Before I Was an Author . . .  

Posted by Heidi in

… I put Writers of Books on a pedestal, as if they somehow existed in a higher plane.

. . . I idealized authors as these romantic figures who bend over their word processor of choice (pen, pencil, typewriter, computer, some fantastical device not yet invented but most likely on Apple’s drawing board as we so-to-speak) as the rest of their life glides effortlessly along and in the background, only to intrude on their writerly thoughts when convenient.

. . . I thought of them as somehow brighter and better than your average citizen, and invulnerable to the slings and arrows of life.

Now that I am an actual author (still pinching myself over that one, especially now that Actual Book Number Two, otherwise known as Miss Delacourt Has Her Day but heretofore known in this blog as MD2, is a For Sure Thing and due to come out Feb. 2011 barring Acts of God and the total collapse of the U.S. economy or Civilization as We Know It) I know that none of that is true.

I feel that the bio blurbs on book jackets are partly to blame. “When not writing, so-and-so spends her spare time taking long walks on the beach,” or “ . . . relaxing in her enormous house” or “ . . .doing research in England” or, “something really great” as seen on the dust jacket of Hugh Laurie’s (as in House fame but formerly as in Jeeves and Wooster fame for which I will always adore him) tome, The Gun Seller, which proves to be an excellent, witty read based on the bio alone (or maybe it was the plot blurb that was so hysterical--I would link to it if I could find it again) which, if one did not realize (as I did not before becoming an author) is written by The Author.

If I haven’t said it before, I’ll say it now (or again, whichever the case may be) I feel uncomfortable being “glamorized” for being an author because, let me tell you, it’s not what it’s cut out to be (do people even use that expression anymore?). Like I said, those bio blurbs are at least partially to blame for my misapprehensions as to the life a published author leads.

That’s why, this time around, I am going to go rogue and write something like this:

When not writing, Yours Truly is being interrupted non-stop by needy children who have forgotten how to multiply two times four and think if they ask often enough you will produce the answer, as well as the family dog who insists on sitting at your feet at the computer desk and fluffing incessantly, none of whom care that the cover blurb and bio for the dust jacket for your up-coming novel are a week over-due all while seeming to believe that dishes wash themselves and dinner magically appears through no effort of any kind. She also loves to piddle around in the garden, sleep, and in her spare time, gain copious amounts of weight while traveling the world via the T.V. and consuming criminal amounts of peanut M&M's or hunt for any of the three pairs of reading glasses she needs in addition to her contacts in order to read her email. Miss Delacourt Has Her Day is her second vain attempt at fame and fortune via Avalon Books.

Then again, perhaps there’s a reason that “classic” is classic. Perhaps I should go with something more like this:

When not penning her novels, Your Trulyl Again, a San Francisco Bay Area native, can be found in her spectacular garden, breathing in the heady scent of mingled roses and orange blossoms, soon to be the high notes of her signature perfume to be sold exclusively at Nieman Marcus; or at the beach, her perfectly manicured bichon frise playfully nipping at her feet while her brilliant children tag along behind in harmonious amity. She spends as much time as possible in her 5,000 square foot beach cottage on the coast where she and her golden-tanned and wildly rich husband recline on a bed suspended over the tidewaters of the Pacific, the sounds of crashing waves below obscured only by the murmuring of her husband’s voice as he breathes sweet nothings in her ear.

Er . . . , perhaps sticking to the truth is best:

You Know Who, author of Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind, loves to read, write and spend time in her garden. She is grateful that her husband and children, always her first priorities, are so understanding about her attempts to fit the writing of novels into everyday life. When not parenting, gardening, or writing, she rocks the casbah with her pre-eminent skills at Guitar Hero. Miss Delacourt Has Her Day is her second novel with Avalon Books.

I have to admit, number two is looking better and better. What’s the point of being a fiction writer if you don’t get to write fiction?

(Here There be Dragons to be continued next time . . .)

This entry was posted on Monday, April 26, 2010 at Monday, April 26, 2010 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

41 wise, witty and wonderful comments

I"m first!!!!!

April 26, 2010 at 4:26 PM


April 26, 2010 at 4:26 PM

Hee hee hee

This is so funny. And so right on! I am always shocked when I meet writers, especially since I just met a whole bunch of them.

We're a quirky lot.

It's hard to think of how we probably disappoint our fans with our reality. (That's future tense for me).

The keynote speaker at the LDS storymakers was hilarious. He said writers need to prepare physically to be writers. The better looking you are the better. Especially Romance writers. DeNae and I giggled over that. It doesn't seem to be the norm. You are the prettiest and classiest romance writer in the land.

But then I haven't met you yet. hee hee hee

Can't wait!

April 26, 2010 at 4:29 PM

I've actually had that same reaction after meeting some very big name bloggers. I came away realizing that they are just regular, normal people, who people tend to know better than others.

