Friday, September 11, 2009

What do family and friends think of your career?

What do my husband, family and friends think of my writing?

This is a question I get frequently in interviews, probably because I write erotic romance. Since I believe in being completely honest (or joking around if I can’t be) I’ll give you the surprising truth.

My husband tells me I’m the coolest wife ever. Okay, that’s not so surprising. At first he wasn’t very supportive, thinking this was just another “pipe dream.” But eventually he realized that this writing thing made me happy and I was working my fingers to the bone to succeed. Now he’s a big fan and wants to read all my work as soon as it’s finished. I’m glad I didn’t let his earlier feelings discourage me! He says he even tells the guys at work about it now. They all think I’m the coolest wife ever too. One guy said, “Let’s compare wives. Accountant? Erotica writer? You win.”

My daughter vacillates between being proud of me and refusing to acknowledge I’m her mother. “Just don’t tell my friends,” she says. Okay, I can understand that. But once in a while one of her friends or coworkers wants to know where they can buy my books. Ah ha! She does talk about what I do and I’ll bet she even says it proudly. But does she read my books? No. Never. And that’s fine with me!

Let’s see… How about the in-laws? Well, my father-in-law and his third wife think it’s great that I have a career and make some money to contribute to the household. Do they read it? Nope. They’re “nice” people who go to Mass every Sunday and volunteer in soup kitchens. Of course, I could be completely wrong. One never knows what goes on behind closed doors. (Unless you write erotic romance and have a good imagination.) *wink.

My mother-in-law. This was the biggest surprise. When she broke her hip, she stayed with us for a month and I took care of her. She saw how hard I work and then, without my knowledge, she picked up an anthology with one of my short stories in it! Oh my goodness. I almost fainted when I heard that she read it. But, she liked it, and said so! She even told me about the parts she especially liked so there’s no doubt in my mind that she did, indeed, read the whole story. Okay, score a whole bunch of cool points for my mother-in-law.

Now friends and neighbors. What an odd mix of reactions I get from them! Friends support my career. As far as I know there’s only one who wants to read my books and is waiting impatiently for the ebooks to come out in paperback. Several neighbors, however, freaked out and don’t invite me to any more Tupperware parties. Aww… I’m crying into my checkbook, which used to bleed green because of all their product parties!

The upshot of this article is: if they love you, they only want your happiness and will continue to associate with you. If they don’t, perhaps you were never truly friends in the first place.

Ashlyn Chase
Where there's fire, there's Ash
www.ashlynchase.com

19 comments:

  1. I haven't had anyone snub me because of what I write yet, but I still keep a low profile locally and write under a pen name. My husband is supportive, but he has only read the book I self-published and none of the Cat Star Chronicles--though some of his friends at work have read them.

    For the most part, my friends and coworkers are proud of me. Some read my books and some don't, but I'm still the "writer" in the bunch, and they always seek me out when they can't spell a word or can't think of just how to put it when they go to chart about some bizarre thing one of their patients did. I can be out with them and I never have to mention the books to anyone, they do it for me!

    My sisters have both read my books, but my husband's family (to my knowledge) have not. My parents and my inlaws had all passed away before I ever published anything, but I think my father would have enjoyed them. After all, he's the one I inherited the writing ability from, and the, um, other tendencies....

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  2. A very interesting side to a romance writer's life, Ashlyn! Even though I don't write them, I do work with them, and it's always funny to me the variety of responses I get when I tell people what I do everyday!

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  3. Cheryl,

    Like yours, my family of origin passed away before I was published. But I knew my parents would want me to follow my dream, so that's what I did with my inheritance. I paid off the mortgage and my hubby agreed to pay the bills and let me write full-time.

    Even though my parents were not fans of the romance genre, I know they'd be proud of me for my accomplishments. They always were. Whether it was a good report card or learning how to swim, I could always count on an "atta girl." I miss that, but I picture them applauding me from wherever they are now and it helps.

    Ash

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  4. My husband has always been very supportive. Even when it was purely just a "hobby" I was doing for fun and posting on JAFF sites, he was 100% behind me. It was his insistence that made me get a laptop and start my own website! I know I still wouldn't be writing if not for him. Now he is almost ridiculous in how proud he is! He gives away far more business cards than me, and has spun his own story of "how it all began."

    The rest of my family are very supportive and excited for me, although only my sister and mom have read the novels in their entirety.

    Many of my work buddies have read them. And of course I get the teases about all the blushing and fanning of faces while reading my sexy stuff! One of the docs bought it purposely to spice up his mom's life! LOL! He says that all she will say is that she liked it and wants the next ones, but refuses to talk to him about it!

    I was most concerned about ladies in my church. But oddly enough they universally think it is great and have zero problem with the intimacy. So much for the stereotype of stuffy religious folks. :)

    Great blog, Ash.

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  5. How wonderful that your family and friends are rooting for you, Sharon.
    Your husband sounds like a keeper!

