, ok. Cool. Do you write at Starbucks?”
Me: “I’m trying to rewrite the opening, but I just can’t find the exact subplot I need to carry it to the Inciting Incident. I mean, I know that it has to matter to my MC, something vital to her character and that gives her a choice to make, so I can totally SHOW her reaction, but I’m just not clear yet on what would really hook and compel the reader forward.”
Him: “Uh, ok. Cool. Do you want to go to Starbucks?”
When people first find out I’m a writer, it usually goes something like this…
Dental Hygienist (chatting me up): “So do you work?”
Me (wondering when the dentist is going to show up): “Well, sort of. I’m a writer. I don’t make much money, but it is a lot of work.”
DH: “Really? Wow! That’s cool.”
Me: “Yeah, I like it.”
DH: “What do you write?”
Me: “Books for kids and teens. My first novel came out last summer. It’s a teen love story.”
DH: “No way! I have a niece who’s a teenager! She would totally love that!”
Me: “Here, you can see if she’d like it.” (hands her a postcard of the book)
DH(looking over the postcard): “Can I keep this?”
Me: “Sure. I hope she likes it.”
DH: “She’ll be so excited! I’ll tell her I met a real live author!”
I’m stunned that people think it’s a big deal, but they do. Which is awesome. Most people that know me and my background as a scientist/engineer/elected official are surprised to find I write at all. But once they do, they’re surprised I write anything other than science fiction! But writing for kids seems to make sense to them, since my public life on the school board and my private life as a mom all rotate around kids.
I’ll admit that it helps to have a book they can hold in their hands. I didn’t actually come out as a writer (like it’s something to hide!) until I started to get serious about it. But even before I had a book under contract, the reactions were about the same. People thought it was vaguely cool, and then wanted to talk about something else.
Which is fine with me. But I can’t imagine writing in a time when I didn’t have access to some of the finest writer-friends via the interwebs. I am sure that I would never have made it this far.