Thanks for being here today, Chantilly. Would you please share a short bio about yourself?
Thanks for having me, Rebecca! My name is Chantilly White. I'm originally from
I have always loved stories—whether reading or writing them—and wrote my first book when I was eight. It was a two-hundred-page treatment of what my life would be like, including a detailed description of every room in my future house, my eight (!!!) children, and all the animals I would have. My plan was to rescue every single animal from every single shelter on the face of the planet and give them all a place to call home. Every species would have its own house, where they'd all live peaceably, happily ever after.
Since the logistics of that plan proved beyond my capabilities, I settled for giving my fictional characters (and their pets!) happily-ever-afters in my stories. I have a degree in Creative Writing from the
University of California
and am currently indie publishing short and novella-length romances, with
novels coming soon. Riverside
Do you consider yourself a shy and/or introverted person?
I do consider myself a shy person. I don't understand why the people who know me laugh when I say that! I'm very introverted in most situations.
In what ways has being shy or introverted hindered your writing career?
Being shy has hindered me in that it has gone hand-in-hand with a serious lack of confidence in myself and my work. It even kept me from joining Romance Writers of America (RWA) for decades. I was too afraid, and felt too unworthy, to belong to the same organization as all of my romance-author idols. I regret that now, because the moment I walked into my first RWA meeting, with the
chapter, I knew I had found my tribe.
The room was full of amazing, fabulous women who immediately welcomed and
accepted me, put me at ease, and who have been an integral part of my life ever
since. They are a continual source of support, knowledge and friendship. It was
their belief in me and my writing, rather than my own confidence, that finally
pushed me to take control of my career and get my work out to readers. Olympia
In what ways has being shy or introverted helped your writing career?
Being shy—and sensitive to a fault—has helped me in my writing because I am very attuned to emotions, whether my own or the emotions of those around me. I've been told that I write with emotional intensity, which was such a lovely compliment, and I hope it's true. I want to bring as much authentic emotion to my stories as possible, and I work hard to really dig down into my characters' psyches to discover their personal truths.
Also, introverts tend to be natural observers. There's not much else to do when hiding out in those corners! I think surveying the scene—the people, their actions, body language, conversations and emotions, the setting—helps fill the creative well in ways that might be harder to achieve from center stage.
What’s the hardest part of this business for you?
Promotion! No question. I absolutely hate it. I'd much rather promote other people than myself. It's very hard to stand up and say, "Look at me! I wrote this book, isn't it fabulous? Don't you want to read it?" But I love saying, "Look at my friend! She wrote this fabulous book! You must go buy it!" It's something I continue to work on, because I know as an author it's part of the gig—we have to do it if we want to find our readers and make a living. But I sure wish they'd just accidentally stumble across my stories (in large numbers, of course), love them instantly and beg for more. That's my writerly fantasy.
However, as a devotee of Dean Wesley Smith (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/), author and indie publisher extraordinaire, I love his promotion plan, which is (paraphrasing), "Don't bother. Write another book. And another one. The best promotion is another story to sell." I like the way he thinks. That sort of promotion is a natural fit for me. Writing another story, and another and another, is what I most want to be doing in the first place.
Having said that, I LOVE to hear from readers and build relationships with them that are not incumbent upon me constantly "selling myself" to them. I want to get to know them as people, not as buyers. If they like my stories and choose to read more of them, great! I so appreciate the support. But let's get to know each other, too.
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 stepped way outside my comfort zone when I decided to indie publish. I don't think I have been as nervous as I was that first publication day in years. Maybe decades. It felt like, by putting my work out there, I was suddenly in an enormous spotlight and the whole world could see me standing there with my soul bared. I was so jittery I could hardly concentrate as my friend helped show me the ropes of publishing. I had all the classic signs of a massive panic attack: sweaty palms, racing heart, rapid breathing, icy tremors. It was awful! But the sense of exhilaration once my story went live was incredible, and made the nerves totally worth it.
What’s one tip you could share with shy and introverted people that’s helped you (whether you’re shy/introverted or not)?
Find your tribe. That's what helped me the most. I am very shy, very introverted in most situations, but there's something about being an active part of my personal tribe, the writing community, that freed me from my usual angst. There's a real sense of comfort that comes from being surrounded by a group of people all focused on and experiencing the same things, no matter what stage they're at. My writer friends "get" me on a deep, dark level because they've all been in my shoes at one point or another. I get them for the same reasons. The details of our journeys may be different, but the emotions experienced along those varied journeys are shared. When you have that sort of unquestioning empathy and support, you start to feel like you can tackle anything. And if you feel like you can tackle anything, well then, you can tackle anything.
Would you please share a short blurb of your book and where my readers can buy it?
Sure! They're available on Amazon, B&N and anywhere ebooks are sold.
Pearls of Passion:Shy librarian Sabrina has had her heart set on Robert, her hunky, reserved colleague, for months. Now she's taking matters into her own hands. . . and anywhere else she can manage. But once she's had her way with him, will she end up with the love match she craves even more than his luscious body?
A short, H-O-T contemporary romance, Pearls of Passion is 6,000 words (about 15 pages).
Pearls of Wisdom:A long-simmering love. A proper proposal. One incredible night.
Billy Wingate has never been with a woman. He’s never held a gun. In fact, he’s never been outside his home state of
. But it’s 1942. The world is at war,
and Billy’s life is about to change forever. Indiana
On the eve of departing for the war, Billy finally gathers the courage to ask his dream girl, sexy town librarian April Collins, to be his bride. But when his proposal turns into a steamy night of passion, Billy is determined to make every moment count. They both know his first time may be his last. . .
A short, H-O-T historical romance, Pearls of Wisdom is 15,000 words (about 35 pages).
Pearls of Pleasure (Available September 24, 2012)Gwen Coffey's marriage is collapsing. When her fireman husband, David, nearly died in a blaze that took the lives of his friends, she devoted herself to his long, painful recovery. Three years later, he's healthy and back to work—but now, when they make love, panic attacks send Gwen into a spiraling abyss of terror.
His marriage turning to ash around him, David struggles to help his wife. Gwen's pain tears him apart. But despite her attempts to shut him out, he won't give up on her, or their relationship. Desperate, he convinces her to see a therapist.
As Gwen and David work toward a solution, one question burns in their minds—will the doctor's treatment plan save their once fiery passion, or will the flames of Gwen's fear devour their sex life and incinerate the bonds of their marriage?
Pearls of Pleasure is a 40,000 word hot contemporary-romance novella (about 100 pages).
Where can my readers find you on the web?
My website is http://ChantillyWhite.com where readers can find out about current and future projects or contact me via email.
I'm also on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorChantillyWhite or https://www.facebook.com/FansofChantillyWhite and Twitter @ChantillyWhite