The Big Reveal–Not

It’s almost midnight.  I should be in bed, sleeping like a sane person, except that I haven’t slept well the last several nights because I can’t quit coughing.  And last night I was up, tossing and turning with anxiety dreams over the whole coming clean to my mother about my book.  I could think of plenty of calm, rational ways to say I’d done it.  What I couldn’t think of was a single, solitary answer to “Why didn’t you tell me?” that didn’t involve me saying something potentially snarky, rude, or hateful.  Possibly all three.  It’s an incredibly emotional issue for me, one that as a clinician I know is somewhat irrational.  But you know what they say about a doctor who treats herself…

Once she got here I dropped a couple of small hints that she didn’t pick up on.  And I was so flustered that she showed up without calling ahead of time to say when she’d be coming (the house wasn’t finished being cleaned and I hadn’t had a shower yet), so I put it off.  Then we were out with the family.  We all got into a discussion about the book business as one of the cousins (not present) is in management with Books A Million.  So here I am discussing quite intelligently why brick and mortar stores are going to go under, with the exception of a handful of genres that are actually doing quite well during the recession–the DIY and…you guessed it, Romance.  So I delivered a–well not eloquent, I’m still on sinus drugs–but a well balanced speech on why Romance is doing so well, how it makes up half of ALL books sold, etc., and how it’s all about making you feel good and empowering women, and how it’s awesome and, Mom, you should read some.  It was a good lead in, right?

At which point my mother proceeds to denounce the entire genre and swears that she does not want, nor will she ever want to read romance.  For no rational reason she could voice (because narrow-minded, prejudiced people rarely have anything rational to say as a REASON for their prejudices out side of “I just don’t.”).  It was just a confirmation/repeat of the conversation we had 3 years ago.  Which is further reinforcement of why I never told her to begin with.

So I didn’t tell her, and I’m just done.  Forget it.  If it comes out in the future, whatever, I’ll deal with it then.  I’d much rather stick to my original plan, make a living, and have my “ha!”

15 thoughts on “The Big Reveal–Not

  1. Well crap. So sorry to hear it was so…awful. I don’t blame you one bit – probably would have done the same thing myself.

    Condolences…and here’s to that great “Ha!” somewhere down the road.

  2. Here, in the middle of the night, I’m still left a little empty. After channel-checking my finger part way off and singing to several genres of Christmas songs (quite well, actually, I think) I can’t help but feel injustice. Maybe to me, maybe from me. Tender mercies are falling but I can’t help but ask myself: “Is there more?”

    Sometimes the joy and the drama of life leaves me with an even greater hunger for so many things that are trapped in my heart; waiting patiently for release. There… is the loss of all those I know I won’t see again in this life; even the living. And there is the hunger for those I know love with and want so much to have with me now. Just right now.

  3. Sorry to hear all your lead-ins didn’t work out. It looks like you really tried. And I bet she has no idea what her attitude is costing her. If you can’t be open to her on this part of your life, a very important part, then there are a lot of other things you can’t, either.

    Makes me feel so good that I have both parents who are completely supportive of my writing. To the point that they ask almost every day how my Nano novel is going, and am I on-time to release my first book? Oh, and have I started on the art for the cover yet?

    Well, you have the rest of us. So, RAH Kait. 🙂

  4. Hi Kait 🙂
    I empathize with your frustration and pain.
    It’s the ones closest to us who hurt us the most.
    I think you’re right to just not let your mother know.
    As your body of work increases and your name gets out there more & more, there will come a time when she may see your name next to a book title in the paper…
    With love & best wishes,

  5. I really think she will change her tune when you’re making a living at this. The other night over dinner, writing and how I’m doing came up with the family. They asked and I told them how much I’d earned so far this month. They were impressed.

    My grandmother, of course, doesn’t like that I write sex scenes, even though the scenes aren’t that graphic to begin with. They are VERY religious. I said: “It’s romance, a certain level of naughtiness is expected in the genre.”

    And she says: “You could write clean romance.”

    And I said: “Not with paranormal romance, I can’t. Readers won’t buy it.”

    Then my grandfather (who is also fairly religious and very set in his ways about things) says: “Honey, you write whatever you want to write. If it’s making you that much money, you can write whatever you want.”


    So basically, the moral of this story is… your mother MAY stay like my grandmother… or she may surprise you like my grandfather. There is no real way to know how family members will ultimately react until they start to see you as having a ‘writing career’. But in general, attitudes will change.

    Even my mother is grudgingly accepting of the erotica I write under a different name. And she doesn’t like that I write sex, period. (Which I’ve never really understood. It’s not like I’m a porn star. It’s just words on paper. But I digress.)

    It’s just easier for people to judge things if you aren’t making a living doing it. But once you are (and you’ll get there), the attitudes of many will change. So there is hope your mom could be in that camp.

    And if she isn’t, that sucks, but it’s her issue, not yours. She should be supportive of you and what you’re doing.

  6. Also, I’m sorry it’s causing you so much stress and anxiety. Having dealt with my family on MANY issues on which we disagree fundamentally, I can totally understand that. But over time, things tend to settle down some. Also, sorry my last comment was like an epic novel.

  7. Hey Kait,
    I read your earlier post on this and wondered how you could go about telling your mom – obviously it would have been awkward for you if you hadn’t said anything and then your in-laws started talking about it before her. But she seems to have dug herself into a hole there and won’t change, unless you do get your ha! moment in a few years (and you know we’re all gunning for that [g]).

    How does she choose which books she reads, then? I mean, obviously there are romances out there that aren’t my cup of tea but what’s she judging by? Ridiculous cover art? If I’d gone by that alone I’d never have picked up Joanna Bourne’s historical romances and she’s the best author in the genre from the past few years, hands down.

