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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Outed!

At work, that is--and as a writer! Moreover, as a writer of ah, unusual fiction.

Here's how it happened. I'd been asked to contribute to a book my company is publishing called The Elements of Internet Style--a cool sort of book about how the internet has changed how we read and write and how we have to develop new usage rules. Think about it--email or e-mail? If you dump huge chunks of text on your website (and should that be Web site or Website?) will anyone stay around long enough to read them ?

So the editor of the book, at a company meeting, read out my bio with great glee--not only have I held some rather unusual jobs (archaeologist, performing arts publicist, yak groomer, classical music radio announcer--I'm making one of these up) but I am a writer of women's historical fiction for HarperCollins and erotic romance for NAL. Gasps of consternation. Now, some of the people already knew about my other life. But this is an environment where our concept of a good time is a spirited half-hour debate on appropriate comma usage; if you post a notice in the coffee room about proper disposal of soda cans someone will attack it liberally with a red pencil. Mass market fiction is viewed with some misgiving.

And then what? Surprisingly, very little. A few comments that I write something for the new 18+ restricted part of the company website (right. Talk to my agent); some genuine interest and admiration. Yes, getting a book published from a bona fide publisher is a big deal. It's nice to be reminded of that.

Do your colleagues at work know what you read or write, or that you have a passion outside of work? Do you keep it a secret, and if so, why? I'd say in my case it's because I've long believed that work and the rest of my life should be discrete; keeping that balance and distance is important.

And what did you think of the original (BBC) The Office vs. the pale NBC imitation?

Join my newsletter list at my website, www.janetmullany.com and I'll send you a copy of my short story Snow, the Seven, and the Moon. Most of the commas are correct.

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4 Comments:

At 11:22 AM, Blogger bridget said...

Love it, Janet! THey've had a star in their midst and didn't even see it shining.

As for secrets, yes...it can be very difficult to be taken 'seriously' in academic circles if you write certain kinds of fiction. Refer to how 'Eloisa James' had to keep her alter-ego quiet until she hit the NYT bestseller list!

 
At 1:40 PM, Blogger Trish Milburn said...

The people at my former workplace will all be so excited when I finally get published. I think I'll show up at one of the Monday morning staff meetings to announce it. :)

 
At 5:15 PM, Blogger Kiki, aka Esri said...

It's hard to top Ricky Gervais. I mean, c'mon.

As far as your day job is concerned, your reputation as a character has been burnished. That can only be good.

 
At 8:59 PM, Blogger groovygrrl said...

People who know me know that I am a writer, but I otherwise keep it on the down-low. In my job, if someone discovers that I am competent at anything, I will be soundly punished with even more work.

 

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