Most of the time, I've tried to keep my day job and my writing life separate for three reasons. First, I didn't want to think about writing 24/7, and my retail job kept me sufficiently distracted with customer service or working a cash register to not be plotting out stories. Second, I didn't think it appropriate or professional to be flogging my book or talking about publishing credits, etc., so I didn't. Third, I simply didn't think colleagues would be interested. Only one or two even read during lunch breaks, and no one ever talked about books. But somehow things changed.
It began with chats about vacations. A few people would ask where I was going on mine, and I'd tell them Las Vegas, or Anchorage. Of course, the usual questions about gambling and cruising came up, and then I'd explain that I wasn't going to gamble or cruise, but attend a conference. "What kind of conference?" they'd ask. "A conference for mystery writers. That's what I do . . . I write mysteries." The response was always one of surprise, a moment's pause, and then something like "oh, I didn't know you wrote". Still, I managed to keep my double life under wraps until three years ago, when my picture appeared in the local paper with an article about my essay appearing in "Chicken Soup for the Bride's Soul". The next thing I knew everyone was talking about it at work. I was found out. People wanted to know what else I'd written. They wanted to see the Chicken Soup book. And one or two even wanted to see my published novel. So, I brought Taxed to Death to work and sold a few copies.
Mercifully, the fuss quickly died down. I didn't feel overly comfortable with my two worlds overlapping, and was glad to get back to business as usual. Occasionally, someone would ask how my books were coming along, and I'd reply as best as I could without giving a long-winded response about plotting problems, stilted dialogue, too much backstory, puzzling rejection letters, or publishers who never delivered on their contract.
More time passed. People came and went, as is normal for retail, which meant that lots of new employees didn't know I wrote. Well, that all changed a week and a half ago, when I handed in my resignation letter. People wanted to know why I was leaving. After all, I'd been there five years and seemed pretty happy, most days, anyway. So I told them I needed to finish final edits on a book that would be published soon, and to complete another final edit on a book that an agent wants to see. Also, it's time to move on to new challenges and experiences.
I didn't quite expect the buzz that's been going around the store . . . the interest, the support, and requests to buy my book, especially from young people I thought were more interested in PSPs, XBox, and all the other fun gadgetry out there. But, guess what? They think it's cool that I write. So, I've sold a few more copies. Most of all, I've learned, yet again, that you can never judge a book by its cover.
"Fatal Encryption" coming soon