I’ll begin with saying I have a very supportive family. They are kind and church-going but not too judgmental. Both of my parents encouraged reading. I grew up with the classics like C. S. Lewis and Tolkien. My older sister is even named ‘Alia‘ after the character in Frank Herbert’s Dune. With all that given, I was still nervous announcing to my family, “Everyone, I wrote a book about vampires and they have sex.”
Okay, so I didn’t phrase it quite like that, but I did write a paranormal romance (and vampires have sex). I have siblings. I learned the facts-of-life early on by repeatedly walking in on my parents making out in the kitchen. But I have selective shyness. Grown-up and married, I still blush.
My sister was thrilled, and, of course, took her credit for ‘corrupting her little sister’. (She did actually give me my first Sherrilyn Kenyon Dark Hunter novel.) My aunt, the “cool” aunt, demanded to read my book immediately. My cousin read my manuscript, too. He said it was ‘really good’ but weird when he thought about his little cousin writing it.
My husband shares my fascination with fantasy and mythology. He simply said ‘I didn’t know you were writing a book (shrug)”. It has given him endless new ways to tease me (and make me blush). Now when we watch Trueblood he likes to impersonate a “Bill” voice. The things he says are not for public sharing.
My mother-in-law praised my book. However, my sister-in-law has to wait until she is eighteen to read it.
My dad hasn’t said much. I think he’s having trouble reconciling his “little girl” with a woman who wrote a romance novel. (He had a rough time when I got married.)
However, my mom said it best. “It might not be my genre, but you are my daughter and I’m buying it anyway.”
I debated on how best to publicize my book. Should I promote my story using only the anonymity of the internet? Or should I push in person. Do I tell my friends to go out and support my work? At first I wanted a clear separation be between me as a writer and me “in real life”. That was the main reason behind using a pen name. I think now, a few days passed the release date, I think I have a compromise. I like my pen name. I like that when you ‘Google’ it, two pages of results appear (If you search my legal name none of the result are actually ME.) It may be cowardly but it is reassuring that should my boss ever “Google” me, paranormal romance writer isn’t the first result. However, I have been more public than I originally intended. I chose to contact some of my Facebook friends to announce my book release. I have received many messages of surprised congratulations. I have also set up book signings with local book stores.
So to put it plainly, “The people that need to know, know.”