Sunday, February 24, 2013

Facing fear: On the road with Charlotte Bennardo

Charlotte Bennardo shares her biggest fear as part of my ongoing guest post series:

Being a writer is not for the weak of heart or constitution: large crowds, nasty reviews, another rejection, and pages of revisions are only some of the problems you’ll face. If you’re a published author, you know this, and maybe these fears have been replaced by newer ones like not getting another contract, disappearing from sight after your launch, and missing sales projections.

Everyone has fears. To be a successful writer, you’ve got to face them. My fear—driving by myself. It sounds irrational with GPS and Mapquest, but I’ve gotten lost so many times that I panic. What’s the worst; I’d have to turn around? Except I’m on a divided highway and the next turnoff takes me to Santiago, Chile. And GPS loses its signal in tunnels, under concrete bridges, and in cities with towering buildings. I’ve gone the wrong way down one-way streets, ended up at a dead end in a really bad neighborhood, and cruised miles out of my way on the highway to not-even-God-knew-where (in the dark, no road lights or signs of civilization—we’re talking Texas Chainsaw territory).

If someone’s there, for some reason it keeps me calmer; maybe because I have someone depending on me. But there’s not always going to be someone with me. My co-author couldn’t make a lot of signings, other authors at group signings came from different places so carpooling wasn’t practical. Plus I’m working on my solo books, which means going solo.

The cure? Force myself to go to booksignings alone. Take the train into the city (because nothing is worse than roaming a big city, not knowing where you’re going), leave extra time so when I get lost (and I will), I’m still on time. Practice makes for fewer panic attacks, less crying (oh yes, I’ve done that), and well, the cursing is down a bit too. I’ve learned to look ahead to the next turnoff, merge, etc. so I don’t have to suddenly zip over three lanes of rush hour traffic to get to my exit. It’s all about doing the prep work and digging down deep. So face your fear! Now if I could only learn how to parallel park…

Sirenz Back in Fashion FINAL
Sirenz Back in Fashion: Diamonds are not a girl's best friend when they come from Hades--because there's always a catch.

Charlotte Bennardo is the co-author of Sirenz, Sirenz Back In Fashion (Flux), and Blonde Ops (Thomas Dunne, 2014), and is working on several YA solo books.


  1. Thanks for hosting Charlotte here, Jennifer.

    Charlotte, I've sooo gotten lost too...I used to live in SF, where sometimes getting lost or missing your turn means you have to drive and drive and drive before you ever have a chance to turn around and retrace your steps. Perhaps some of your adventures can be worked into a story?

    1. I think authors can work anything into a story. ;-)

  2. I hate getting lost in an unfamiliar area. Often this happens because my GPS has a way of misdirecting me at the worst possible moments. It can be maddening, but getting snappy with a navigation system doesn't help much. Leaving extra time does help, but sometimes it does come down to just facing those nasty fears. *sigh*

    1. Just as long as you don't let your GPS steer you into a pond, like Michael & Dwight on "The Office." ;-)