Sunday, July 10, 2022

Are YOU Shy, Too?

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Not to give you too much information, but we have done thousands of blogs here at Jungle Red, and as you know, we each take turns having responsibility for a week, and then hand off to the next Red. So in each of our weeks, we are responsible for finding you great authors and great topics and information and stories that will entertain and enlighten you. And we hope to bring you new books. Of course. So Reds and readers, meet the marvelous Gillian Harvey!

On First Chapter Fun, Hannah and I read from Gillian Harvey’s book, and  I adored it. And pursued her to write a blog for us.

And what she wrote for us is so hilariously profound. Can there be such a thing? Hilariously profound?

Yes, indeed. See if you agree!


How fiction helped me release my funny side


  By Gillian Harvey

Is anyone else semi-shy?

I was a desperately shy child, and although I’ve grown out of it to an extent (I no longer blush to my roots when anyone talks to me) a certain amount of reserve remains – like a faded scar on once-injured skin. It can take me a while to feel completely comfortable in new company. And it means when you first meet me, I might come across as a bit reserved.

If you’re shy too, you’re probably familiar with the assumptions that people make about quiet people. I’ve been written off as boring or too serious on many occasions. For me, as a 5’1” woman, I also find people assume I’m fragile: when I worked as a teacher, one particularly foul-mouth colleague used to apologise to me whenever he swore. I’m quiet! I wanted to retort. I’m not going to break if you use the ‘f’ word.

After knowing someone for a while, I find I can finally drop my guard and release the real me. It takes time, though, for me to feel completely comfortable in new company.

Yet get me behind a keyboard and suddenly I can be my silly, funny, uninhibited and, (whisper it) opinionated self. That’s why people I only half know are surprised when they find themselves giggling over my prose – they probably expect me to be writing scenes about little lambs gambolling in meadows or sweet stories about old-fashioned romance. Instead they find downtrodden women fighting back, psychologists who encourage others to play like children, over-the-top public shows of affection and even a character who becomes known as #penisguy online.

I never intended to be a humorous writer – if I’m honest, I like to think of myself a deep thinker. But whenever I put hands to keys, the jokes come out. I’ve tried to combine the two – to write novels with humour that tackle more serious themes. Everything is Fine explores the dishonesty of social media and Perfect on Paper is about a woman who feels invisible, and does something outlandish about it.

My latest novel A Year at the French Farmhouse (due for release in September) is all about a woman who gets made redundant, then ends up buying a French cottage on eBay after one too many wines.

As well as fiction, social media (for all its downsides) has also helped me to ‘come out’ as a human with a personality. I can be chatty and upbeat online and in emails. I can be gregarious and silly. I’ve made friendships that have transcended into real-life connections; I’ve been able to cover ground with new people that would have taken me months to cover in person.

Yet, in reality, in the flesh, I remain semi-shy. I’m OK one minute, the next I’m saying to my husband ‘YOU answer the door’ when the bell rings unexpectedly. I can stand in front of a class (as a former teacher) and have them in stitches, whilst learning. But put me in a room with outgoing people ‘networking’ and I’m the ultimate wallflower.

I’m never sure where my quiet reserve comes from – one minute I’m feeling confident, the next I’m going to great lengths to avoid a chatty neighbour I notice across the supermarket. And it annoys me at times that I have this inner voice holding me back from being my full self.

But at least I’ve now found an outlet for the silly voice inside me. And a way to share that part of myself with the world.

How about you, Reds and readers? Are YOU secretly shy? (Or..not so secretly?)

HANK: Don’t tell, but If I am supposed to go a party, I will do ANYTHING I can to get out of it. Meet new people? I am terrified. 

On line? Sure. Bring it on. Deeeelighted.

How about you, Reds and readers? 

 And I have a copy of PERFECT ON PAPER  for one lucky commenter!


Perfect on Paper

It's time to shake things up a little...

Clare Bailey's life is perfect. Successful career, loving husband, two kids and a gorgeous townhouse. At least, that's how it looks from the outside.

In fact, she's never felt more invisible. Her boss barely remembers her name, her husband is distracted by his new TV job and her daughter has never found her more embarrassing!

But when she's given a chance to turn her life upside-down she wonders whether she should risk everything she loves for a life that's more than just 'perfect on paper'...?

