In less than a year I’ve made the transition from freelance writer and local newspaper columnist to an author. With two releases currently out in the world and more lined up in queue, I am not anonymous in the small town where I live. Since I’ve written columns for more than one local paper over a several year period, I am well-adjusted to the occasional stranger who steps up to me in the supermarket to ask if I am “the lady that writes for the paper”.
Because of that I’ve long made an effort to make sure I am reasonably neat and presentable when I head out to run errands or do some shopping. I learned that lesson the hard way when I went to Lowe’s for more plants on spring in old cut off denim shorts, grubby from crawling around the yard, sunburned, and hair in an unflattering ponytail – and saw more people that I do in an average week. Now I do put on a little make-up and wear neat, clean clothing. I may be dressed in my favorite jeans and t-shirt but by gosh, they will be without rips or dirt these days. Since my longer fiction, unlike most of my short fiction, is romance of one flavor or another, I decided to let my hair down, literally for a local author fair last weekend. My hair is both long and thick, falling down to the middle of my back. Most of the time I wear it swept up on top of my head, either caught in a hair comb or skewered in place with giant hair pins like the ones my Granny used. I do it for practicality – hard to do house work, garden, or even write if my long abundant locks are flowing in every direction. At the author fair however I thought since I’m a romance author maybe I shouldn’t appear looking like a 19th century school teacher with my hair up in a tight knot. So I took more time with my hair than I have since my kids were born.
Twins followed by a single son don’t leave a mom much time for hair styling. I have a lot of natural curl in my hair so I dried it so that it would curl and let it hang. People I have known for years didn’t recognize me at first at the event and when the compliments began coming my way, I decided that I should let my hair down, literally, more often. By the end of the day, as we dined at my favorite restaurant, our server asked me if I was “the lady who makes books”. I admitted that I was, gave her a book, and took away more compliments. Being told that I looked prettier with my hair down is satisfying enough; reading the same message in a few male eyes is heady stuff.
So now, besides slapping on at least basic make-up, I take a little more trouble with my hair and wardrobe. I suppose the image of an author must be maintained.
These days, I tend to want to pinch my own wrist on occasion since in less than twelve months, I have two novels out (WOLFE’S LADY and LOVE TATTOO from Evernight Publishing), a sequel to LOVE TATTOO coming in June, LOVE SCARS, and six other novels spread between July 2011 and May 2012. I now write for four e-presses, Evernight Publishing, Champagne Books, Rebel Ink Press, and as of last week, Astraea Press. Living the dream as an author is an awesome experience but it requires many hours of hard work and now I’ve learned that appearance is important too!