Friday, September 3, 2010

A Shy Extrovert

Please help me welcome debut paranormal romance author Renee Rearden to the blog. Renee's first book, Moonlight Bleu, is available now.

Shy extrovert. Sounds like a contradiction of terms, doesn’t it? I used to think so. Until I stopped and considered my chosen careers: official court reporter by day and paranormal romance author by night.

Though both careers require contact with others, for the most part I am my own boss. And therein lays the rub. I work around people instead of for people. Is there a difference?

Absolutely.

Whether you are a secretary in a business office, a sales clerk in a retail store, a food server or even a local bus or taxi driver, a certain level of interaction with people is required. Mastering the skill of social interaction that allows for successful business relationships is necessary. (We won’t even factor in personal relationships—there’s limited word space here!) And though a large percentage of individuals have a “boss,” most job descriptions include an aspect of working for the public: the consumer, the customer, the right there in-your-face live (and usually quite vocal) person.

“Where is this going?” you ask.

Let me explain.

My job as a court reporter is really a step removed from dealing with the public. I sit in a courtroom, stenographically writing down every word said. I rarely speak in court. (My friends would say I never stop talking—but that’s the extrovert element, and we’re not there yet!) For the most part, at my job I’m a piece of educated furniture. Outside of court proceedings, I mostly deal with people by email and telephone. I also prepare transcripts of court proceedings and timely file them. All of this is done utilizing my professional, written verbiage skills.

I work around people.

Writing my first paranormal romance landed me in my home office. Alone. With the door closed. Not even on the “social skills required” playing field. Wasn’t a problem during the creation stage of the novel. Happily, I lived in my head, transferring characters and story onto paper. With the help of an amazing critique partner, and after rewrites, edits, more rewrites and more edits (and close to 100 rejections), I landed a publisher.

Thought I’d done the hard work getting to that point. WRONG!

Promoting a novel is where the hard work really begins because that requires mad social skills. Talking about yourself and your book must become second nature. For an extrovert, that probably isn’t a daunting challenge. For an introvert—well, let’s just say a root canal would probably be less painful. For a shy extrovert, I’m somewhere in between.

Remember I mentioned my friends say I talk—a lot? I do. Just not about myself. I love talking about my friends and their accomplishments, the newest paranormal television series, and, of course, the latest book I’ve read. Unfortunately, none of that helps me get over my discomfort in talking about myself or my novel.

I love being around people. I’m not so thrilled at being the center of attention. And now that I have to promote my work, being the center of attention is not something I can avoid.

So, how do I deal with being a shy extrovert?

Humor. And lots of it. I’ve learned to break the ice with some snippet of amusing conversation—usually an ungraceful moment of my own. People relate, and then offer up some of their own embarrassing moments. ViolĂ ! Instant rapport, and everyone else does most of the talking. And during the ensuing conversation, openings present themselves to talk about my book, characters, or even myself.
Stepping beyond my comfort zone hasn’t been comfortable, but I’ve done it. And I’ll keep doing it because not only do I love to write, the people I’ve met and the stories I’ve heard have been downright interesting. Every time I walk into a light pole while looking the other direction or roll my ankle like a drunk wearing a new pair of heels, I remind myself, “That’s going to make somebody laugh!”

Renee Rearden works full time as an Official Court Reporter, sharpening her skills on the written word. Often described as a free spirit, she lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family. In addition to her day job, being a wife, mother of four daughters, and grandmother to the most amazing little guy on the face of the planet keeps her plenty busy…most of the time.
As a Gemini, her creative side fills the rest of her spare time, keeping her mind immersed in imaginative escapism. Writing paranormal romance and urban fantasy novels offers an outlet for her to share the intriguing stories she creates. Each of them is filled with non-stop action, nail-biting conflict, and scintillating attraction between the people that live in her head.


2007 Golden Rose winner in the paranormal category (MOONLIGHT BLEU)
2007 Stella Cameron Scarlet Boa winner (MOONLIGHT BLEU)


You can learn more about Renee on her website, Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.

6 comments:

  1. Humor works for you!

    I wonder how many writers have a similar day job that keeps them around people, but one step removed. Never thought about it before, but it's a good fit.

    Good luck with Moonlight Bleu - can't wait to read my copy!

    Cathy

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  2. An interesting question, Cathy. Might be one of the reasons writers choose such a career! Thank you for stopping by. =D

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  3. Renee, thanks so much for coming on today. Great post. I can't wait to someday meet you in person. And hi to Cathy, too!

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  4. Hi Renee,
    Boy, do I relate. I love sitting in my little room writing. The promo part? Not so much. But, it has to be done. Great post!
    Marilee Brothers

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  5. Thanks, Marilee. I appreciate you stopping by! =D

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  6. Renee, love the 'shy extrovert'. I've had jobs in offices where I had to converse with people, but it wasn't easy. Love your book cover.

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