(Currently published in UK)

 


Everything is Fine

Jessica Bradley has it all: the perfect boyfriend; influential healthy-eating blog; successful PR company and wonderful daughter, Anna. Or at least that is what her thousands of followers believe.

The truth is, her boyfriend just broke up with her in four words on a post-it; her zest for healthy-eating has all but disappeared; her PR success is all reliant on her now not-so-honest online-life and she just got caught eating her daughter's Coco-Pops.

So as they say: fake it 'til you make it. A few little white lies and phony smiling selfies and Jess can keep up appearances. But when her real-life starts to spiral out of control how can Jess tell the truth from the lies? And will she be able to seize real happiness when it is right in front of her?

Hilarious, heart-warming and oh-so relatable, Everything Is Fine is perfect for fans of Louise Pentland, Anna Bell and Lindsey Kelk.

(Available worldwide)


 Gillian Harvey 

Freelance writer and author Gillian Harvey lives in France with husband, Ray and their five children. A freelance writer, she regularly pens articles and short stories for UK magazines including Woman’s Weekly and People’s Friend. She also writes opinion pieces and has been published in Independent, Guardian, Metro.

Gillian started her career in the teaching profession working at secondary school level. After moving to France in 2009, she started freelance writing for publications in the UK, France and the US.

Gillian has written a monthly column in Writing Magazine since 2020. She has previously been columnist for Prima Baby and Living France magazines.

Gillian’s first novel ‘Everything is Fine’ was published worldwide with Orion in May 2020. Her second, ‘Perfect on Paper’ was published in UK May 2021.

 

Social media:

Twitter:        Gillian Harvey Author - Twitter

Instagram:    Gillian Harvey (@gillplusfive)

Tiktok:          Gillian Harvey Author Tiktok

Facebook:     Gillian Harvey Author | Facebook

Website:       www.gillianharvey.com

122 comments:

  1. Gillian, your books sound so relatable . . . now I’m anxious to find out how buying a cottage on eBay works out!

    I'm most definitely shy. I’m perfectly fine with a room full of first graders [or preschoolers], but for all the rest I have turned being a wallflower into a fine art . . . .

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    1. Question: Do any of you feel shy at book events ?

      Diana

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    2. Hi Joan, thanks for your comment! Nice to know it's not just me!

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    3. Bibliophile - I find book events terrifying. I look forward to them (sort of) then on the day am crippled by nerves. But when I have to present, I kind of step into the 'role' and feel OK. Afterwards, I need a LOT of chocolate!

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  2. I tick all the boxes of shy, introverted and socially awkward. Online friendships were made for people like me. Not many people who know me in person would even know that I have a somewhat snarky sense of humor
    Buying a French cottage after too much wine makes me think of Angel on Escape To The Chateau "accidently" buying the Van du Vin..

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    1. Yes, on line relationships can be so much less pressure! What's Escape to the Chateau?

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    2. Oh, it's brilliant Hank. You must watch it. It's a reality show about a quirky couple who bought a chateau in France :)

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    3. Jennifer - yes, I find it sad sometimes that I can't seem to reveal my 'true self' to everyone. x

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  3. I can be shy in a group where we are just supposed to be chatting. But give me something to base interaction around, and I'm fine. I was at a game day today where I only knew the hosts, but I did fine since we were playing games, and I didn't have to try to find conversation starters with strangers.

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    1. Very wise observation--if we have a "role," we're fine. Isn't that funny?

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    2. How true that if we have a role, then we are fine.

      Diana

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  4. Shy? Yes. It’s eased a bit over the years but the thought of going to a gathering where I know few people makes me want to hide. My husband is the social butterfly. People who know him but not me think I am so quiet and sweet. Little do they know…..

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    1. Pat D, whenever I go to social events and notice that the husband is the social butterfly but the wife is shy, guess who I talk to? I always talk to the wife and they seem surprised that I talk to them. It's easier for me to talk to one person and focus on one person>. Perhaps it has to do with my Deafness and focus on lipreading?

      Hank, and ha! little do they know! Love that!

      Diana

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    2. Love the idea of talking to the partner of these 'social butterflies' (interestingly my husband is one too). Perhaps that's a great way of seeking out like-minded, interesting people. Who are definitely not 'quiet and sweet!'

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    3. Thank you, Gillian. Appreciate this. Diana

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    1. Dru, despite your shyness, you still have a great blog and somehow you interviewed many authors about their novels. right?

