Q & A with author Jane Richardson
Thanks for being here today, Jane. Would you please share a short bio about yourself?
I'm really pleased to be here, Becky, so thank you! Sure, here's a very short bio. I'm a Scot, though I now live on the lovely south coast of England near the famous historical town of Hastings. I'm an ex-stage manager, used to work mainly in the world of opera, which I absolutely loved. My hubbie and I met while working in the theatre, actually! I'm now a full-time home-educating Mum to our two children, a boy of 13 and a girl of 9. Living here by the coast lets me indulge in lots of my favourite things - walking our dog on the beaches or in our lovely cliff-top country parks, or visiting some of the many fantastic local food producers here so I can cook up feasts for family and friends. I'm a bit of a home-loving gal, really!
Q Now for the questions. Do you consider yourself a shy and/or introverted person?
A A lot of people who know me would say I'm not - they'd call me fairly extrovert, especially because of the jobs I've done and the world I worked in. But the truth is, I'm far happier in a small group of friends than in a crowded room. Look at my previous job - while I did act onstage occasionally in my younger days, it wasn't the limelight I loved but the whole experience of the theatre, and once I began to work backstage, I found that was where I felt happiest and most in control.
Q In what ways has being shy or introverted hindered your writing career?
A Not having the confidence to push myself forward when I should have done. That, combined with a British stiff-upper-lip and the sense that it's 'just not done' to push one's-self forward! It took me a long time to have the confidence to say to other writers, 'hey, look, I'm as good as you' - and to say to readers, 'would you like to read my book - I think it's pretty good.' Even now, I find that very, very hard to do.
Q In what ways has being shy or introverted helped your writing career?
A Probably because I wasn't confident for a long time in pushing myself forward, I would read a lot about and listen to what other writers were saying. Just sitting quietly and taking it all in helped me see what I needed to do to improve, and to spot who was genuinely worth learning from - and who wasn't. It's not always the one who shouts the loudest that merits the most attention paid!
Q What’s the hardest part of this business for you?
A I find self-promotion very hard and have to work myself up to it - blowing my own trumpet doesn't come naturally to me. I'm not very confident about my writing, even when people say they've loved something I've done, I tend to panic and think well, I'll never be that good again! Which is silly, of course, but when you're a slow writer who doesn't produce a lot of words as I am, it can be very difficult to have the confidence and self-belief to keep at it.
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 I did a book sale and signing once, along with a roomful of other writers, and I found that hard going. People came up and wanted to know what the book was about - well, of course they did! But if they'd been in a bookshop, they wouldn't have had to ask me, they'd have looked at the cover and the blurb and maybe read some of the beginning of the book, and then decided whether they wanted to buy it or not. The idea that I somehow had to CONVINCE them to buy it was just awful! I just wanted to shove a copy at them and say, oh, look, just buy it and then if you don't like it, it doesn't matter.....!' By the end of the day, I was exhausted!
Q What’s one tip you could share with shy and introverted people that’s helped you?
A One tip - I'd say, if you're meeting people face-to-face, make sure you smile. It works wonders, and helps you feel more confident. If you're meeting people on-line all the time, as many writers do these days, you can put a smile into your communications, too - simple things like remembering to tell people you're glad to meet them, thanking them when they respond to you, and being genuinely interested in what they're asking or saying. You don't have to be extra-smart or wildly witty - just smile and be yourself, because no-one else is nearly as good as you at being the lovely thing that IS you!
Q Nicely said! Now, would you please share a short blurb of your book and where my readers can buy it?
A My current release is a short story called Edinburgh Fog, which is on US Kindle here and on UK Kindle here.
and in all the other e-formats from the publisher, MuseItUp, here - where you'll also find an excerpt.
Here's the blurb!
When Greg Morton returned to Edinburgh, it was to follow his dream of opening the smartest bar-bistro in town. Now Tellers’ is a huge success—but the truth is, deep inside, it means little without the love of his life.
Four years ago, he left Julia Brady behind in London to realize his business ambitions in his Scottish home town. By the time he’d recognized his mistake and admitted to himself he wanted her back, the grapevine told him Julia had moved on—and Greg had to face the fact that he’d been a fool.
When Julia appears out of the blue in Tellers’, he knows the only thing he should do is walk right up to her and say hello. But it looks like someone else has their sights set on her, and he’s a quick worker. Is Julia about to disappear from Greg's life a second time - this time, for good?
Q Where can my readers find you on the web?
A You can find me at my blog, Home Is Where The Heart Is. That's where you'll get all my news, and I also feature other writers there quite regularly too, so do pop in when you can! I'm also occasionally on Twitter under the name @Gimmeahugyou.