    Ash

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  6. Oh, EVERYONE who knows me knows what I write. Most of the neighbors have read it, my grandmother is my first reader, my mom, sister and Dad have all read it (Dad says it wasn't as "bad" - i.e. sexy - as other books he's read [which makes me wonder what else he's reading!!!] and he enjoyed the adventure). Hubs read it and when he put it down, asked if he could read the next one. I have an ARC of Wild Blue Under and said he could read that but he wasn't allowed to break the spine, or bend the pages. "Too much pressure," he said. "I'll wait for the book to come out." Like you, Ash, he's the reason I am where I am today - without his support and pushing me, who knows.

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  7. Hi Ashlyn,

    Sounds like you have a fabulous husband! So do I. My husband has always been my biggest fan. And like Sharon, my extended family and friends absolutely love it that I'm an author.

    Amelia

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  8. Sounds like Judi and Amelia are lucky too! Thank goodness for supportive husbands.

    It was hard for me in the beginning. I Forgot to mention, my hubby gave me a year to get published, otherwise I had to go and get a 'real' job.

    A year? I told him what he could do with his year, and then I treated it like any other challenge...something I would either do or die trying!

    1 year to the weekend, I received my first contract offer. I gave a big shout out to my RWA friends and a big raspberry to my husband.

    Fortunately, he's a big enough person to say, "Good for you" and get on board, even if a little late. LOL

    Ash

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  9. My husband is the one who encouraged me to have a go at erotic romance in the first place, he will always be my number one fan.

    My mother in law reads everything I publish, which is not something I like to think about in too much detail to be honest!

    My family know I write, most know what I write but none of them want to read it, that is fine by me. They're supportive of my writing though.

    It's lovely to be so well supported. :)

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  10. I had to get up to book #30 before there was any stirring of interesting beyond my immediate family, and even now it's "Oh, yes, that's right, you do those book things..." (I publishing primarily in the electronic markets). I would die of shock if any of my family actually read a book of mine, especially if it was one I didn't give to them gratis first.

    So the fact that I write romance (erotic or not) hasn't even been an issue to this point. If I ever hit a best seller list, I seriously doubt it'll be an event in my family. The rest of the world, perhaps. My family will barely notice.

    Sad, but true. And the fact that I can write it on this blog, in public, and know that I'm sure that none of my family will ever read it demonstrates my point. ~sigh~

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  11. Thanks for weighing in, Victoria! So, your hubby wanted you to do this even before you started! How cool is he?

    Brits have always surprised me anyway. (grins)

    Ash

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  12. Oh, Tracy,

    I totally feel your pain. Just believe in yourself, darlin'. That's the one person you have to please. If no one else "gets it" but it makes you happy, it's still worth doing. Perhaps they'll come around.

    Hugs,

    Ash

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  13. Funny thing was I got snubbed when I first wrote traditional romance or "those books" and I had more than one person comment how nice for me to have a hobby.

    Linda

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  14. GREAT post, Ash!

    Most of my family is supportive. My DH and my son don't read my books, but they don't read ANY fiction, so I don't feel insulted. I know my DH talks up my books to his friends and co-workers and he has always been very supportive and proud of me. :-)

    My former MIL (whom I ADORE) and my DH's Aunt Liz (whom I also ADORE) have both read my books and were very excited about both of them. These ladies are 85 and 89 and neither said one word about the sex scenes, just what GREAT stories they were.

    My sister has read my first book and liked it. My Sis-in-law said she couldn't read "those parts" knowing I'd written them! LOL! Several of my nieces are very enthusiastic about my books, and my brother's 19 year old step-daughter just told me she LOVED Wild Sight.

    So it is a pretty mixed bag for me too, not that I will EVER let one person's opinion stop me from reading or writing what I love.

    AC

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  15. How wonderful that your 80+ year-old relatives are excited about your writing, Loucinda!

    My 80+ year-old aunty said, "What...Did you think you were going to teach me something? Where do you think you all came from?" LOL!

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  16. My family don't mind my little hobby but only my Mum and youngest son seem to care how much it means to me.

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  17. My daughter and my father are BOTH great fans of my childrens' series (first published, sequel planned in time for Christmas, others to follow)

    On the other hand, while my (16-y-o) daughter LOVES my plays (Liverpool-flavoured!) my (86-y-o) father thinks they're "a bit rude" (language) .... can't please everyone!

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  18. You said it, Paul!

    I gave my first book to come out in paperback to my husband's grammy, because she insisted she wanted to read it. It wasn't hot enough for the publisher's erotic imprint, so I figured it would be all right, even though it had some graphic sex and language.

    It wasn't all right. She was pretty horrified. But the woman reads Danielle Steel! It all changes where they're related to you!

    Ash

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  19. I love it, Ash, and soooo agree!!! :)

    Waving hi from Toronto and had a nice dinner with Michele last night and a couple of others from her chapter, so I'm having fun!

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