      Diana

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    2. thank you Hank. Yes Diana, the blog does help

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  6. GILLIAN: I get it. I was labelled as shy as a kid. As an adult, I would label myself an introvert. I can be enjoy social interactions with strangers (or friends) but it is physically draining to be "on". I then need time alone to recharge. Online interactions can be easier but not always.

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    1. Yes, isn't the the classic definition of introvert--that you can do the things you need, but an extravert would be energized by them, and the introvert would need to recharge?

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    2. Completely 'get' the need to recharge. Husband doesn't know what I'm talking about when I try to explain. Sometimes the landline will ring and I won't answer it - I'll just bring it to him. Can't face it!

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  7. Gillian, first, I am off to look for your books. They all are right where my reading MOJO is sending me these days. I have to find your FCF episode. Hank, number?

    Welcome, Gillian. I may have moments of extreme shyness. These occur usually when startled by someone's unexpected presence. But, generally speaking, no. I'm not shy, nor reticent, nor just an observer. I am getting better at observing, and one might say that that is about time.

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    1. Episode 187! For Everything is Fine. xxoo

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    2. JUDY: Thank you for the words. I could not find the right words. Yes, there have been times when I have moments of extreme shyness due to being startled by someone's unexpected presence.

      Diana

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    3. Thanks Judy - I hope you enjoy Everything is Fine! And I know exactly what you mean by being startled by someone's unexpected presence!

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  8. This sounds delightful, Gillian. I'm so glad your funny voice came out! I've been mostly an extrovert in my life, but the older I get the more introvertedish I've become. Not at mystery conferences, however. There I love talking with fans and lol others.

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    1. Lucky you! YOu seem so good at it!

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    2. Hi Edith - interesting that you've become more introverted. Perhaps you're just more choosy and have found your niche with the mystery conferences :)

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  9. Welcome Gillian! You've hit a nerve with shyness in this group! I was the keynote speaker at a golf event some years ago. I had lunch at one of the tables and felt my usual awkward self with new people. Then I gave my speech. When I returned to the table, the lady next to me said something like "I had no idea you had that much personality." Sheesh.

    I'd love to hear more about living in France and whether that's made it into your fiction.

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    1. I also would love to know how you came to live in France. And do you speak French ? Danielle

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    2. SHEESH is right!!! What did you SAY? Whoa. xxx

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    3. Lucy, why did your comment remind me of a young Princess Elizabeth? When the Queen Mother was the Queen Consort to the King of England and the Princess Elizabeth was a young ? teenager ? she was very, very, very shy. Princess Elizabeth's mother decided to have "practice" sessions with her daughter so that the Princess will be able to handle her shyness during social situations ? Perhaps I recall the specifics of this story incorrectly. Rhys may know more than I do ?

      When I met you at Bouchercon in Toronto, you were with Hallie in the book room. It never occurred to me that you were shy. I always enjoy your books and comments.

      Diana

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    4. Hi Lucy - oh, it's so horrible when people write you off isn't it! Glad you showed her! Danielle - I can speak French, but not as fluently as I would like. We came to France on a whim - to escape the rat race. Some ups and downs since being here, but definitely glad we took the plunge :)

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    5. thanks so much for the kind words Diana and Gillian! I think I've improved over the years, and having Hallie or another pal around always helps:).

      Hank: what could possibly be said???

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  10. Unless you give me a microphone, which gives me the freedom to be funny, I am definitely an introvert (which nobody believes). I more than understand this post. Love the variety of the posts contained on Jungle Red Writers. Debra G.

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    1. REALLY? Wow, that is fascinating... ANd aw, thank you!

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    2. I love that a microphone unlocks your inner comedian Debra :) Brilliant!

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  11. Welcome Gillian, I just downloaded Perfect on Paper but didn’t see your newest book on preorder.

    All my life I thought I was shy until I learned, at 61, that I was an introvert. It put my life in a new perspective and it helped me reduce my guilt about certain behaviours.

    Like for you, people may think I’m quiet, too serious or boring . Those who know me will tell: Danielle doesn’t speak often but when she does, watch out. They also know that I can be funny but I’m more likely to be funny in a smaller group of persons.
    Danielle

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    1. I'm going to read up on shy vs being an introvert. It's something I've never really thought about. Thanks for sharing. Thanks, too, for buying Perfect on Paper. I hope you like it xx

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  12. Hi Gillian and thanks for blogging on JRW! I used to be very shy, but the older I’ve gotten, the more outgoing I’ve become, and I’m enjoying it. Back in my excruciatingly shy days, I had to teach a class seminar (as a student) based on a semester’s research project, and field questions from the class and professor. Just the thought of it made me queasy, but I made it through it and it wasn’t so bad.

