Friday, May 27, 2011

Q&A with MIMI BARBOUR

Thanks for being here today, Mimi. Would you please share a short bio about yourself?
Thanks so much for having me Rebecca. I wanted to tell your readers how I came to be invited on this blog. The story goes – Rebecca and I sat next to each other at a convention workshop in Seattle, and got to chatting like authors tend to do during the intermissions at these presentations. She was so sweet and invited me to contact her when my new release came due as she wanted to support me.


Rebecca, I thought that was incredibly nice and just wanted you and your readers to know how very much I appreciated your offer. (It's certainly not hard to be nice to Mimi. She's a sweetheart and very easy to talk to.)

Bio: Mimi Barbour lives on the beautiful west coast on Vancouver Island and writes her spirit/travel romances with tongue in cheek and a mad glint in her eye. Asked why she prefers paranormal, she answers - chuckling.


“Because it’s fun! Imagination can be a lot more interesting than what happens in real life to so-called normal people. I love my characters, and my goal is to make the readers love them also. To care about what happens to them while the story unfolds. If I can steal my booklover’s attention away from their every-day grind, absorb them into a humorous fantasy, and make them care about the ending, then I’ve done my job.”


Q Do you consider yourself a shy and/or introverted person?


A Nope – not even a little. One day at church, they were doing the Myers-Briggs testing on a bunch of parishioners, and I had to go to the far end of the line for being the one most extraverted. Not sure if that’s a good thing or not!!!


Q That's a great thing. I wish some of that would rub off on me. :) So, what’s the hardest part of this business for you?


A The hardest part…hmmm!


I love the writing. To create the characters and take them from their everyday lives, put them in crazy situations where they meet and fall in love, torture them along the way, and then – finally – let them have their happy endings.


I love the networking and meeting new people both online and in person. Authors are wonderful, warm and caring folks who are only too happy to give a helping hand and answer any questions they can. (Prime example - how sweet you were to me in Seattle.)


I love being a member of the local RWA and various writing groups I’ve joined. By working closely with others who care about the same things I do, it’s opened up a whole new world for me.


But, I dread the time I have to spend on promoting the books. It takes me away from what I love to do best, and that’s write. Marketing is like a whole new career. One that I don’t understand very well, and I’m not too good at. And one that you can never be sure whether you're wasting your time or not. Maybe a publicist would know how to keep track of the increased traffic to the website because of certain blogs or tweets, etc. Me, I have no idea. I just flounder around and try to do whatever seems to be the best choice for my time and my dollars. The only positive seems to be that from when the first book of the Vicarage Bench Series was released called She’s Me to this latest novel Together Again, which is the fourth in the series, I’ve learnt more than I ever thought possible. It’s amazing how new information keeps on coming faster than I can follow it up. I wonder sometimes why come my ole brain doesn’t self-destruct.


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 Well, not too long ago a BFF who belongs to the Toastmasters invited me to come visit her and speak for her group and tell them about my experiences in becoming a multi-published author. Believing she was talking about a small group of 6 or 7 people, and that we’d be sitting around her living room drinking wine and visiting, I said sure. Turns out she wanted to get a certain certificate, and to do so, she needed to organize an evening community event. Next thing I knew, I’d promised to give a 30 minute talk about my journey from Little Miss Homemaker, to author of The Vicarage Bench Series. And do a reading from one of my books.


Posters went up all over town and my fingernails began to disappear. Sleep became a thing of the past, and I had to buy a larger bottle of Gaviscon. Talk about being scared – I’d never done anything like this before. I worried it to death until one evening, I gave myself a good talking to. What doesn’t kill only makes you stronger, I said. Grow up, I added. It’ll be over before you know it. Then I came up with a great solution.