    Or Outlander, has she read that? It’s not a genre romance, of course, but it might be a good introduction for her, since the entire series is such a wonderful amalgam of history and romance and so on.

    I just can’t see why she’d close herself off from a slew of books like that all in one fell swoop. Couldn’t you call yours YA and get her to read it that way? But then, I can see why you wouldn’t want to do that either – why try to go halfway if she won’t read it just cos you wrote it.

    I wonder what my mom will think when she finally reads my romance… all she’s seen from me so far is MG and non-fiction. Though I told her the plot of a romance that came to me in a dream and she said ‘sounds great; just stick a few love scenes in there and sell it!’

    So she’s got some funny ideas herself about how publishing works…

  8. I should probably read over the other comments more fully before I add mine again. Now that we’re on the same page, though, let me say that I envy anyone who can get more than a few sentences of comment on their work. Maybe it’s because the people I come into contact with just don’t “get” me. Or maybe it’s because here in Michigan the booksellers claim they are crying for fiction writers who have a good background in promotion and can actually write, yet I knew few people who were serious readers when I was young. All I’ve gotten is less than a dozen comments that I can recall, counting Diane Carey’s initial input on my first three chapters of “Cidon’s Lair”. She said I was handling the technical aspects quite well but I was commiting a faux paus called “author intrusion” whereby I let my own thoughts interfere with the flow of the work. Then there was my mother who read up to the beginning of chapter two and said the book had “something for everyone in it”. No more comment after that. Thirdly, a woman read a little bit of it and asked me why I called the main character “Peter”. Then a male friend read through to the eight or ninth chapter (all I had finished) and quessed at the meaning. Unfortunately, like Arthur C. Clark (sp?) I wasn’t completely sure about it myself. Then recently, a young woman whom I gave a copy said she was reading a little bit at a time and I’m still waiting for Christmas to get more input from her. She only asked what the character’s mother understood about the character. It should have been obvious. She is his mother. She wouldn’t likely understand much about him in my experience. For once I was writing from a study which had little similarity to myself and someone wants to draw conclusions from the first chapter about maternity? If she would only read up to chapter nine!

    Last but not least, my oldest brother told my youngest brother that reading my book was like reading a computer. What in the… world does that mean? Am I to think that my work is without any soul and therefore not worth the time to read? A dozen years after the first visualization of the story brightened my dark corner of the house that I can no longer call a home, I’m still virtually unpublished in print. My first printing was done by a small printing company that doesn’t even print real books other than booklets and pamphlets and I’m still at odds with the publisher I’m working with because they haven’t even done as good justice as the printer.

    Here is where the real author intrusion comes in. My book has led to millions of links on the web which I am certain has influenced a few writers to try their hands at using the internet as a publishing medium. Whether it ever is successful in print, i has been exposed to the light of day and with it a part of me has been preserved beyond the confusion of society’s distortion of collective memory. In addition, I have access to virtually every entertainment source and reference I could ever want.

    If my work is an intrusion in a genre or a social stream then I am only improved as a writer for it. More than that, I can say that I am an author, I have a book which has been published and has an ISBN number. I still want to have it published by a company based in New York. I don’t want to give a dream that has come to mean so much. Kait, I tell you truthfully, there’s more to it than just worrying about what your family thinks. It’s the indifference of those who take only a little time to read your work and then offer very little comment about it. I wish to God that people hated it rather than treating it like just another piece of junk mail. This is the heart of it and the reason why I am indifferent to what even I myself think about Cidon’t Lair. The book has me beaten. Let’s face it. It’s bound to outlive me.

  9. I’m so sorry to hear this. :/ However, maybe it’s for the best that it ended up this way? Regardless, you just keep on writing. Maybe your mom will come around someday and find a way to give you the support you deserve. Maybe she won’t. Either way, you know you’re doing the right thing, and so does everyone here. <3

  10. My mom wants me to write cute stories about my cute kid. She’s constantly suggesting things I could write about, and it’s usually the kind of memoiresque, women’s magazine stuff that I don’t even like to read. And the fact that she knows what I DO write and still suggests that I write this other stuff…I could let that tick me off. But, like we talked about the other day, her opinion is a lot less relevant to me than it used to be. Now, she’s read my book, and she’s proud of me for writing a real book and for the fact that it’s doing well, even though what she’s got to show off to the family and friends is her daughter’s potty-mouth. But she doesn’t harp on that. Because that wouldn’t be smart.

    My husband hasn’t read my book, and he probably won’t. And this is good. It’s not his genre, he probably wouldn’t like it, he wouldn’t know what to say about it, and he’d end up sticking his foot in it. The way I see it, trying to get his “support” in that regard is just setting myself up for annoyance.

    I get a lot more out of it when a reader writes to me anyway. When a family member is supportive, you never really know if they mean it or if it’s a sense of duty thing. But when a reader gets excited, you know that’s about what you did. So I’d recommend focusing on those and keeping the family stuff about family stuff.

    1. All excellent points. I think it’s particularly virulent for me because while there’s a lot of personal stuff balled up in this, it’s confounded by the fact that she’s spouting a lot of the same, asinine prejudice that so much of the world does about romance as a genre, which pisses me off in its own right.

      I just need to buckle down, do my thing, and get on with it.

  11. My family knows what genre I read, and they’ve been told that I write what I like to read, but I haven’t shown them any of my drafts with steamy bits yet. I don’t know that I ever will. They’ve read my YA romance (with no steamy bits) and my UF attempt, but the romances? I don’t know that I’ll show them those. If they decide to buy them if (when!) I’m eventually published, that’s their call, but I won’t be handing out those drafts… I guess I’m lucky in that my parents and sister are completely supportive of me writing whatever I want to write.

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