Hi Tricia. Thanks so much for being here today. Would you please share a short bio about yourself?
Hi! Thanks for having me! I worked in a bookstore for 12 years (truly a dream job for any book-addict!) until the store closed due to company downsizing last year. Fortunately, I was able to take time to pursue my alternate dream job of romance author, and I’m quite comfortable with my current job title! I’ve written 2 paranormal romances published with The Wild Rose Press. I’m also the mother of 3 children between the ages of 5-years and 7-months (my true inspiration for pursing the career of my dreams!).
Q Do you consider yourself a shy and/or introverted person?
A Absolutely! I’m pretty sure my name is listed as a definition of shy in the dictionary. Even when I was young, I was a very quiet child. In school, I always did my work and never drew attention to myself. I imagine if I had a past life in Regency times, I could easily represent the typical ‘wallflower’ romance heroine. I often found myself standing on the sidelines observing the action going on around me.
Q In what ways has being shy or introverted hindered your writing career?
A I have a difficult time responding to people, even online. When I write an email to an editor or fan, I re-read the email at least a dozen times before I hit ‘send’. I’m so paranoid of saying the wrong thing. Even on Facebook, I analyze my status reports or the comments I post on my friends’ statuses because I’m fearful that my humor and sarcasm don’t translate well through text. This over-analyzing does take away from my writing time.
Q In what ways has being shy or introverted helped your writing career?
A My observation skills are much sharper than some other people I’ve known, since I spend a lot of time watching instead of interacting. I also analyze my writing to an almost obsessive degree, which I think helps when I’m editing and revising. And, in my childhood, since I sometimes found it difficult to socialize with other kids, I’d simply escape into a book. Without that literary exposure, I might not have chosen writing for a career.
Q What’s the hardest part of this business for you?
A Without a doubt–promotion. Modesty prohibits me to shower praise upon myself. Trying to sell myself as a brand, as well as my books, is very difficult if I lack confidence in my ability to communicate well with others. Perhaps I wouldn’t feel that way if I didn’t have my introvert personality. I’m filled with confidence, until I’m forced to speak with others. Then uncertainty and doubt creep in.
Q Tell me about a time that you had to step outside your comfort zone either in your writing career or in your personal life?
A Take a shy, introverted girl and place her in a highly demanding sales situation. Either she sells a product, or she’s fired from her job. My early days working in the bookstore were uncomfortable, to say the least. I loved my job (how could I not when I was surrounded by books!!), but my title of bookseller (note the ‘seller’ part of that word) suggested I had the ability to sell books as well as reading them. Who was I kidding? I loved shelving and scanning, but when it came to interacting with customers, I’d rather hide between the bookshelves. In those days, we had the bookstore membership discount card we were required to sell. As employees, our numbers were tracked by the company, and when I was faced with the possibility of losing my job rather than selling the product, I pushed out of my comfort zone. I refused to allow my shyness to dictate how I lived my life, and possibly lose my job, so I forced myself to become a ‘seller’. It rather became akin to acting. When I stepped into the store, I became Super-Bookseller, capable of selling wonderfully written books as well as pieces of plastic that offered 10% off. I stepped into the role and let my shyness remain at the door. My method worked so well that I went from part-time, to full-time, to Assistant Manager, AND I was offered the position of Manager 3 times! I did decline the offers only because the positions would have taken me out of the area where I lived.
Q What’s one tip you could share with shy and introverted people that’s helped you?
A As a child when my class performed a school play, my mother advised me to imagine the audience naked. I’m still not sure how that was supposed to help me become comfortable speaking in front of others. The thought of everyone with no clothes on makes me cringe. Unless, Hugh Jackman or Gerard Butler is a member of the audience. Then, I think I might adjust to the imagery fairly well. When I push myself into the spotlight, I realize that people in general are more self-conscious about themselves than they are about me. Any misstep I make won’t be noticed by anyone but myself. And I still use my acting skills, even in my role as author. I close my eyes and prepare myself to become Tricia Schneider, Romance Author-Extraordinaire!
Q Where can my readers find you on the web?
A I’m frequently on Facebook and GoodReads where I’m busy practicing social interaction with friends and fans. Stop by and let me practice my social skills on you!
My Website http://www.triciaschneider.com/