Saturday, August 3, 2013

Kay Kendall Guest Blog

My apologies to Kay Kendall for neglecting to post this SBS guest blog starting at midnight. Kay has some interesting things to say about extroverts and writing that even we introverts should pay attention to! And I LOVE her new cover. Don't you?

Covers can sell books, and I'm getting this one.

~ Jim

Back in the day, when I was a young person trying to figure out what to do with my life, I knew that I wanted to write. There were, however, two problems that I foresaw. First, I believed I had nothing to say. Second, I knew I was too gregarious to sit in a room day after day, week after week, alone and writing. That didn’t compute. It was not me.

Flash forward a decade or so. By then I knew that I had things to say, plenty of them. I’d analyzed that earlier I doubted myself too much to write. I’d assumed that what I did have to say wasn’t worth much. So, my confidence had grown and I was almost ready to write.

Only almost. I still was too much of an extrovert to bury myself in a room and write and write and write, seeing no one for days on end, with the exception of my husband. (By this time my son was away at college.)

In the nineties (for that’s where we are in this tale by now) I took a job in my chosen profession of corporate communications that was strangely devoid of human contact. The proliferation of computers also meant that I could sit in a room, use email and the phone, and not have to be out and about doing my PR job as often as I had in the previous decade. In short, I grew accustomed to being holed up in a room, and I saw fewer and fewer people.

By the new millennium I was still working full-time at this position and also writing my first novel (safely squirreled away in a drawer now). Several years later I quit my job to write. Period. I spent two years polishing my second novel that became Desolation Row—An Austin Starr Mystery. It was published this spring by Stairway Press of Seattle.

On the road to publication I attended two Bouchercon conferences, the giant fan meeting that puts fans and mystery writers together. I marveled at how the authors hobnobbed with each other, gawked as I listened to them plan to meet up at future conferences. These were some of the chattiest people I’d ever seen. What was going on? What happened to my idea of an introverted writer who never peeked his or her nose out of the writing room?

I learned that the gang of folks who write suspense/mystery/thrillers/crime fiction were convivial and supportive and if I wanted to join the club, I should behave the same way. In quick order I began attending more book signings and conferences, making friends with more authors both in person and online, arranging to see them when I travelled to their towns for my books signings.

In fact, I became so busy with all this—plus the requisite constant promoting of my debut mystery online—that I had trouble carving out time to write my second book! What gives? What happened to that lonely authorial ideal that I once had?

The world of writers today—with the probable exception of literary novelists and perhaps poets—is so gregarious that it is a scene into which I fit comfortably. By one means or the other, we are all communicating up a storm. And I love it. My public relations first career has been a godsend, because I suffer no hang ups, as a few still do, about thinking it somewhat unseemly that authors should be caught trying to push their own books.

A few weeks ago I attended my first ThrillerFest in New York City. As part of the Debut Thriller Author Class of 2012/2013, I made a presentation on the final day of the meeting. As I sat at the head table on a raised platform, I gazed out over our audience and mused about how much the writing world has flip-flopped. Most of us “debuts” had already exchanged our contact data, planned to reunite at next year’s ThrillerFest, and vowed to read each other’s books.

Where once it was difficult for an extrovert to be a writer, now it is hard for an introvert to fit into this chatty, Tweeting, Facebooking universe of ours.

By the way, you can find me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Goodreads, and my own website. What a world!
Kay Kendall is an international award-winning public relations executive who lives in Texas with her husband, five house rabbits, and spaniel Wills. A fan of historical mysteries, she set her debut mystery during the Vietnam War, a key conflict of the last century not already overrun with novels.

International Thriller Writers (Debut Author Class 2012/2013)

In 1968 a young bride from Texas uses her CIA-honed skills to catch the real killer when her husband lands in a Canadian jail for murdering the draft-resisting son of a United States senator. 

