Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Coming Out Of The Closet, er, Coffin

Talking about being a vampire book writer can be weird.

In non-book-related situations, I mean.

I've only recently come "out of the coffin" in general and let everyone know that I write vampire books. And, not only do I write regular vampire books, but my alter ego/evil twin writes smut vampire books (as my brother calls them).

I've lived in Boulder, CO for a long time, and I've built up various reputations here: first as a tarot reader/psychic and then, as I got more degrees and gathered more education, a counselor/psychotherapist, hypnotherapist and college instructor. I was lucky enough to write a weekly newspaper column for a few years.

Since Boulder is a metaphysical/holistic/"granola" kind of place, people have come to expect certain things from me.

Vampires don't usually fit into their ideas about who I am and what I do.

For example, I participated in a metaphysical fair recently where I did Tarot readings and sold my guided hypnotherapy CDs. I had my book cover postcards on my table, and people frequently picked them up to investigate. I can't tell you the number of times the postcard was thrown back onto the table with a gasp, and -- eyes wide -- the person would inevitably say something about "how could such a lightworker such as you (meaning me), have anything to do with something so dark and satanic as vampires." Wow. Shades of my childhood. But the annoying regularity of the reaction caused me to put my cover photo postcards under the table so as to soothe the fragile sensibilities of the fair participants. Their reactions really took me by surprise. I guess I'd assumed they'd be more open-minded. In my world, metaphysical, paranormal and supernatural all go together.

Well, lessons learned. Will I be holding any booksigning events at metaphysical book stores? Probably not. Well, maybe a pagan one here and there.

But, I'm letting all my clients know about the sale of my book and its upcoming availability. Even psychotherapists have shadowy corners. Will they run, screaming? Gee, my bank balance hopes not!

And speaking of bank balances, I was thrilled to get a nice royalty check from the epub my alter ego sold her novella to. Quite surprisingly delightful.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, one would think that the clientele you had would have approached your writing with more of an open mind. I'm actually surprised at their response. See how much I know?? ;) I write more of a funny, Chick Lit style, so I'm constantly asked when I am going to write a real novel. I have to refrain from hitting them...although I did punch the President of the bank where I work when he introduced me to a new employee as 'the smut writer'. He hasn't fired me yet (fingers crossed!). :)

6:45 PM  
Blogger Kathleen Scott/MK Mancos said...

You're a better woman than me. I think I would have made a comment about them supposedly being more open-minded. (Now, I'm actually out there selling books, I have to check my quick tongue these days.) - You know, enough people love vampire books that you don't have to worry. There will always be an audience for them. And some of them will no doubt be the people who threw the card back down in shock.

That said, I get weird looks when I tell people I've written and sold a vampire novel. They know I write sci-fi and paranormals with creatures like the Jersey Devil. So, me writing a vampire novel was a little too "normal" for what my friends have come to think as my niche.

It is eye popping though.


6:53 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Lewis said...

Wow, I am surprised they weren't more open minded. Weird. You should tell them that medicinal "bleeding" has been around for centuries and that vampires are becoming recognized as traditional healers..... I know that when I tell people I write romance they are usually shocked (I guess I just don't come across the way they imagine a romance writer, LOL) but so far no one's dared to say anything negative.


6:54 PM  
Blogger Yasmine Galenorn said...

Hey, I get that a lot from people who don't "get" why I switched to writing fiction from metaphysical nonfiction--and non-pagan fantasy, at that. They don't get that I loved storytelling from the beginning, that my initial goals, for many many years, was to make my mark as a fantasy writer. Now I get "You're just jumping on the bandwagon" and I have to bite my tongue to say, "I was writing books like this LONG before they became popular...they just didn't manage to get published. They're in my closet."

Grit your teeth and hang on...and know that you're happy with what you do.


7:04 PM  
Blogger Lynda Hilburn said...

t.sue: I would have thought my clientele would be more open, too! But there are always going to be people who are fearful in every group. So, what? Chick Lit isn't a real novel? Ah, yes. Punching the president of the bank as a strategy to move up the corporate ladder. Hmmm. Maybe that'll work! HA! But if you're known as the smut writer, that gives you all kinds of permission to be interesting! Thanks for commenting!

Kat: Ditto on what you said about your quick tongue! But actually, anytime I hope to make a little money at an event I need to keep my yap shut. I have opinions about everything, and mostly they're politically incorrect. I agree with what you said about there being a large market for vampire books. I look forward to spending more time in places where vamp fans congregate! That's funny that vamps are too "normal" for you! What a cool niche you must have. Thanks for writing.

Jennifer: I chuckled when I read your post. Yeah, I could tell them that I can show them the ancient art of medicinal bleeding, if they'd just lean in a little this way . . . I'm glad that nobody's being nasty, yet! Thanks for the comment!

7:13 PM  
Blogger Lynda Hilburn said...

Dear Yasmine: How awesome that you're so successful in all the writing areas you wanted to pursue! I think it's amazing that you have time to write your fiction and nonfiction! I wish I had your energy. Ah, yes. People can be such a challenge. Thanks so much for commenting!