I decided that as soon as the evening started, I would introduce myself to as many folks as I could before I had to start talking. That way it would be more like an evening with friends rather than with strangers. Worked like a hot damn! Once I got up in front of the crowd, I had them laughing within a few minutes, and from then on – no problem. Ended up, there were about 35-40 people that night and a good handful were men. Sold every book I’d brought with me, and answered questions for at least a half an hour afterwards. Turned out to be such a great success that I’m hoping to do the same for the Toastmaster group in my own area. Go figure!!


Q What’s one tip you could share with shy and introverted people that’s helped you?


Since I’ve pretty well scotched the idea of any shyness about my personality whatsoever, I guess I can’t speak from experience. Only from what seems to work for some of my friends. Whether you’re shy or not, get out there as much as you can. Join the local chapter of RWA. Go to workshops and conferences. The more often you do, the more people you’ll meet. As it happens, many are like me who’ll start up conversations with you. It’s also imperative to get on the various loops and join lots of writers communities such as Goodreads and Savvy Authors to name a couple. Get involved. It’s probably easier for you when it’s not in person anyway. Remember, once your book is released, you’ll be faced with the promo work also. And if you’ve kept to yourself, it’ll be hell trying to get both you and your book out at the same time.


Q Where can my readers find you on the web?


A I really enjoy having visitors to my website, so please check in at http://www.mimibarbour.com/ and join my newsletter for a chance to win a free copy of my latest release.


Or follow me on Twitter. Or on Facebook 


Hugs…Mimi


Mimi, thanks so much for your awesome advice to us introverts!









22 comments:

  1. Hi Rebecca,
    Glad to be here...and thanks for calling me a sweetheart...it made me smile.
    xo Mimi

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  2. Hi Mimi and Rebecca!

    I am so very thankful for extroverts like Mimi! Every group of introverts--like me--needs at least one to get the ball rolling. : )Like Rebecca, I wish some of it would rub of on me.

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  3. Hi Lynne,
    You do know that opposites attract...therefore us extroverts really like to be with introverts, it gives us someone we can relax with and not have to compete. So, therefore, you're very important.
    xo Mimi

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  4. Good post - as an introvert at times/extrovert at others - I bounce from friendly to scared ___less. Takes a couple of times at a place before I can settle down and enjoy myself, but at work - the extrovert comes out. I've never been to a workshop or anything and I'd really love to go. Was all set for Mayhem in the Grove and then it was canceled this year. Sheesh.

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  5. I have no problem speaking in front of a crowd. My problem is writing online. I'm dyslexic and don't see half my mistakes. I want to teach online classes but it terrifies me to look stupid by having errors in the replies. I can get my critique to check the lesson but I can't do that with comments. Any thoughts?

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  6. Sorry to be a day late and a dollar short, but I wanted to pop in and tell Mimi I enjoyed her outgoing personality. It came shining through on the web. And thanks for encouraging us naturally introverted folks. one-on-one with the computer is easy - talking to toastmasters? I'd die!

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  8. Hi P.L.
    You're one of the lucky ones. Kinda like a swinger - in the best possible sense...lol! If you ever get a chance to go to the RWA Nationals it's fantastic. You'd love it! I went a few years ago when it was in Washington and came back having made some really good friends - we still correspond today.

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  9. Hi Pat,
    Whoa...your problem is different than most but as annoying, I'm sure. My husband is slightly dyslexic also, but he gets around it by using the spellcheck constantly and has someone go over the work for him. It's annoying for him as it must be for you. He's figured out that he mostly has a problem with certain words...or spelling of words and is very careful when he uses them. I wonder if there's courses you can take where they can teach you how to overcome? They help the children at the schools to deal with the issue I would think...so....??

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  10. Hi Lynne,
    Thanks so much for popping in...and to give me a compliment??? You can pop in on me anytime, my dear xo

    Also to remind you - in life there's the yin and the yang. So let's say I'm the yin -an extroverted, nuttier that a hoot owl, gigglepuss and you're my yang friend - reserved, shy, but sincerely nice...what a team we make!!