    I can empathize with your being 5’1” - I am just a little taller and still get addressed by strangers as hon/honey, sweetie and dear to name a few all the time ~ your books look wonderful, and I can’t wait to read them.

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    1. Yes, nothing like being able to get up your courage--and then succeed!

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    2. Thanks Celia. Glad you've managed to shake of the shyness. And yes - get so tired of the assumptions based on looks. We'll show them!

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  13. Congratulations on your latest release! Now that I've raised my children, I'm invisible to most of the world, with the exception of the person who wants my parking place. I'm perfectly comfortable in a crowd, eavesdropping and observing. Mean girls from school days have honed their skills to an even higher level of nastiness and exclusion. Taking notes for my next story...will you recognize yourselves in print?

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    1. Oh dear, I am so sorry about these mean girls, Margaret. We all have encountered people like these. Since age 3 when I started school, I had to deal with mean kids, including mean girls. I was bitten on my first day of school, then sent to a parochial school where the teacher NEVER allowed mean girls or anyone to be mean to other kids. I remember when a mean girl tried to bully me and the teacher gave her a TIME OUT! The worst kind of punishment for a Deaf child is to have the child stand in the corner, staring into the corner and NOT seeing anything happening in the classroom around you.

      Diana

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    2. Argh. Hate the mean girls. And my daughter has her own now to contend with at school which is heartbreaking. Love the thought of you slipping unnoticed through the crows, Margaret. And Diana - brilliant that your teacher dealt with that girl so promptly.

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  14. Hello to another shy Gillian. Your books sound fun, and thank you for your time spent teaching. Teachers have always been my heroes. Small talk is difficult for me, as are large gatherings. Give me a small group of people I know well or a task to do together, and I shine. In my early days as a 9-1-1 dispatcher, co-workers would dismiss me because I was quiet. I would surprise them when I made a joke or said something raunchy. We were communicating by computer message well before it was a "thing" (early '80's) and the keyboard buffer definitely gave me confidence. Unfortunately it has morphed into a tool for anonymous cruelty in these days of social media.

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    1. Well, I SO agree. So true. ANd yes, the idea of having a "task" is such a valuable bit o knowledge...

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    2. Yes, social media has unleashed the shy, but sadly also lots of other types of people too. Such a shame xxx

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  15. What is it about typing vs. in-person interaction? The anonymity? Whatever it is, how wonderful that it brings out your funny side, Gillian. We need humor so much more today, I think.

    Social media has made such a difference in my life over more than 30 years. I'm less inclined to meet new people in person than I am in striking up friendships--some of them now incredibly long-lasting--with people I have met online. When we have met in person later (dozens of people) we already know one another so well that most potential awkwardness evaporates.

    Perfect on Paper sounds like a fun read!

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    1. And I have downloaded Everything is Fine! Looking forward to enjoying it. Thank you!

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    2. Hi Karen. Yes - I love that you can 'fast track' a friendship online. Then when you meet someone in person, you're already old friends. :)

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  16. “Hi my name is Emily and I’m an introvert” could be my go-to line! About 20 years ago I found out that maybe 50% of people are introverts and that was a major eye-opener for me. Previously, I thought I was the only introvert in the room. Couple my natural introversion with major hearing loss and it was a recipe for me to stay home as much as possible. When I had cochlear implant surgeries in 2012 and 2014 my life literally changed when I wasn’t concerned about my ability to communicate. That gave me a new found courage to engage with people. I’m now less introverted but still would avoid a networking event if at all possible :) Emily Dame

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    1. Oh, Emily, that can be such a revelation--hat we're not one ONLY ones is so freeing!

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    2. So interesting that 50% of us are introverts. Perhaps we need a secret handshake or something so we can connect with each other! Glad your cochlear implants were successful - it must have been so hard to have that additional barrier to communication x

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  17. Hello, Gillian, it's good to meet you and be introduced to you and your books--with a third one coming out in September. Congratulations.

    I am NOT shy and never have been, but I still like to spend a lot of time alone. People seem to find that contradictory, but it seems normal to me. There's probably some Briggs-Myers type for it, but I don't know what it is. Anyone else out there like me?