April 26, 2010 at 4:33 PM

I like all three versions--they make my bio drop its head in shame and tears.

April 26, 2010 at 4:42 PM

A bed suspended over the Pacific. Man, you are in the right genre!

I think dust jackets actually sell books (so much for not judging a book by it's cover). Are you going to get your picture on it this time?

April 26, 2010 at 5:26 PM

I had the same reaction. Writers, even published writers are still just real people.
I think when I get my book done the cover will say, "In Carolyn's spear time, she likes to finish the laundry, get dinner on the table before the kids are ready for bed, and relaxes by brushing her teeth after running around trying to get her kids in bed.

April 26, 2010 at 5:27 PM

Crash, you silly! I thought you blogged about meeting Melanie J. I don't stand a chance in the pretty and classy department with MJ around. Sorry, I don't know Denae. Becky--you're so cute! Kazzy--I saw a bed like that on a show called "bodacious bedrooms" or something like that. It's not my brain child, that's for sure. Avalon doesn't do photos of authors on their covers but once a month they feature one on their website and post a photo. If they ever want to interview me, I hope they give me time to get dolled up first. I hear there's a long wait time for plastic surgery. Carolyn--you mean, you have dinner on the table before the kids go to bed? I think I might have a table around here, somewhere .. .

April 26, 2010 at 5:31 PM

Oh, this post made me laugh! I admit, I was a little star-struck this past weekend, but all the authors were very real and down-to-earth.

You mean you don't spend your spare time eating gourmet chocolate and attending grape juice tastings? :D

April 26, 2010 at 5:57 PM

Oh, Heidi, how I've missed reading you, my witty, distant cousin! All those blurbs made me laugh. :)

April 26, 2010 at 6:10 PM

I vote for #1 - then you can go for the humor as well as the romance genre!

I'll have to say, I was quite intimidated meeting you - being a real author and all!! Apparently I'm one of those pedestal people too!

April 26, 2010 at 8:17 PM

Personally, I like the first one best! :)

April 26, 2010 at 8:27 PM

I think my bio says something about how I kill house plants in my spare time. It may get a little more active than that around here, but it doesn't necessarily get more interesting.

April 26, 2010 at 9:40 PM

way to go crash. Congrats on being first.

Ahem, I am waiting not patiently for the rest of the story.

I agree that it is fairly earth shattering to grow up and find out that real life does not adhere to fairy tale expectations.

And you want to know Denae, trust me, she is a hoot and a holler, and for those of us needing a reason to smile, she is there for us.

April 26, 2010 at 9:48 PM

Pat, maybe one day I'll make you smile, too. Melanie--I'm starting to worry about your roses. Sorry about that book length email on the care and nurture of. Rachel, me too! Val--really? See, that's just so weird. I'm just me. I hope you're okay with me, now. Alyson--I have missed you too! Glad you're back! Rebecca--hee hee! No. I am actually a bit of a hermit. It's very sad. Maybe I'll write a story about it. It'll probably have dragons in it.

April 26, 2010 at 10:26 PM

Oh Heidi, you're so modest. We know the truth about you. :) And I agree that a fiction author (not a fictional or fictitious author) should be able to use their skills in their bio as well. Why suddenly switch to non-fiction? That would be weird.

I think we should start a thing where bloggers write a more in depth bio for their sidebar. What fun!

April 26, 2010 at 11:55 PM

A very witty post. :)

April 27, 2010 at 5:25 AM

Heidi, I did not in any wy mean to say that you do not make me smile, this post made me smile a lot. I was just saying that Denae is a kindred spirit and if you don't know her yet, you should.

April 27, 2010 at 7:39 AM

I was JUST thinking about Miss Delacourt today. Why must I wait till Feb. 2011? That's far too far away!

Also, I really like your first one. Not only is it amusing, but I think people (or maybe just me) can appreciate the fact that you're willing to say life isn't always easy. If I didn't already like you, reading that kind of bio would make me like you:)

April 27, 2010 at 9:06 AM

This was brilliantly funny and true! Love you, just like you are. :)

April 27, 2010 at 9:41 AM

I am laughing and laughing at this Heidi. I feel exactly the same. My bio makes me sound like such a gentle soul with a together life. I loved this post. Thanks for the great laugh and for being honest.

I will re-think my bio now.

April 27, 2010 at 9:52 AM

Reading all three I'm just impressed at your skills anyway, I couldn't write any of those and make them sound so witty and fun! You're so awesome Heidi, and a huge CONGRATS on MD2!!!

April 27, 2010 at 10:58 AM

I like the last version, its kind of alive and paints a picture all on its own. :)

April 27, 2010 at 11:29 AM

I love them all! Especially the first one, because I can relate to it so well!