    See what I mean.....the world needs both!!

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  11. Yes, Mimi, that's pretty much what I do also. Spell check is a god send for us and like you husband, I have certain words I just can't type. I've memorized the spelling and the keyboard, but my brain doesn't send the right info to my fingers. Sometimes I just laugh at it becasue at my age what else can you do. I still may try the online course teaching thing one of these days.

    I might check into the school angle. Thanks.

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  12. Hi Mimi and Rebecca. I'm more the introvert than extravert but I'm a good bluffer. Once I get myself out the door and in company I'm fine. Although I do love the internet for being able to interact without having to get out the door! The whole marketing thing is huge, but I've learnt so much over the past year and really enjoyed it. Learning how to make it less time-consuming has been tricky but I'm better at putting aside slots of time these days for Tweeting, blogging etc. Thanks for a lovely interview!

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  13. Great interview. Rebecca, I can relate to you. I'm an introverted writer myself. Mimi, your work sounds so interesting. -laura

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  14. I hope it's not too late to leave a comment. Mimi I enjoyed your interview with Becky. You're both successful authors. I was a shy person when I was young, but I bought many books on how to be outgoing and assertive. Still I have a lot of problem handling chats, although I don't mind talking in public. Promotion is a nightmare for me.
    www.monarisk.com

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  15. Hi Mimi,

    Thanks for your words of wisdom! I have such a terrible time with talking to people. I am naturally very shy and still have mini panic attacks in public, though thankfully I can usually hide it enough that most people don't notice. :) I've been trying to "get out there" more often for the last few years, and I find as I do, it's not only getting easier but is becoming fun! Bonus!

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  16. Hi Pat,
    Whaddya meanat your age. Us golden girls have it made...lots of time to write the newest bestseller and the wisdom to realize it's the fun we get in writing it that really counts.
    Let me know when you begin that workshop...I want to sign up!!!
    xo Mimi

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  17. Hi Leigh,

    Bluffing?? My husband is a bluffer - works in all kinds of ways, an invaluable talent. Gets him out of lots of honey-do's, the sneaky devil!
    You are so right about the marketing and social networking. I have to be sooo very careful. I'm as much an extrovert online as I am off, and I can waste huge slots of time just corresponding with friends and readers. Then I look at the clock and screech - where the heck did the time go?? When I'm into writing seriously...that's the first thing I do in the morning. Whatever time there's left over, then I can play!!!
    xo Mimi

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  18. Hi Laura,
    Thanks for stopping by and commenting. It was very sweet of you - but as I've noticed over the years, introverts are that way usually.
    xo Mimi

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  19. Hi Mona,
    I never thought about a person studying on how to overcome something they can't help. I guess I thought of it as the same as blue eyes versus brown, or red hair versus blonde. But I guess if it stands in the way of what a person wants, then of course it's something that can be changed. There must be certain tricks for doing so. Some, I suspect, that are better than others. I'd love to know what you found the most successful??
    You have a problem with chats but can talk in public - maybe the chat gets too close and personal??? That is so interesting. And I can understand where promotion would a nightmare for you. I'm so glad you visited with us today. It is a form of getting out there. See, I'll remember you!!
    xo Mimi

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  20. Hi Angela,
    Since I know you personally, I realized right off that you were shy. But...having something you care about as much as your wonderful YA books must have helped you overcome.

    http://www.angeladorsey.com/writing.html

    I just checked your website and found that you've written many wonderful stories. So, maybe when a person is shy and doesn't say too much about how they feel or what they think, it has a way of getting expressed in what they write.
    See you at the VIC-RWA meeting in June.
    xo Mimi

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  21. I totally understand how hard it is to promote your books...It is a tough job that definitely takes a lot of time from writing. It frustrates me too.

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  22. I have always been shy...I think all writers are shy, more or less. Writing is our way to communicate with others more effectively in a way that we wouldn't be able to otherwise.

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