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    1. Oh, you are probably right--but whatever you call it, it sounds like the perfect combination!

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    2. Thanks Kim. I think it's brilliant to know yourself and be happy in your own company. It's taken me years to be comfortable with alone time, despite being shy. I suppose I'm also contradictory :)

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  18. Congratulations, Gillian, on your latest book. I'm glad to meet you here (no conversation required - ha ha).

    Shyness is an interesting topic. I have misinterpreted someone's shyness as them being stand-offish or being uninterested in talking to me. Not necessarily true, of course. I would describe myself as outgoing, though I do like and need my own time. That said, I have become practiced at starting and maintaining conversations in social settings. Many years ago, I used to co-host a regular Friday evening gathering (that we grandly called a "salon"), and I was amazed (and horrified) at how few people were able to start a conversation with someone they did not know or did not know well. The Queen is a great role model in this: Simply have a few personal-interest questions at hand and ask the person one of them -- that should get something going. Of course, the trick is then to keep it going back and forth. That's what makes a conversation. (Listening is as or more important than talking, of course.)

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    1. This is great info! What are your go-to questions?

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    2. I'll think about questions ahead of time and link them to the event; for example 'How do you know (the host)?' 'How long have you been a member of this organization?' 'Did you come from far away to attend tonight's event?' These are all very low-risk questions that are really just warm ups for the conversation that will, hopefully, develop. I also think up a few interesting (I hope) things to say myself that should encourage a conversation to get going or to keep going. I find that many people will respond happily to questions, even if they won't themselves start a conversation.
      The bottom line is that conversing with strangers is both challenging and tiring. It's work -- until the words start to flow back and forth and a natural conversation develops. Like so many life skills, we don't have to love doing it, but it's important to be able to do it when the context calls for it.

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    3. That's a brilliant tip Amanda! Thank you x

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  19. I was extremely shy as a child and managed to somewhat overcome it as an adult. The shyness came roaring back during lockdown. I had to interact with my daughter’s coworker last week and it was unbelievably cringe worthy and embarrassing.

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    1. Awww....I bet it wasn't as bad as you thought. xoxoo

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    2. Lockdown has really set so many people back in so many ways. I'm sure it'll get easier xx And, as Hank says, I bet you came across fine. x

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  20. Happy to meet you, Gillian. Congratulations on the new book.

    I would say that I am introverted and socially awkward. I am often invisible in a room and have been awestruck by people who can command or "work a room." When engaged, I tend to try and control the conversation or make it abstract -- about ideas, not people. That's why I am comfortable in front of a class or delivering a paper on a topic I know well. The visual anonymity of the web certainly makes it easier.

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  21. Sounds just like me! As a child I was so shy there are hardly any pictures of me and in the ones I've seen I am not smiling. In on picture I am hiding behind my mother's skirts. That was my favorite. In high school social studies class we had to do an essay on one of the Bill of Rights. As I recall, we were assigned which one to write about. I got an idea and was extremely proud of what I had written; I knew it was good! Then we were told that the best ones would be read aloud in an assembly for the entire school. I went to the teacher and told him flat out that if mine was one of the chosen ones I would refuse to read it. He must have believed me because it wasn't chosen.
    For all I know, it wouldn't have been chosen anyway.

    Then I got to college and speech class where there were many people even shyer than I was. Somehow that fact, and seeing those other girls shaking in their shoes, must have helped me get over it, to a point. One "good" thing about being older is the feeling of being invisible. I really like being invisible. And wearing a mask? Even better. I could talk (mumble) to myself without getting strange looks.

    Looking forward to reading your books, Gillian I'm sure I will enjoy them!

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    1. Yes, horrible as they are, masks do provide some..."cover"!

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    2. Masks are also great when you want to pretend you haven't seen someone at the supermarket... Glad you were able to conquer some of your shyness Judi x

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  22. Looking forward to your coming out in September (am pre-ordering it today). It reminds me of two books by Serena Kent - A Death in Provence and A Death in Avignon. Penelope Kite is starting over and has decided to move to the south of France and bought an old farmhouse high in the hills of the Luberon. New friends, wines, lots of croisants...things are going well until she notices a dead body floating in her pool.

