Official Website for Fantasy Author E.L. Lyons
Yesterday Olivia and I recorded my first author interview over at Chronicles and Coffee!
The first half of it was just posted and can be found here, and I’ll link the second half when it comes out on Friday!
This was so much fun and such a rewarding experience overall. I’d like to talk a bit about the monster in this interview, my social anxiety, but first, a bit about how this connection with Livi has come about and how it’s a little different from my other bookish connections in the community.
After Facebook banned me from promoting and I had to completely refigure my advertising strategy, I was… so lost on what I was going to do. It was becoming clear that none of the reviewers I emailed were going to respond even to reject me. Getting people to read a 170k word book that you’re not entirely sure the subgenre of is very difficult. I decided to make a Twitter since I couldn’t advertise on Facebook.
Then I saw a post there by Olivia offering to review books, so I shot her a message to ask if she would review Starlight Jewel—and she agreed. Her agreeing was the little glimmer of hope that I needed at a time when literally nothing was going right. My launch hit so many roadblocks, and here was a stranger offering help and asking for nothing in exchange.
And what could I have even given exchange? I had no platform to stand on myself, much less lift anyone up. I’ll come back to this in a minute.
She read and reviewed my book—with a small interruption from a hurricane—and it was a great review. It was long and detailed and gave an accurate sense of the world and characters, perfect. And I had no idea how to give back. I started running into some other bloggers and interacting with them and got reviews from a couple and it always left me with this feeling that I wasn’t doing enough.
At some point it clicked that what they were looking for was meaningful interaction. I have no idea how and when this clicked, over the course of several weeks, I think.
I know that they say it all the time, but I think we’ve all become immune to it: Like, share, comment. Acknowledgement, exposure, interaction. The least you should be doing to form a connection in this community is liking and sharing, but really, interacting can’t be understated. As an introvert, this isn’t the easiest for me.
I saw that she was starting a podcast, loved the content, and felt like that was my opportunity to start giving back to her a little by commenting and sharing.
Then I thought it would be such a neat thing if the first book blogger to review one of my books was also the first to interview me—and her being so casual and relaxed was perfect, because I am not at all casual and relaxed. I’m a very anxious sort of person, and doing something new is always another layer of stress.
I was so excited that she agreed to do that first episode with me and over the moon that we’re going to be able to do a second in April!
She puts out an immense amount of quality content and has insight on so many different aspects of the book community. She reads, reviews, writes, interviews, takes college courses on writing, edits, and more. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more well-rounded or kinder person in the book community.
In addition to her podcast, she has an active Twitter, a blog filled with rich articles and reviews, and an Instagram chock full of gorgeous book photos!
So… now to my interview monster: social anxiety. I felt like I was going to have a heart attack during the entire interview.
Even when I was having fun and talking about topics I loved, my throat was tight, my ears were pounding, and I had palpitations. I also struggled to articulate concepts, and words all seemed… complicated.
Social anxiety doesn’t make any sort of sense to me really. And that was highlighted in this interview when in greater context I said, “I love people” and immediately malfunctioned.
The words were so foreign coming out of my mouth and they weren’t really what I intended to say. I love thinking about how people think and act and how they developed into who they are—there’s nothing I would rather do less than be around people. Not because I dislike people, but because I physically begin to feel ill from the stress I feel in the presence of people. And for no apparent reason. Even if I don’t care what someone thinks, I know I’ll never see them again, and there’s nothing at all at stake, my brain reacts like I’m in a life or death situation.
In addition to the somewhat ironic and absurd statement “I love people,” several other unintended things came out of my mouth. I said my website designer knows nothing about books, which is wholly untrue. I meant he knows nothing about my book. I said marsh trotter when I meant march tacky. I’m pretty sure I mispronounced my writing mentor’s name—I’ve apparently never said it aloud. I realized I’d never said it the moment it came out of my mouth, and then since I was thinking about how I probably mispronounced it… I of course said it again after regretting saying it the first time.
I also said my dad was in and out of jail for most of my childhood, which was a gross oversimplification—more accurately, he was in and out of my life from ages 9-19, and for some of the times he was out of my life, it was because he was in jail. He certainly wasn’t in jail for “most of my childhood.”
And… my brain went blank several times, including when asked to talk about my book. I prepared a 5-page outline to reference in this interview—I wrote nothing in it about my book, because my book is my life, I know everything about it. How could I forget? I did.
But even if I had written something down, as it turns out, I was too stressed to understand the written word. When talking about connections in the community, I had wanted to mention several people, so I had their names in the outline. I went to reference that section, and I could see all the letters, but none of the letters turned into words in my mind.
In any case, social anxiety can be crippling at times. But for things that are important to me, I can push through it. As you’re listening, for both entertainment and empathy purposes, imagine me as the librarian of my brain, austere and organized and well spoken, but each thought I’m trying to get out of my mouth is a squirrel high on meth that must be captured, packaged, and mailed off. That’s precisely how it felt.
I expect the next interview will be much, much less stressful, and even more fun!
Negative Reviews and authors’ bad behavior