Comfort Zones

EXTREME LOVE releases in almost a month, and I'm sure I don't have to tell you how excited I am about this book. And just like Dante took Caitlyn out of her comfort zone, the release of Extreme Love is taking me out of mine.

Yep, that's right. I agreed to do something that is truly terrifying to me.

On June 1st, I'm scheduled to do a reading in Greenville, SC at the Lady Jane Salon.

Say what?!?!

Nerves immediately overwhelmed me the moment I sent the email accepting their invitation to read. Like for real. Tingling in the fingers, tight chest and I swore I was about to have a panic attack. And the damn reading was still two months away. Can you imagine what a bundle of nerves I'm going to be the day off? Heck, as I get up on that stage and look out across a room full of faces? As I'm about to read something I wrote???

I'm not a public speaker. Never have been. I absolutely loathed oral presentations in school. And even though I was part of the Drama Geeks in high school, I was much more comfortable backstage managing or building sets than I was in the limelight. I did have one part I played my senior year. Magda Svenson in the Night of January 16th. I did a horrible, horrible impersonation of a swedish accent and my voice shook the entire time. I did get the laughs I was supposed to get from the audience, Magda was a gossipy old biddy, and by the time I left the stage I was pretty proud of myself, but I was hiding behind a character. It was easier.

This? Well...this is me. Putting myself and my work in front of people.

Yeah, I know, I do this every time one of my books releases, but there is still a distance there. A seperation. This is face-to-face.

Other than to toss a scene around with my roommate, and usually that's just a paragraph or two, I have never read my work aloud. So know I have the daunting tasks of picking a scene to read. What if I pick the wrong one? What if my presentation of this scene makes the books sound boring?

I feel like the best approach to this is going to be pulling a Jennifer Lawrence. Have I ever told you how much I admire her? She is who she is, and she never pretends otherwise. I love that about her. Have you seen the clip right after she won her Oscar where Jack Nicholson approaches her? Here she is an Academy Award winner completely awe-struck that Jack Nicholson has come up to her to congratulate her. If you haven't, pull it up on youtube. It's seriously priceless.

Some people have said for me to be confident when I get up there. I know me...I'm not going to be. I'm going to be terrified and about to vomit. So I think trying to pretend otherwise is just going to make it worse. So, I think I'm going to open by cracking a joke about myself and how nervous I am. Get that white elephant out of the room from the get-go and acknowledge that I'm scared. It may not earn me any favors from the audience, but at least it will calm me and then, hopefully, I'll be able to read the scene the way it deserves.

So if anyone is in the Greenville, SC area on June 1st, stop by the Coffee Underground at 5pm and say hi!


Natasha Moore said...

Wish I could be there. I'm sure you'll do fine, although I know I'd be just as nervous as you are.

Carly Carson said...

Good luck, Abby. I think the anticipation will be worse than the reality. I used to go hear famous authors read at the 92nd Street Y in NYC. One guy got up and read from his book that involved mating (ahem) with a dolphin and he read that section. Never forgot it. It's a pretty well-known book. Anyway, you won't have to do anything that difficult, right? So relax.

Vonda Sinclair said...

You'll do great, Abby! You have a lot of courage just to set it up. Best of luck!