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    1. Eek. No dead bodies in mine. But lots of interesting 'live' ones! Will look up the Serena Kent books though - they sound fab. x

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  23. GILLIAN: Welcome to Jungle Reds and I would love to read your novel. I do not know if I am shy. However, I know that in some situations where I can be very outgoing because I am comfortable in that setting. I remember meeting a VIP at an event and someone asked me if I was good friends with that VIP. The question surprised me because I had met that lady for the first time. Perhaps it was my demeanour or approach that made it look like we were friends? However, there have been other situations where I felt shy because of several factors, which are too long for me to get into here.

    Question: If I may ask, do you have any tips about how an outgoing person like me can approach a shy person WITHOUT coming across as being pushy? When I notice that a person is shy, I say Hi then walk on. I want to give that person space.

    HANK: I never knew that you were shy. I remember seeing you at my first mystery conference and I think I bought your novel and you signed the book. All I remember is you wearing very high heeled boots with your black and white clothes and I was thinking that I wish I could walk with these high heels. I remember it takes a lot of practice to be able to walk in high heels.

    Diana

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    1. Aw, Diana, that made me laugh. Thank you! (And thank you for buying the book! xox) ANd that's a great question about approaching...how about: "what brings you here?"

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    2. Hank, Thank you for the tips! If I happen to be standing next to a shy person, I could ask "How did you like the book?" if we are at a book event. If we are at a social event, I could ask "what brings you here? or "Is this your first time at this event / in this town ? "

      Diana

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    3. Sometimes this opening can work well: "Hi. Would you mind if I join you? I don't know anyone here." Usually the response is a grateful, "Oh, yes, please do. I don't know anyone either!" And that leads to conversation about how we ended up here and how hard it is to talk to strangers...etc.
      Small talk is seriously under-rated. I've written about it here: https://fiveyearsawriter.blogspot.com/2022/05/talking-to-strangers-ii.html

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    4. Sounds the perfect way to coax a shy person out of their shell x

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    5. Amanda, thank you for the tips! I was reminded of a scene in a BBC series about Winston Churchill. He was trying to make small talk and he asked someone if they like to paint. I'm going to check out your article. I remember that Jessica Fletcher would ask similar questions as you suggested on Murder, She Wrote. Thanks for reminding me.

      Gilliam, thank you. I'll remember that when I meet a shy person. Like Emily, I got my cochlear implants, though I have been deaf for most of my life. The sound processors help me with directional sounds so if someone is talking behind my head, I can turn in the direction of the sound.

      Diana

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  24. p.s. Gillian, congratulations!!! on your new novel!!!

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  25. I am shy, small and invisible. I have always been very short and quiet, but now that I am older I am totally invisible which I don't mind at all. People overlook me all the time and that is fine. I would rather be that way as I am very observant and aware. People underestimate me too. I enjoy learning about your experiences and your book.

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    1. You sound like a potentially dangerous combination--the perfect spy!

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    2. A new enterprise perhaps? 'Shy Spies Agency' discretion assured. Shhh

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  26. Welcome, Gillian! I definitely want to read your books! When I was a child, teachers constantly told my parents I was too shy. I was an excellent student, by the way. It always bothered me that some of them concentrated so much on my shyness. I paid attention in class. I did my homework. I got good grades. I wasn’t secretly bullying other kids. At home, I was more outgoing with the neighbor kids. I have happy memories of playing with them. I’m still shy, which surprises some of my friends when I describe myself that way. I now think of shyness as a superpower. It has turned me into an excellent listener. I remember what people tell me because I’m not constantly trying to add something to the conversation. In fact, my friends rely on my memory. (Nowadays, I tell them they shouldn’t do that, because we’re all older now, and my memory could fail me!)

    DebRo

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    1. SHyness as a superpower! Because it lets you be observant? Love that!

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    2. Yes - my teachers also criticized me for being shy! It makes you feel like such a failure. I love the idea of seeing it as a superpower instead. Brilliant :)

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    3. I love that DebRo--shyness is our superpower!

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  27. Welcome, Gillian. I totally get it. I can be outgoing, charming, and funny on line, but I confess, one of the reasons I opted to write under a pen name was so I could hide behind Kait at public events! It's so much easier if it's not really "you!"

    The books sound great, looking forward to catching up.

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    1. Thanks Kait. Love the idea of being someone else. It's very empowering x

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    2. SO agree! It lets you take on Kait's persona!

