Monday, August 1, 2011
JANICE SEAGRAVES: Introvert with a Bad Case of Shyness
Hi, my name is Janice Seagraves. I’m a romance writer.
I’m actually more introverted than shy. But unfortunately things do change.
At thirteen I fell in love with books, reading Tolkien and Marguerite Henry, among others. I loved getting lost among the mountain passes along with Bilbo and his friends, or falling in love with the ponies of Chincoteague. In high school, I read the Lord of the Rings and The Tripods novels by John Christopher, after which I progressed to other fantasy and SF books.
Books became my refuge. Books never judge you, or say mean things to you. They are there for you, whenever you want them to be.
I kept my nose firmly and happily buried, for God knows how many hours. But introverted or not, love finally found me. After I graduated from HS, I married my hubby.
When I was twenty, I tried my hand at writing. And found it harder than it looks. I wrote off and on for years as I learned to put my thoughts into words, but sadly never completed that first novel.
Then twelve years ago when my daughter was eight, I decided I would write toward publication. I made it my mission to learn as much as I could about the craft of writing. Hubby was very supportive and bought me a laptop computer. Delighted with the gift, I industriously wore the letters off the keys.
I started out small with short stories. Then I bought the Writer’s Market. Carefully, I studied the publishers and contests listed. I sent off for guidelines so I could send out my shorts, but was unfortunately rejected.
But I kept at it, determined to see something of mine in print.
Eventually, I started writing book length manuscripts. Now I had a much longer word count to work with, so I was able to explore my characters’ personal growth, sexual tension and eventually the moment when my couple falls in love.
Last year, my debut novel was published. My first book is called Windswept Shores; it’s a contemporary erotic romance, published through Pink Petal Books.
I was very excited. But I also had to learn to promote.
The internet is a God send for promotions and reaching out to readers. But when I talk to a stranger in person about my book, I found myself stammering and blushing.
Had I suddenly developed a bad case of shyness?
Oh, God. I have.
Then one day I was at the dentist office, having my teeth cleaned. The hygienist asked what I was doing. I told her I had a book published. As I talked to her, I think I must have been as red as a beet, but I forced myself to continue. She was very excited and wanted to buy my book.
I told myself this is something I must do. I had to get past this shyness problem, so I can talk to people who might be interested in my novel.
It’s hard but I think I’m making progress.
When I see that opening in the conversation, I give myself a mental kick. Do it. Talk about your book. Smile.
“I’m a writer.” My cheeks heat and I know I’m blushing again. But I tell myself to keep going. “I wrote a book about a couple washed up on the same little island in the Bahamas. It’s a romance.” I reach into my purse. “Would you like a magnet? It has my book cover and website address.”
Windswept Shores Blurb:
The sole survivor of a plane crash, Megan is alone on a deserted island in the Bahamas until she finds a nearly-drowned man washed up on shore. Another survivor, this time from a boat wreck. With only meager survival skills between them, will they survive and can they find love?
Windswept Shores buy link
My book trailer