7:23 PM  
Blogger Diana Castilleja said...

Strange... But then again, I'm rarely out of my cave for more than reaffirmation that the world didn't blow up recently.

I write paranormals, and love them. To me, what I write isn't the vampire of the 1940-50's, Bella Lugosi style. And if people stil think that's what's being written, then... They are just misinformed. There's far far more than that out there.

I would have been upset if people acted like that, but by your description, they didn't know nor did they care "what" kind of writing it was. Their loss. Small minded people are forgotten two seconds after they leave.

7:37 PM  
Blogger Romantic Heretic said...

I always get strange looks when I say what I'm writing.

But I usually introduce myself as a smut writer. I do it just to get a reaction. ;) I'm such a contrary bastard.

Myself? I don't really understand it, this dividing up writing into different genres. Writing is writing. It takes the same skills, pretty much, to write a vampire story as a children's story. Shrugs.

Also, how can you understand good if you don't understand evil? Writing about the darkness in the world allows you to see the light in it as well. Pure light is as blinding as utter darkness

8:15 PM  
Blogger Lynda Hilburn said...

Diana: Yeah, sometimes I forget that everyone isn't as involved in paranormal fiction as I am, and they don't have a clue about the popularity of vampires and other multifaceted creatures. Thanks for writing!

Rob: You contrary bastard, you! That was great what you said about not being able to understand good if you can't understand evil. Well said!

10:09 PM  
Blogger Tempest Knight said...

One of the reasons I don't come "out of my coffin" is that. I live in a very small town, and live in a very Christian country. They'd not understand if I tell them I write erotic vampire romances.

5:55 AM  
Blogger Lynda Hilburn said...

Tempest: I can absolutely relate. Over the years I've encountered lots of opposition from people who weren't comfortable with my nontraditional views (when I wrote my newspaper column). I'm glad you can find ways to express all your writing talents! It really does suck that we need to hide parts of ourselves due to other peoples opinions. Thanks for commenting!

9:23 AM  
Blogger Marissa Doyle said...

I had a similar experience recently at a children's book writing conference (I write both YA and paranormal romance) when a published author of two middle-grade books started to make snide comments about romance writers and cranking out formulaic dreck. He caught himself before he could say much, but I sooooo wanted to in turn make a snide comment about how hard could it be to write books for ten-year-olds and see how HE liked the tables being turned. Writing is indeed writing no matter the genre, and none of us are hacking out our work--we're ewriting what we love and care about.

9:42 AM  
Blogger Lynda Hilburn said...

Marissa: Having to bite our tongues in public can be challenging, can't it? That author deserved a little in-his-face education, I'd say. A great book is a great book! And, speaking of great books, I can't wait for yours to come out!

9:55 AM  
Blogger Jeanne Stein said...

I've had similar experiences, Lynda. Including a cab driver who asked me if "I was saved" because he heard someone say I wrote vampire stories! Obviously, if he'd asked me that before he drove me to the airport, I'd have taken another taxi!!

Writing about vampires is the most liberating, totally enjoyable enterprise I've ever undertaken.

PS Getting those checks isn't too bad either!!

Fellow smut writer-- Jeanne Stein

10:30 AM  
Blogger Lynda Hilburn said...

Jeanne: ACK! What a rude taxi driver. I can't imagine approaching a stranger and offering an opinion about their personal business! I couldn't agree more: I love writing vampire books/stories. They've always been my favorite extraordinary beings! And the fact that I enjoy being politically incorrect is just icing on the cake (or blood on the fang) for me! Thanks for commenting!

10:47 AM  
Blogger Rosemary Carstens said...

Lynda--I'm so glad to hear you've come out of your coffin! It is so satisfying when we own up to all that we are and all that we can be. It's a GOOD thing to be complex and to have many sides to our interests and personality--that way, life is never dull!

Rosemary Carstens

8:20 PM  
Blogger Lynda Hilburn said...

Dear Rosemary: I couldn't agree more. It is good to be complex. Of course, I'd think so, being so afflicted!! (grin). Yes, I'm getting used to letting this particular aspect of myself crawl out of the crypt on a regular basis. It's actually fun! A lot less restricted than some of the other things I do. Thanks so much for commenting!

8:36 PM  
Blogger L. Rosario said...

oh yes..."the look" you get when you say "vampire romances" is one thing but tack on the word "erotic" and you get looked at like you've grown another's a shame people don't feel comfortable with themselves or with sexuality. Just think how different the world would be!!

3:52 AM  
Blogger Lynda Hilburn said...

Yes, people are strange (as the song goes). But one thing that must feel good: taking those checks to the bank. Erotica sells! I'm learning to ignore peoples' opinions about my vampires! Today I was in a vitamin store and I ran into a fellow I used to work with at the university. We made small talk for a few minutes, then that silent thing happened, where we'd exhausted our familiar ground. I waited a few heartbeats then blurted out, "I wrote a vampire book!" He gave me a blank face for a few seconds, then said, "Uh huh. Well, nice to see you!" and left. I laughed as I left the store. Ah, people . . .

7:47 PM  

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