Wednesday, November 30, 2011

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 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?

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?

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?
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?

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?

Where can my readers find you on the web?

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.






17 comments:

  1. Thanks again for having me here, Becky. I was thinking how one of the things about doing a lot of our promo on the internet is that you can be whoever you want or need to be - a boon for shy writers!

    Jane x

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  2. Very well stated Jane. Self-promotion screams against every part of my nature. I find tons of satisfaction in promoting others. Sometimes it is necessary to promote myself but I doubt I will ever grow comfortably with it.

    Great post...hit at the heart of my struggles.

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  3. Isn't this a great resource? Blowing my own horn is waaaaay outside my comfort level. I pretend I'm promoting someone else and occasionally find myself talking about me in third person. lol Great post Jane. :)

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  4. Shyness is not my problem. Since receiving a contract last week from MuseItUp I have put business cards with all the books information and release dates in anyone's hand that made eye contact with me. LOL (I even putting them in the Christmas cards I send out.)
    If you are shy remember that you worked hard and your book deserves an audience--great motivator. Marian

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  5. Jane, thanks so much for coming on here today. Promo is very hard for me to do--I keep hearing my grandma's words in my head, "Nice girls don't talk about themselves." LOL.

    Thank God for the age of the Internt. If I had to do all my promo in person, that would be my worst nightmare.

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  6. Hi! I sort of understand the British stiff upper lip and don't push forward. Once, in London, we walked from our hotel to the subway. Once there, we had to figure out how to get a ticket. While my husband wandered around trying to learn this, I stood back next to a tiled pillar. Soon, a man came up behind me, not touching, but close, and proceeded to read a paper. After many minutes, my husband returned and said follow him,....he figured it all out. As I began to walk away, the gentlman, said, excuse me...but this is not a queque?
    I felt so bad.
    Also, being raised in Texas, which is pretty much the "south," my mother taught us to always act like ladies and do not show off or act out. Easy for me...I didn't want to do those things anyway. She said it would be "tacky."
    So, with all this promoting, I love the on-line stuff because, after all, it's almost like being anonymous.
    Dec. 10 I have my very first book signing. It's taken all this time and several prints to work up enough courage. I am sick to my stomach every time I think about it!

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  7. Hi Karen - oh, how I hear you! I too love to promote others, especially new authors, remembering how hard it could be to 'get a break' early on. Perhaps promoting others helps you, too. Besides, it's such a nice thing to do, and 'a candle loses none of its light when it's used to light another candle.' :)
    Good to see you!

    Jane x

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  8. Now, Rose - you are someone I've noticed who promotes herself in a very calm, interesting and stylish way, and I've also seen you're very good at passing on genuinely useful tips and info to others - people remember you for that. :) See, 'being yourself' really does work!

    Super to see you.

    Jane x

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  9. Marian - yay!! You're absolutely right. If you've worked hard and are proud of your work, then why shouldn't you go out and get that audience? After all, if YOU don't tell them about YOU in the first place, no-one else will!

    Thanks for coming over - good luck with your book!

    Jane x

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  10. Hi Rebecca - yes, I recognise that feeling. 'Nobody likes a show-off' is another one! I think that's what I've found hardest, self-promo v 'showing off.' I think lots of women do, too. But it's not 'showing off' to promote your work at all. Just wish I'd recognised that earlier!

    Thanks again for having me over!

    Jane x

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  11. Hi Celia! Ah, yes, you've experienced the British thing for yourself. We do like our orderly queues, and if someone DID dare to push forward, they'd be tutted about but not often challenged. :(( Actually, I think we're a bit more assertive than we used to be about that sort of thing, but it definitely IS an underlying national trait.
    I agree, on-line is almost like being anonymous, you can put on your 'writer head' and off you go - it doesn't even have to be the real you.
    HUGE luck with your book signing! Just be your own lovely, talented self and you'll be great!

    Always a joy to see you,

    Jane x

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  12. Hi, Jane
    I So ENVY you. My one goal is to live in Scotland one of these days. When I visited twelve years ago, it was drizzling and cold and I could have slept in the streets near one of the Close(s). lol. My family and friends always thought I was outgoing because I sang professionally and was in sales, but it was all about the songs and the products. I'm much better one on one. Writing is a great job for an introvert, ;)) I'm looking forward to reading Edinburgh Fog.

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  13. What a nice interview, Jane. I've never considered you an introvert, but I completely understand being more comfortable in a small group setting. Big crowds aren'te for me either. Wishing you all the best with Edinburg Fog.

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  14. Hey Jane! Believe it or not, I completely relate. I'm an introvert by nature, forced into being an extrovert by my career (the legal one, not the writing one, that one's just started, professionally speaking). I don't like crowds and do much better few on few or even one on one.

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  15. Great answers, Jane. You're so right about the British attitude of not pushing oneself forward. We do tend to underplay our achievements for fear of being thought a 'show-off'!
    And I completely agree with you about the backstage atmosphere in a theatre, I used to love it too.

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  16. I know exactly what you mean about blowing your own trumpet. I don't think I'm shy, but it's just not British to boast. I'm doing my best to get over it. Nice to know other people have the same problem.

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  17. Hi, Jane! I just saw this - and I totally understand. Being from the UK, I too find it terribly hard to be pushy. The stiff upper lip thing is obviously inbred. If it helps, people love you just being you! And I love your writing. :) I have Edinburgh Fog, love the blurb - and can't wait to read it. Absolute best of luck! Keep writing. xx

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