And again. I'm very proud to write for one of the most established names in romance publishing.
The reason I'm yelling this from the deck is that a couple of weeks ago I found myself having to defend what I do for a living, and I don't think I should have to.
Now I know that there are plenty of people out there who like to poke a finger at the authors and readers of these romance stories. They are a fact of life and don't bother me.
BUT - we (royal we) were having drinks with friends (whose late wife was a big fan of my books), and met a woman who all but attacked me.
'I hear you write books.'
'Yes, I do,' I said proudly.
'Mills & Boon books.' Sneer.
'Yes, I do.' Still proud.
Then I had to withstand a lengthy one-sided discussion on these books put out by this publisher.
'Have you read any?' I asked.
'Not since I was a teenager.'
Fair enough. Heard it all before. But did my blood boil. I did behave, stayed cool (read heated) and calm (read angry). Thank goodness for wine.
The day the carton containing copies of my very first book turned up here my man took a hard cover copy and placed on the bookshelf in the lounge, and has continued to so with every title since. He's not a reader, hasn't read any of mine, but boy, is he proud of me.
The thing is this: -
It takes time, commitment and sheer determination to write a book of any kind, and that's before we start knocking on editors' and agents' doors. That takes pig-headedness and many bottles of wine.
I have the utmost admiration for all my writing friends and colleagues. Many have achieved outstanding results with their amazing stories, and more will in the near future.
I never go around putting down other people's jobs, be they a cleaner or a doctor. Why would I?
I also believe we authors have one of the best occupations on the planet. We get to make up things, and talk to people in our head while getting away with it. What's not to love about those?
Okay, so now I'll come down off my soapbox. Got that off my chest.
Just as an aside - this person was more than happy to take home four of my books to give to her friend, who apparently can't read enough of our books. Go her.
Kind of like the title for my next book. Seems appropriate somehow.
Do you ever have to defend something that's important to you? Does it wind you up as I seemed to have been?
Yes I am with you there have been many times that I have had to have my say when someone says things like "oh you read those sorts of books" do you and it gets under my skin but in the end it is them that are missing out on such great time :)
Oh and I do love the title and cover of your next book
Helen, I think readers have to take as much nonsense as we authors do. I'm so over the "Oh I don't read those but I'll take one for my mother" thing.ReplyDelete
I like that you say they're the ones missing out. :)
Ugh! I really dislike people such as this, Sue. Didn't their mammas ever teach them if you dont have something nice to say, don't say anything at all?ReplyDelete
Obviously not, Amy. Or they chose to ignore their mothers.ReplyDelete
Stand tall on your soapbox and preach it, Sue! How could you not be proud of a successful career built around adding emotional highs and heartfelt I-loved-that-book sighs to your readers' (sometimes tough) lives?ReplyDelete
Raising my glass to you and all proud Mills & Boon / Harlequin authors and readers.
Thank you, Bronwyn. It's so annoying when someone tries to undermine us, no matter what it is about. Raising a glass back to you.ReplyDelete
Oh, for heaven's sake! Where on earth were her manners? Do people mean to be deliberately rude...or are they just clueless? I'm becoming a grumpy old woman these day and refuse to take this kind of stuff quietly anymore. I'd have asked her if she was being deliberately offensive. Most people back off after that (though it might be the martial light that comes into my eyes that really scares them. ;-) ).ReplyDelete
LOL, Michelle. I came close, believe me, but her brother is a good friend, and he has all my books as his late wife was a big fan.ReplyDelete
But yeah, I was fit to bust.
Sue, I know what you mean! I was in a similar situation a while ago and the woman's comments left me feeling as though she thought I was on a par with the scum of the earth. It was so unkind and uncalled for. How I longed to be articulate and say something profound to make her at least understand how rude she was being. But I was so gobsmacked that I couldn't think of anything that wasn't just as cruel as her comments. I tell myself that I refused to stoop to her level of nastiness... but there's a bit of me that thinks I might just be a big old chicken and avoiding conflict. (sigh)ReplyDelete
Sharon, I totally get where you were coming from. It's a balancing act. I wanted to make a speech but we were with friends. And anyway, I know what we authors do is great and I must not forget that. None of us should.ReplyDelete
Ah Sue. Yes, I think we have all been there!ReplyDelete
A recent survey found that 60% of people want to be an author and that is their dream job. So, we are all living the dream and I think that is pretty damn fine.
I'm still so impressed with your amazing achievements - you write for a global, hugely successful publisher who only ever publishes the best - and if some silly woman can't see that, then she doesn't deserve your fabulous friendship.
Sniff, sniff, Jennifer. That's lovely. And you're so right. Move on, and remember all the wonderful people in my life.Delete
Oh yes, I've been in that position many times already in my short writing career. I had someone ask me once if I felt that I was giving women false expectations about relationships, to which I replied if you think true love isn't achievable then maybe you need to raise your expectations.ReplyDelete
My man sounds much like yours - has never read one of my books but supports me (and defends me) with such passion :) Really, so long as he supports me and my career choices I couldn't give two hoots what other people say.
It's the best job in the world!
Stefanie, that's a great answer. I must remember that. Isn't it wonderful our men are behind us all the way - with our careers.ReplyDelete