Wednesday, December 28, 2011

GLENYS O'CONNELL: A little Q & A

Q. Thanks for being here today. Would you please share a short bio about yourself?

A.A Short bio? What to say? What to say? I write romantic suspense and have several novels published. But I regard myself as a writing "Jill of all Trades" and have also written children's fiction and non-fiction, and following my interest in counselling and psychology, I've had two books on mental health issues published.

Back to fiction -- I've written two or three one-act plays -- two of them have been produced on stage, and one has won several awards, including a best drama award as the author of a play translated into Irish Gaelic! I've written many articles, web content, and a series of hypnotherapy scripts as well as ghostwriting several books. I started out my working life as a journalist and covering the crime beat for a large daily paper in Ontario fed my interest in psychology, so I took a degree and further qualifications as a counselor.

I'm also putting together a book on novel writing based on my online writing course: Naked Writing - the No Frills Way to Write Your Book, and I'm excited to be taking the plunge with Indie publishing on that one! But romantic suspense and mysteries will always be my first love - they fulfill my craving for romance, crime and excitement! I've lived and worked in the UK., Ireland and Canada -- all countries which provide excellent settings for novels. Now I'm back home in very rural Ontario, Canada, and at work on a series of novels about a psychotherapist turned amateur detective and on a non-fiction book about relationships.

Q. Do you consider yourself a shy and/or introverted person?

A. Yes, I am both shy and introverted -- in another age I'd probably be a hermit living deep in the woods, or a witchy woman living alone with my cats....

Q. In what ways has being shy or introverted hindered your writing career?

A. It's a two-edged sword, really. I'm not shy when I'm interviewing people as a journalist, or teaching as a creative writing instructor (I taught law, creative writing and did life coaching in Ireland and worked with disadvantaged children and adults, too). I'm able to stand in front of a class and talk for as long as I need to -- but put me on a stage promoting one of my plays or in a bookstore doing a book signing, and I'm instantly tongue tied. Promotion, especially in person, when I'm required to talk about my own work, is really difficult and I know that shyness has prevented me from taking up promotional opportunities.

Q. In what ways has being shy or introverted helped your writing career?

A. In my professional life, particularly as a journalist, I learned to adopt a 'professional personna' which lets me put a shield between myself and what I'm doing, if that makes sense. I am learning from that experience to 'fake it until you make it' and I think I'm becoming better at going out to readers and talking or promoting my work. At least, I hope so!

Q. What’s the hardest part of this business for you?

A. Promotion and book signings - see the answers above!

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. Oh, my -- there are a number of answers to that one.

How about the time I was invited to cover a Women's Institute convention, with hundreds of attendees, for my newspaper -- and no one told me I was on the slate as a speaker! I was pretty young at the time, and I did give a talk on writing club reports that would interest newspapers. Apparently, I spoke for the required 20 minutes and everyone clapped and said it was great. Me? I don't remember a word I said....

Then there was the time I was invited to do a series of workshops at an elementary school about my children's book, The Pebble People Save the Day....30 little boys, full of questions and with short attention spans, waiting expectantly, and the teacher left me alone in the room. I survived, though....and the kids didn't riot!

And possibly some of my worst moments have been when women readers have commented that they really thought the sex in my books was hot...and went on to ask me if I had any tips for them.

Q. What’s one tip you could share with shy and introverted people that’s helped you?

A. Don't take things personally. People are usually genuinely interested in the work you do, or they wouldn't want to hear about it. Your readers are the people you are writing for -- do them the honor of respecting that and do your best to treat them as special people in your world. And if you get a rejection, or the reviews don't come in (or worse, aren't as good as you'd hoped!) or a store won't carry your books, or some other disappointment occurs in your writing, don't take it personally. Books are very much subjective -- a rejection or a poor review isn't a personal judgement on you! Remember when you learned to ride a bike? You kept falling off and then all of a sudden, there you were -- riding with the wind! Well, keep on doing what you love, and the things you fear will get easier and actually become (almost) enjoyable!

Q. Would you please share a short blurb of your book and where my readers can buy it?

A. This is from Resort to Murder, a romantic suspense/police detective novel set in Yorkshire. England.

Disgraced police detective Ellie Fitzpatrick is prepared to face a vicious killer to redeem herself but is she also brave enough to make peace with the man she loves? Her meteoric career crashes and burns after she is falsely accused of accepting bribes from thugs running a protection racket. Suspended from the job she loves, she believes herself abandoned not only by police colleagues but by her lover, Detective Liam Reilly. Then she is called back to work when a biography of a serial killer she arrested suggests the man may be innocent. Reilly vows to protect Ellie from the gang who tried to frame her and the killer who's stalking her. But can she trust him with her life?
ISBN: 1-60154-652-1
Q. Where can my readers find you on the web?

A. I have a web page at www.glenysoconnell.com under the 'brand' Romance Can Be Murder! I also blog with The Roses of Prose  and on Amazon. I'm also on Twitter @GlenysOConnell.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to be here today, Rebecca, and special good wishes to shy writers everywhere!






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