Thanks for being here today, Gail. Would you please share a short bio about yourself?
Thanks for inviting me!!!! Okay, I’m one of those people who knew from an early age that I wanted to be a writer. It was the only thing I ever wanted to be, although I fell into teaching along the way and spent a lot of years as a high school Spanish and E.S.L. teacher. Once I started actively working toward publication, it took me twelve years to sell a book, so I wasn’t exactly an overnight success
Q Do you consider yourself a shy and/or introverted person?
A I’m not shy, but I am definitely introverted. I don’t mind public speaking, for example, which comes in handy in the classroom. But heading into a cocktail party where I don’t know people fills me with dread.
Q In what ways has being shy or introverted hindered your writing career?
A Being introverted makes it hard to feel relaxed and network at conferences. I also have trouble remembering names and faces, so I’ve made some gaffes over the years. Fortunately my husband understands this about me, so I rely on him to whisper reminders when he’s around. I really prefer to have an in-depth conversation with someone rather than a short, superficial chat, so I don’t consider this a flaw, just not a useful trait for networking.
Q In what ways has being shy or introverted helped your writing career?
A I don’t know that being an introvert has helped me in any way, except that I don’t mind sitting at my computer all day, and I rarely feel lonely. The advent of email and social media has also been a boon because I can feel connected without having to actually go anywhere.
Q What’s the hardest part of this business for you?
A The hardest part of this business for me is maintaining my perspective and not comparing my career path to others. For every success I’ve had, I’ve probably had five set-backs that most people don’t know about. I’ve had more rejections after that first sale than I did before it. I’ve had to learn that my career will unfold the way it’s supposed to, and success will either come or it won’t, so there’s no point comparing myself to anyone else. All I can do is work hard, write the best books I can, and let life happen.
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 Okay, this was really embarrassing. We were living in the Bahamas, and my husband was the Coast Guard Liaison Officer at the U.S. Embassy, so we got invited to all the State Department events. One day we were invited to a reception at the British High Commissioner’s residence. Usually at these events I would corner one person I knew and spend the evening with them -- typical introverted behavior. So this time I decided I was going to do something different, really reach out and go beyond my comfort zone. I was going to make an attempt to meet new people and mingle.
We arrived at the British High Commissioner’s residence. My husband started speaking to someone he knew, and I spotted two Bahamian couples standing nearby, chatting. So I took a deep breath, walked over, and introduced myself. And... They snubbed me! They were total snobs. They looked me over as if I were a cockroach, and then turned their backs on me. I was mortified and offended. I slunk back to my husband and didn’t leave his side for the rest of the night.
Q What’s one tip you could share with shy and introverted people that’s helped you?
A You want tips from me after the above anecdote? Seriously, smile and take solace in the fact that the majority of writers are introverts, and that no matter how outgoing they might look, most of them are suffering the same angst you are.
Q Would you please share a short blurb of your book and where my readers can buy it?
A Here is the back cover blurb for Meltdown, the book that has finaled in the Rita:
With terrorists hot on her heels, nuclear chemist Zoe Wilkinson races to elude capture. The last person she expects help from is her ex-boyfriend Cooper Kennedy. But when their plane crashes, stranding them in the desert, the stifling heat pales in comparison to the scorching desire Zoe still feels...
On undercover assignment for the navy, Coop can’t believe the woman who ruined his life is back. Zoe’s always been trouble. And nothing’s changed -- not even the consuming lust she sets off in him. But when Zoe’s kidnapped, Coop must race against the clock to protect the woman he loves.
You can buy it online (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.).
Q Where can my readers find you on the web?
A At my website, Facebook and Twitter.
Thanks for the great interview, Gail. I love hearing stories of writers who persevered for years before selling (me, too!).