No activist herself, Austin is homesick, drowning in culture shock, and now, her husband has been accused of murdering a fellow draft resister, the black-sheep son of a U.S. Senator. Alone and ill-equipped to negotiate in a foreign country, she is befriended by Larissa Klimenko, the daughter of Austin's Russian history professor. 

The Mounties aren't supposed to harass draft-age boys but the truth is very different, especially when political pressure is applied by both the victim's father and the Canadian prime minister's office. They may have a reputation for always getting their man, but Austin is convinced this time they have the wrong one. Once courted by the CIA, and a lover of mystery and espionage novels, Austin launches her own investigation into the murder. When ominous letters warning her to stop her sleuthing 


  1. Sorry Kay,

    Sometimes life gets ahead of me and today is one of those days. I had Kay's blog in plenty of time - everyone of the WWK bloggers loved it as we did our peer review - I am in the middle of a two-week trip and .... I forgot to post it.

    Bad Jim.

    But, I love, love, love the book cover and so will make amends by forthwith ordering my copy.

    Good Jim.

    Feeling better about myself :)
    ~ Jim

  2. Wonderful post, Kay and Jim! I, too, am off to buy my copy. In library school, one of my professors pointed out that librarians, known as introverted, bookish, shushing types, were actually the public relations folks for the introvert authors. In my experience, both groups have terrific parties and communication.

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  4. Thank you for your kind words, all. Th cover garners universal praise. I chose that photo, lived with it for a week to see if She would wear well, and she did! An author at ThrillerFest told me that my poster was the best of all forty of those displayed...and of course the poster was simply the cover of the mystery. I hope you all enjoy reading Desolation Row, my debut effort!

  5. Thanks for an interesting post.

    I agree-great cover! Covers can be so hard to get right!

  6. Hi Kay, thanks for stopping by. I also enjoy reading a well-crafted historical mystery, and I'm intrigued by the Vietnam era setting of your story. You're right - there aren't many mysteries set during that time.
    And the house bunny - adorable!

  7. Welcome to WWK, Kay. Your cover is great, and your book sounds like a great read. I wrote it down on my to be ordered list when I return home.

  8. Good post. I used to be an extrovert. Now I'm bordering on agoraphobia.

  9. Hi Kay. What a fun post. I consider myself an extroverted introvert. I love socializing but also need my down time to get rejuvenated. Finding time to write when it's so much fun to socialize is tough, though. I look at my calendar each month and highlight my writing days. No matter what fun invitation lands on my laptop, I play by my writing rules. Looking forward to meeting you at a future conference. I've been meaning to buy your book for ages so I'm off to hit that magic button.

  10. Some of us really are introverts. Society and the psychiatric community don't like introverts because we are antisocial. Due to being an introvert, I don't care.

    What you say, Kay is true. Writers can't be introverts anymore because of promotion. I've never picked a book to read because I've heard an author talk. If I wanted to "hear" from an author, I'd watch TV. If my time comes when I must promote, I'm not sure how I'll do and how I'll do it. It may be a horror.

  11. I thank all of you who've mentioned your interest in reading DESOLATION ROW. If you're fans of audio books (you commuters--I was one once & audio books saved me in the Houston traffic!), then the DR audio book will be out by mid-August on Amazon, Audible and iTunes. And it is smashing. --
    What I really wanted to talk about was introversion. I desperately need alone time...I'm an only child after all...but I have four friends who are quite introverted. I had to learn their rhythms and not to take their pulling away personally. One pal taught me that he CAN do his fundraising job, glad-handing all those people, but that it takes a lot out of him. Rule of thumb my psychologist pal taught me was this--If you are energized by meeting people, you are an extrovert. If it by and large exhausts you, you are an introvert. I found that useful. Personally I get HIGH on people. But then I need to pull the plug and just sit there quietly, preferably in a room alone.

  12. Hello I am also Kay Kendall and also an author, interestingly also an extrovert, but sadly do spend many hours alone in a room with a computer for company. I also write about psychology ironically :)