Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Q&A with author Gail Barrett


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 . Since that first sale, I’ve had seven books published with Harlequin, and three more are coming out within the next year. I currently write romantic suspense.

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!).


14 comments:

  1. Gail, What a great post! It hit so many true notes. It's amazing what goes on in writing careers that nobody else knows about. Wishing you all the best! Lavinia

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  2. Thanks, Lavinia. I think that's the biggest illusion we have, that once we sell, our careers will just take off. But in reality, most authors still continue to have rejections and other disappointments -- but no one really talks about that.

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  3. Your story of the Bahamian couples made me wince. Yikes. That's such a horrible feeling. You psyche yourself up, put yourself "out there" and...ouch.

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  4. I know. I couldn't believe how rude they were. Not that most Bahamians are like that, of course! I just happened to choose some snobs. Thankfully everyone else in the country was super nice, so it didn't color my experience any. But it did make me think twice about approaching strangers at cocktail parties -- in whatever country!!!

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  5. Hi Gail,

    Speaking as a fellow introvert, I can say I feel your pain. I'm made numerous gaffes and had rejections after publication. You're right, there's a lot of work that goes into a writing career and most of it folks never see.

    Nice post.

    Maggie
    http://mudpiesandmagnolias.blogspot.com

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  6. I've made many gaffes in my life, Maggie. I'm a total train wreck at cocktail parties. I guess they make funny stories later on, but it doesn't diminish the awkwardness of the moment!

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  7. It is difficult to believe you had such an issue at the Embassy party. You are a delightful person to talk to and get to know. Those people must only think of themselves--how sad they didn't want to get to know a fabulous woman! Their loss.
    Internet is great and getting to know someone out there in the ethernet is kind of interesting and then finally meeting them for the first time--fun!
    All the best to you my friend!

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  8. Gail Barret, you are either hoaxing us or a great actress. I've seen you in a number of conference settings and watched you at RWA, smiling, talking, and moving around at a pace that suggested you (among all those other people) were relaxed and having a good time.

    I think being introverted also connotes a propensity for pondering, and this stands a writer in good stead-as long as it doesn't turn into fretting.

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  9. LOL, Loni. Thanks for the nice thoughts. I don't know what their problem was, but I occasionally do see people who don't bother speaking to anyone unless they think that person can help them further their career in some way. I'm assuming that they looked at me, figured I was a "nobody" who couldn't benefit them in any way, and turned their backs. It's interesting to watch -- but not much fun when you are the recipient of their scorn.

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  10. Grace, I'm amazed that I looked so relaxed. Believe me, whenever I walk into a gathering of people, I always feel dread. Part of the problem is that if I don't see anyone I know right away, I feel awkward talking to strangers (see the above anecdote!). I also lack the skill of mingling. Once I start talking to someone, I can never seem to find a graceful way to exit the conversation. I either end up leaving too abruptly or hanging around too long -- until the person I'm talking to clearly wants to get away. I've just never mastered that skill.

    I do make an attempt to smile, though, even if I'm nervous. I figure if I have a frown on my face, people will be even less likely to want to talk to me. Thank you for letting me know that it works!

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  11. Great interview, Gail!! We writers are alike in so many ways. The first time I went to a publisher cocktail party, I could not wait for it to be over. Put a lifelong tomboy in heels, add insecurity, and something bad is going to happen involving cocktail sauce dripped down my front.
    Incidentally, you were the first person to talk to me at a WRW retreat several years ago. I've always appreciated that!
    Thanks for sharing -- and Meltdown is going to be on my Kindle in about 2 minutes. :)

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  12. Joyce, that makes me feel so great! I'm so glad I helped reduce your anxiety and am super impressed that you remember it! Thank you!!!!

    I understand the value of networking, but that doesn't help ease the pain any. I even read a book called The Art of Mingling, but for some reason, the lessons never stuck:((((

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  13. Gail, I can't believe I missed this last week! What a great article. And a pox on that couple who were rude to you. Hope to see you soon. And to anyone who hasn't already read it, I HIGHLY recommend Meltdown! Can't wait to see what you do next Gail!

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  14. Your job as a future mother is to learn the god's ways and to help your child understand despite the negative reinforcement and conditioning of today's society. Without consciousous parents the child will have no hope, and may even exaserbate their disfavor by becoming corrupted in today's environment.
    Your ultimate goal is to fix your relationship wiith the gods and move on. You don't want to be comfortable here, and the changes in Western society in the last 100 years has achieved just that.
    1000 years with Jesus is the consolation prize. Don't be deceived into thinking that is the goal.

    The gods tempt people for which they are most weak. Artificial Intelligence will create desire in people's minds for the following sins:::
    2. Drugs
    3. Preditory "earning"
    6. Something for nothing/irresponsibility (xtianity)
    7. Polygamy/superiority over women/misogyny (Islam)
    Much like the other prophets Mohhamed (polygamy/superiority over women/misogyny) and Jesus (forgiveness/savior), the gods use me for temptation as well. In today's modern society they feel people are most weak for popular culture/sensationalism, and the clues date back to WorldWarII and Unit731:TSUSHOGO, the Chinese Holocaust. They used this Situation to bury Japanese atrocities.
    It has been discussed that, similar to the Matrix concept, the gods will offer a REAL "Second Coming of Christ", while the "fake" Second Coming will come at the end and follow New Testiment scripture and their xtian positioning. I may be that real Second Coming.
    What I teach is the god's true way. It is what is expected of people, and only those who follow this truth will be eligible to ascend into heaven as children in a future life. They offered this event because the masses have just enough time to work on and fix their relationship with the gods and ascend, to move and grow past Planet Earth, before the obligatory xtian "consolation prize" of "1000 years with Jesus on Earth" begins.

    The Prince of Darkness, battling the gods over the souls of the Damned.
    It is the gods who have created this environment and led people into Damnation with temptation. The god's positioning proves they work to prevent people's understanding.
    How often is xtian dogma wrong? Expect it is about the Lucifer issue as well.
    The fallen god, fighting for justice for the disfavored, banished to Earth as the fallen angel?
    I believe much as the Noah's Flood event, the end of the world will be initiated by revelry among the people. It will be positioned to be sanctioned by the gods and led for "1000 years with Jesus on Earth".
    In light of modern developments this can entail many pleasures:::Medicine "cures" aging, the "manufacture" of incredible beauty via cloning as sex slaves, free (synthetic) cocaine, etc.
    Somewhere during the 1000 years the party will start to "die off", literally. Only those who maintain chaste, pure lifestyles, resisting these temptations, will survive the 1000 years. Condemned to experience another epoch of planet's history for their ignorant pursuit of xtianity, they will be the candidates used to (re)colonize (the next) Planet Earth, condemned to relive the misery experienced by the peasantry during history due to their failure to ascend into heaven before the Apocalypse.
    Never forget:::It is not a house of Jesus.
    If this concept of Lucifer is true another role of this individual may be to initiate disfavor and temptation among this new poulation, the proverbial "apple" of this Garden of Eden. A crucial figure in the history of any planet, he begins the process of deterioration and decay that leads civilizations to where Planet Earth remains today.
    Which one is it?:
    One transitions into the other, allowing the gods to wash their hands of obligation to their Chosen One.
    Had I not been selected for this Situation I may not have learned as much as I have but I would have gotten much more done.

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