Ask An Author

Ask an Author: Double Feature! Pi Day, and Answering the “What do you do for a living” Question

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I hope you had the time to celebrate Pi Day!  I know, I know, it’s just another way to get us to spend time, energy, and resources on something utterly unimportant.  But at the same time, it’s not that hard to add a pie to one’s day.  Then again, who really needs an excuse to eat pie?

Great, now I have a craving for pie.

But first, some exciting news!  Lynn Voedisch’s fourth book, Kiss of the Goddess, is one step closer to being published, with another round of editing completed.  And that’s not all—one of Lynn’s short stories is going to be included in an upcoming anthology!  Congratulations to Lynn, and here is to much more good writing news from her and the rest of the Ask an Author crew!

Today’s Ask an Author feature is yet again a double one.  You guessed it, one part is dedicated to Pi Day, namely asking them about the kind of pie they had on 14 March or, if they didn’t have any pie, what would they have picked had they had the choice.

As for the more serious question in this edition of the feature, it comes courtesy of our very own Lee Murray, who was wondering what our fellow contributors have to say when people ask them what they do for a living.  Do they tell them that they are an author when they are out socially?  How do their audience react?  What is the best reaction they have had?  The funniest?

Personally, I do mention, when I consider it appropriate, that I am a writer.  I have to admit that most times people’s eyes tend to gloss over though, and I’m not sure why.  The best reaction was when a mom found out that I was the author of a book that changed her daughter’s life.  The 11 year-old and I spent two hours chatting afterwards.  The funniest…  Well, this is kind of rude and funny in a roll-your-eyes way, but someone once said: “Oh, you’re one of those.”

Come to think of it guys…  It was actually just plain rude, no?

Lee Murray

Yes, I say I’m a writer. It tends to go down well if the group is full of accountants or lawyers or software engineers. One or two people will ask what my real job is, but most people are polite and ask what I’m working on. The next question is usually, “Have you published anything I’ve read?” or “Can I buy it in an actual bookstore?” (For the record, the answer is yes: you can buy any book in any bookstore if you ask the retailer to stock it!). Then there are the people who say, “Oh, I’ve thought about writing a book,” as if it’s as easy as making a sandwich. Those people can’t wait to tell you the premise for their bestseller, and how it’s all written in their head, if only they were as lucky as you and had the time to get in on paper.  (Yes, there are people who believe the book they have yet to write ‒ the first thing they’ll have ever written ‒ is guaranteed to be a bestseller.) Sometimes those people have already written something; a paragraph or a couple of chapters, or even 250,000 rambly filter-laden adjective-heavy words, complete with stilted talking-heads dialogue and systematic punctuation issues. I secretly dread those meetings, because inevitably they’ll ask if I can have a quick look at it and give them some pointers. Or could I look at their friend’s/sister’s/mum’s work and give them some pointers. There are the “I’ve written a book, how do I go about self-publishing it?” “Will you come to my kid’s school and talk?” and “Can you donate books for my rowing club raffle?” people. There are the sorts who will come to your book launches and help themselves to a free copy because “the publisher pays for them, right?”. But I still tell people that I’m an author, because occasionally, just occasionally, there will be a lovely someone who says, “I’d love to read your work. Where can I buy it?”

A.C. Barry

I do tell people I am an author when I’m out and someone happens to ask.  Usually the reactions are quite positive.  The best reaction I had was getting to chat up a sales clerk who was thinking of writing a book and encouraging her to go for it.  I guess the funniest was having a friend of a family member get a copy of my book to be polite and then having her be shocked that it was as good as anything she’d read.  I didn’t get pie for pi day this year as I was sick.  I did get a flower for White Day though which falls on the same day.  That was nice.

Sybil Watters

It really depends on the company, but on the whole, I generally do not tell people I am an author, even though I would rather tell them that than the fact that I am a lawyer.  Everyone hates lawyers, including me.  That being said, someone always pipes up out loud “she is an author too!” and then the good conversation ensues.  Nobody likes to talk to or about being a lawyer but everyone seems bedazzled by a novelist.  I truly believe it is because everyone has at least one story to tell- one book in them.

As for funny, I always find it funny when people ask you to write them in as a character, because they are assuming you have all good things to say.  If people could gain perspective they might not ask that so frequently!

I don’t eat desserts, but if I had to choose a pie, I would bake a hot huckleberry pie with homemade crust myself and eat the whole darn thing by myself…. with vanilla ice cream on top….in one sitting! 😉

Lynn Voedisch

Yes, I tell people that I’m an author (I usually say “writer” first) and when they find out that I’m a fiction author they get all misty-eyed, as if I told them I was a fashion model or Hollywood actor. There seems to be some glamour attached to it all. Next thing they want to know is if I get published, when I say yes, about half of them will get all excited and ask if I’m on Amazon. When I say yes, they promise to look me up. I haven’t got any big sales on my books, which are getting old, so I doubt they really do look me up. There are a certain percentage of people who look at me like I’m crazy. These almost always are my journalist friends, who would give their right arms to write a novel but don’t know how. They act like they couldn’t be bothered to read my stuff. One person is trying desperately to write a romance but can’t get off the first draft. I give her advice over and over. But she’s never bothered to order a book of mine. Odd isn’t it?

I do absolutely nothing on Pi Day, as I’m barely aware it exists. I’m a complete math idiot and would have no idea what I’m even supposed to do with Pi. So, no pie for Pi. I use a calculator when times get rough.

Lorene Stunson Hill

I do not tell people I am an Author when I am out socially, unless I am in a Promotion Mode.  For example: Leaving business cards on tables of doctor’s offices, in convenience stores, etc.  I’ve even carried a purse of books to give away and just ask the recipient to leave a review.  Most people don’t seem to be interested.  It’s hard to do, also because I don’t know their preferred genre.  But, I have had one book signing and the best reaction I had was with an older couple who were so amazed at the idea of meeting someone who’d actually written a book they kept hugging me.  They pulled up chairs and sat and talked to me and gave me hugs as they left, inviting me to visit them someday.  The funniest was from a woman who read my book title, “To Dance with Ugly People,” and burst out laughing. I mean she rolled!  At first I was offended, but realized she was reading the title literally when it is meant to be read figuratively.  I have not had pie for pie day but if I were to have a pie it would be APPLE CRUMB.

D. Odell Benson

It depends on the atmosphere if I mention it. I have at times and people tend to look me up via Google and most times surprised that I’ve taken out the time to write a book. Generally they request me as a friend on Facebook or like my fan page because I put up short stories to show people my skills when it comes to bringing words alive. The best reaction I’ve had so far was when I was in a business meeting for my current employer, I didn’t bring up that I was an author but the head of our Human Resource department made mention. That day I ended up selling a little over 600 books and donated five to each of our sister clubs, total of ten offices. What a day!

The funniest reaction came from my Doll-Doll (grandmother), she was telling us at Sunday dinner that she’s been reading this book and it’s really good but she couldn’t remember the name. I didn’t think anything of it because I know that she normally sticks with romance and not murder/mystery novels. When she pulled the book out everyone almost hit the floor laughing. I never told my Doll-Doll because of the content but she found it because someone gave it to her as a gift. When I mean hysterical, it had to be the funniest situation ever. Apple pie was my contribution to Pi day.

Our full roster of authors, in alphabetical order: A.C. Barry, D. Odell Benson, F.C. Etier, Jean Gilbert, J. C. Hart, Hunter Marshall, Catherine Mede, Lee Murray, Karo Oforofuo, A.J. Ponder, Meryl Stenhouse, Lorene Stunson Hill, Lynn Voedisch, and Sybil Watters.

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