You might not know this about me, but Zoe Ashwood isn’t my given name. Oh, who am I kidding, of course you know. But you might not know that I didn’t just pick this name to fit the genre I write (contemporary romance), I picked it to protect my real identity. It has been more than a year since I decided to seriously pursue writing as my second career option (supplementing that of translator), and I still haven’t told people in my “real” life that I write.
I know some people tell everyone they’re writers before they even finish the first draft of their debut novel. I admire them immensely. I know others never tell anyone, even after they’ve been published. I understand them, as well.
Of course, my husband knows. He’s been incredibly supportive and even built this website. My younger brother knows, because he helped design it. But until very recently, nobody else knew about this incredibly important part of my life.
I have more than nine hundred followers on Twitter, I interact with fellow writers and readers every day, I participate in writing events, I write this blog, and when asked, I say that I’m a writer without reservations. But all that happens online, behind the safe facade of Zoe Ashwood.
Last week, though, when I was getting ready to do the final edits on Deliciously Yours, I accidentally sent the entire manuscript to one of my oldest friends. I meant to send it to my husband, but Gmail was being stupid and I clicked the wrong address.
And I freaked. Out. I immediately sent her another email, saying I’d made a mistake and that she should just ignore the email. But then I spent an hour agonizing over it and finally sent another email in which I begged her not to tell anyone about the book. Now, I probably sounded like a crazy person, but (being the cool friend that she is), she assured me she wouldn’t even open it but expressed interest in the matter. And that was it. I said I’d tell her everything when we meet again, and that’s what I indend to do.
Her calm reaction was completely different from what I expected. I’m not sure if it has to do with writing romance, specifically, but I was prepared for reactions of the smirking, ridiculing kind. And I might still get those from stupid, unimportant people. But my friends are my friends for a reason - they are kind, open-minded human beings and they deserve to know this huge secret I’ve been keeping.
I met another old friend just days after this email fiasco, and I told her all about my writing (after sweating through an hour of conversation about other things first). She was curious and supportive, and generally made me love her even more. So now I’m on a mission of sorts to slowly start telling people in my “real” life about my books. Slowly. I still haven’t told my parents, who are the people responsible for my love of books!
It’s time. It might have to do with the fact that my debut novel is nearing completion and I’m about to start querying. I printed the entire thing out and seeing it on paper made it so much more real somehow. But I know it’s time.
Wish me luck!