April 27, 2010 at 11:58 AM

Ha! That's great. I love the second one! It seems to ooze a bit of sarcasm, and in Callie's words, that makes it "funky fresh." But really, they all made me laugh -- and I love that you regularly rock the casbah.

April 27, 2010 at 12:34 PM

I like the first one. Call me weird (most people do) but I like it. Don't know if your editor would, but I'm certain I'm not the only one that would appreciate it. I'd love to read a dust jacket bio that made me laugh for once.

April 27, 2010 at 12:52 PM

I love that you rock the casbah, Heids. In fact, that makes me love you even more--if it's possible.

I think if I have an author bio it will say something like
"L.T. Elliot wrote this book but forgot to write the bio for it. Google her and if she's lucky, she'll be around there someplace."

April 27, 2010 at 4:38 PM

I knew you would write another book! Yea!!!!

April 27, 2010 at 4:49 PM

I would love to live the life of your second bio--at least for a while, but I don't think I would want to read a book from someone who lives like that. What could she possibly write about that would relate to my life?

Congrats on having your second book out in February. We (me and my daughters) look forward to reading it.

April 27, 2010 at 6:04 PM

I love the nitty-gritty bio - well, that and the bichon frise (which I originally read as a type of bison, or otherwise a manicure, since it was around your feet). I think we all like a little romanticization in our bios, if we write them ourselves. I guess that's partly why we read fiction in the first place. I love Robin Mckinley, and she married another author, Peter Dickenson, and moved to England, and has a huge garden. Sigh, and and it's all true. But often actually when I read an author's bio it makes me sad, because they don't mention marriage, or they have no children, but only pets (including Robin's bio, but then she didn't get married until later in life, so that's understandable). Because as much as I like the idea of living on the beach with orange blossoms, children are infinitely more fulfilling. But, since your dream bio includes them, in all their amity, I think you're good to go!

April 28, 2010 at 7:06 AM

Don't ask me why I said, "we" in references to writing a bio, since the last fiction I wrote was as a ninth grader in high school. I suppose I meant in life, if someone asked me to write a bio, for some un-known reason, it wouldn't include the fact that everytime I turn on the computer, I inevitably have two small children that have to sit on the same chair with me, at the same time, and tug at me in two different directions, until I finally give up on any "me" time. It would have something about my darling daughters, and how we live harmoniously in our quaint (read: small - same size as your house - 1000 sq feet) cottage (townhouse apartment) with educational activities (Unstructured play while I take naps because I'm tired).

Hey, so, I just realized like what Lisa talked about, I'm just going on and on about me here - but that's what's comments are for, right? I liked what you said on her blog about women and the way we talk to each other.

April 28, 2010 at 7:10 AM

I still hold you up on a pedestal. : )

April 28, 2010 at 2:07 PM

I'm thinking the fictional one is awesome, except that you cannot have a Bichon Frise. You need a chihuahua. Because they are annoying and everyone would realize just how annoying that fictional person is.

Ah, maybe you should just go with number three.

E-mail me if you still want input on the other? I'm just barely coming out of my post trip/trip/writers conference stupor.

April 28, 2010 at 2:57 PM

I LOVE this post! :D

I found it hard enough writing my blogger bio....

April 28, 2010 at 3:47 PM

I dare you to submit that for your bio...I double dog dare you!

April 28, 2010 at 4:49 PM

I hope I don't disappoint you by telling you that I don't hold you on a pedestal as a writer. Wait. That sounds terrible. What I'm trying to say is that as awesome as Miss D is, knowing some of the trials you have to overcome in your daily life is even more impressive. My burdens aren't nearly as weighty, and yet I haven't even started on my book.

For the record, I loved all three bios!

April 28, 2010 at 7:04 PM

Oh, Heidi, you rock the casbah & then some.

I say go rogue!!!!

April 28, 2010 at 11:13 PM

I love this post. You are so refreshing.

First off, don't we always put people on these pedestals and forget about their human-ness? Just because they published a book or sing at the Met?

And I love all your bios. Especially the first one. I would totally buy whatever book carried a bio like that.

That said, bio writing is the worst. But I think I might employ you to write mine the next time I need one. :)

April 29, 2010 at 5:23 PM

that had me giggling. YES, we'd all love to write a book jacket of fantasy, cause fantasy is where we go for escape I guess.
BUT, I like the REAL you. It is someone we can relate too. Fell compassion for and identify with----even though we/ME don't write.

I feel YOU as a sister, friend,
fantasy is just where we go to live that "once upon a time" feeling.
then we move on

April 29, 2010 at 7:58 PM

I think I like numero tres. I can't wait to read MD2. And about Hugh Laurie, he is fab. I love him in Sense and Sensibility. He had a small part, but super funny.

And you are pretty darn amazing.

April 30, 2010 at 9:22 PM

Well, I know I am anxiously awaiting the second book, no matter what is written on the jacket!

May 2, 2010 at 2:00 PM

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