A Closet Introvert Speaks Out

by Lilly Gayle

I can talk up a blue streak. I flirt, I joke, and I love to make people laugh. I trade barbs and reply to sexual innuendos with similarly suggestive remarks. When asked for my opinion, I’m not afraid to voice it. And I will defend a friend or relative against a bully or negative remark without fear. I’m brash, and bold and not afraid to stand before a crowd. I’ll even get on stage and sing karaoke with little fear. Those who know me think I’m talkative and “ballsy” without a shy bone in my body.

Those who know me well know better.

I love a good party and hanging out with friends. But I don’t mind being alone either. In fact, there are times when I prefer solitude. I love my alone time for reading or writing. I also enjoying sitting alone on the beach or my front porch to meditate or watch the world go by. And while I love shopping with friends, it turns into a social thing and I get nothing accomplished. So, I prefer shopping alone. But I hate feeling alone in a crowd—even when my husband is with me.

My husband can be a bit antisocial. I love going to social gatherings if I know most of the people invited. He can take it or leave it. But I hate going to a social event where the host or hostess is the only person I know. If these people were just strangers I’d likely never see again, it wouldn’t matter. But in a social setting, I see everyone as a potential friend. Then I worry about what kind of impression I’ll make. And the more I worry, the more introverted I become.

Not so with my husband. He could strike up a conversation with a stop sign and get a response. Even if the stop sign didn’t talk back, he wouldn’t care as long as he enjoyed himself. He’s the only person I’ve ever met who’ll go to a concert or the races alone. He doesn’t need to be with anyone to have a good time. As for me, there are just some places and situations where I hate being alone—or feeling alone. It erodes my confidence to the point where I become almost painfully shy.

I don’t mind eating alone at home or in a park. I just can’t eat alone in public. I’d rather eat alone in my car. My husband doesn’t care about that either and would eat alone at a five star restaurant if he had to. It wouldn’t bother him a bit. I couldn’t do it. For me, it would be like fifth grade all over again, when I was the new girl in school and no one wanted to eat with me. God, I hate that feeling.

I often feel the same way at a book signing. Strangers speak but avoid eye contact and barely glance at my books. Or, they rush by with heads turned as if they’re afraid I’ll engage them in a lengthy conversation about my book and then they’ll feel obligated to buy it. And I never know what to say. Talking too much about my books feels like bragging. But how much is too much? So, I just sit there with a nervous smile on my face, afraid to engage anyone in conversation. These people are potential fans. I don’t want to scare them off. I could lose my “job.”

At my day job, I have all the confidence in the world. I’m even arrogant at times about my skills and knowledge on the job. I’ve been at it a long time and feel assured of my abilities. I get feedback from patients, co-workers, and my employers, letting me know I do a good job.

As an author, there are no employee evaluations. No monthly or weekly pay check as a reward for a job well done. There’s no supervisor or coworkers. Writing is a solitary profession. Even after an author publishes a book, it doesn’t mean it’s a good book or that it will be well-received. Unlike other jobs where a task is assigned and either accomplished correctly or not, writing is subjective. Once completed, who’s to say it was completed well?

So, writers rely on reviews and that ever elusive next contract for validation. Agents and editors aren’t going to hold your hand unless you’re a multi-selling author, in which case, they probably wouldn’t need to. And reviews are often cruel. Friends and family might sympathize but other writers will understand.

Joining a writers group either on line or in person provides an invaluable network of support. No matter the genre, most writers face the same challenges and suffer similar fears. And spending time with like-minded, goal-oriented people who understand those fears is the best way to survive the lonely world of writing. And it’s the best way to keep a closet introvert out of the closet.

Blurb for Wholesale Husband, is available now from The Wild Rose Press.

She needs his name. He needs her money. But can a rich New York socialite and a poor Irish immigrant find true love in the gilded age?

Betrayed by her fiancĂ© and heart sick over her father’s death, Clarissa Burdick is further devastated when she learns she can’t inherit her father’s company—the company she loves—until she’s twenty-five or married. And Clarissa is neither. So she sets out to find a husband strong enough to protect her from her uncle’s thugs, too uneducated to run the company himself, and poor enough to marry a woman in name only. But Irish immigrant Devin Flannery is smarter than he seems and more educated than Clarissa expects. Her Wholesale Husband soon proves a greater risk to her heart than her company.

About Lilly: I write historical and paranormal romance for The Wild Rose Press.

I've been married to the same wonderful man since 1980. We have two beautiful daughters, one terrific son-in-law, a dog, and a crazy beast of a cat who's constantly bringing us "presents" through the doggie door.

When not writing, I work as a mammographer at a local hospital. I am also a member of Romance Writers of America and Heart of Carolina Romance Writers.

You can learn more about my books on my website, http://lillygayle.com/.


  1. Thanks for coming on today, Lilly.

    I think I'm more like your husband. I like the fact that I can "disappear" in public by being alone. Don't want to know what that means about my psyche...

  2. Thanks for having me, Rebecca. My husband is an oxymoron. If he's never done something before, like fix a broken toilet, he's afraid to try for fear of messing it up. But when it comes to knowing who he is, he's filled with a quiet self-confidence I envy.

    BTW- Wholesale Husband is now available from TWRP at http://thewildrosepress.com

  3. Interesting Lilly. I enjoyed learning more about you. I love alone time too, and my hubby is also far more extroverted. Your cover is wonderful, and you are already on my tbr list. Now, more so.

  4. Hi Lilly,

    I'm very much an introverted person. I go out of my way trying to avoid social occasions where I only know the host/hostess because I have such a hard time go up to a complete stranger and striking up a conversation. And don't even get me started on large gatherings unless they're family. I immediately become the wallpaper and count the minutes until I can politely leave.

  5. I absolutely can identify, Lilly. Although I'm not as bad as I was when I was young--I actually engage strangers in conversations, I'm not the party type, even family parties. I go, of course, but mostly listen to what everyone else has been up to, unless asked a direct question. And book promo is very hard for me. Just hate drawing attention to myself. I do need that validation, though. Always hoping for a good book review and keep submitting in hopes of getting another contract.

    Your new book sound like a great read! Best of luck with it!

  6. Lilly,

    I enjoyed learning more about you. I'm more like you. Confident in a setting where I know everyone, but can't find my tongue when I don't know anyone. lol

    Your new release sounds really good. Gotta love an Irishman. :)

    I wish you the best!

  7. Well, Karen. You summed up my feelings in one sentence and I took up an entire blog. lol! Thanks Beth. BTW, I started Somewhere My Lass last night and can't wait to get back to it. Wish I had more time to read.
    Thanks for stopping by Susan and Katherine.

  8. Lilly,

    Oh boy, do I see myself in your description of you at a book signing. Which is why I've not had one yet. No really, that is the one thing that terrifies this complete extrovert.

    Wishing you many, many sales and complete confidence at your next signing!

  9. You and I sound a lot alike Lilly. Boy. Love getting to know more about my fellow Roses and feeling not alone.

  10. Hey Lilly, I just updated the post with a link to your book now that it's available. :)