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  28. Welcome, Gillian! Your books sound delightful -- as is your post. I am an uber extrovert. Everyone is a friend I haven't met yet! My husband who is painfully introverted, despite being a musician, finds it useful/annoying -- the ultimate double-edged sword. On the flip side, I LOVE to be left alone. Me, Myself and I are my favorite companions. Humor is my fave genre so I'm off to order your books. Thanks for visiting JRW!

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    1. Love the idea of everyone being a friend you haven't met yet. What a brilliant mindset. x

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    2. Jenn, I love that idea of everyone being a friend.

      Diana

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  29. PERFECT ON PAPER sounds like an absolute delight, Gillian, and I'm totally onboard for A YEAR AT THE FRENCH FARMHOUSE - who among us hasn't dreamed of impulsively buying a romantic place in the French countryside? (Probably those of us who aren't already living in a falling down 200 year old farmhouse...)

    I'm whatever the opposite of shy is - sometimes I have to stop and ask myself if I'm talking too much at a party. But I recognize I'm something of an outlier among authors I know - it does seem to be a profession that attracts people who would far prefer to stay home and send emails and tweets.

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    1. Hi Julia - I bet you're great at a party. I have a friend who regales the room with anecdotes and a social occasion is never the same if she doesn't turn up. xx Glad you like the sound of the books. Having owned a crumbling French property myself, there are definitely highs and lows to living that particular dream :)

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    2. I guess we will in the book! :-)

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    3. HI Julia, thanks for reminding me. I remember someone once remarked that I was not shy because both of my parents are shy. I think I got that from one set of grandparents who were very social.

      Hank, we will hear / see in the book, right?

      Gillian, I have a friend who regales the room with anecdotes too.

      Diana

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  30. Welcome Gillian! Your books sound captivating and wonderful. Shy, quiet and introverted as well as 4"11 makes life challenging but I enjoy quiet pursuits. These are the facts and I cannot change them. I do admire charming and charismatic individuals.

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    1. Thanks for your comments on my books, petite. It's wonderful to embrace who you are. x

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    2. AH HA--and that's why your nickname!

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  31. When I was in high school, a boy yelled at me for being "stuck up." He was wrong. I was mostly terrified to speak for fear of saying something stupid. It was hard to for me to make small talk, until I married a very gregarious man. His ease with people helped bring me out of my shell. I'm still that
    shy girl on the inside, but I've learned that talking to people is a whole lot more fun than staying silent.

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    1. Fascinating how we all drawn conclusions.... and how fun to learn from your husband!

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  32. Really pleased for you x So great your husband helped you become more confident x

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  33. Gillian, welcome! Your books sound absolutely delightful and are just my cup of tea. I've just ordered Everything is Fine and will be looking forward to A Year at the French Farmhouse.

    I'm not shy. My dad was a salesman and I learned to meet people and 'work the room' early on. But I also love my time alone--it's a necessity. Lots of writers seem to have this dual personality. And I feel most myself when I'm writing (I do occasionally amuse myself--not sure I amuse anyone else!) I think there must be a huge disconnect between my inner voice and my outer persona. On meeting me, people have been known to say, "YOU wrote those books?" I don't think it's a compliment.

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    1. Deborah: Not me. LOL. I recognized you right away at Bouchercon despite your eyeglasses with red frames. Why would they say "you wrote these books?"

      Diana

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  34. What a great skill your dad taught you! It must be so useful to develop that early on. Sorry that people don't 'see' you at first. Just goes to show the old book/cover judgement adage is very apt! x

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  35. I'm very shy and I think the pandemic made it worse. I feel like Covid has made me more of a recluse than I was before Covid.

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    1. Aww....that's why it's wonderful to have you here--we are your pals!

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    2. I'm sorry to hear that. It's been so tough xx

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  36. Welcome to Jungle Reds, Gillian. We all need to laugh these days, so I will definitely be checking out your books. It's a wonderful gift to create humor for others.

    I'm not sure exactly what I am anymore concerning shy. I'm not really a shy person and can talk endlessly with people, but new people, especially in groups, often stop me cold. At this point of not having been in social situations for so long, I'm not sure how I'll be, except I did go to my daughter's and son-in-law's Fourth of July get-together with his side of the family and their friends, and I did okay.

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  37. Thanks Kathy. And glad you were able to have fun on 4th July. Hopefully lockdowns will remain a thing of the past... xx

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