Even before I started writing novels, I’ve always loved reading authors’ bios. When I try out a new novelist, I usually read the first page and then flip to the inside back cover. If they’re both well written and interesting, I feel more confident about my chances of connecting with the author and the story she’s written.
There’s a lot of pressure in writing an author bio. Fortunately, I already know a few things I’d never include.
1. She lives with her very own romance novel hero.
My husband is my hero, but mostly because he lived with me for four years and still decided to marry me. The man deserves a medal for putting up with my absentmindedness and love of clutter.
But is he my romance novel hero? Uh, no. For one thing, he’s not a figment of my imagination. He’s a real man with all that entails.
As sweet as it is when authors refer to their husbands as their real-life romance novel heroes, I don’t feel that phrase adequately describes who he is to me. Perhaps I’ll go with: “She lives with a guy who can make her laugh, cry, clench her teeth, and roll her eyes – all in a matter of minutes.”
2. She writes sex scenes based on her real life.
This one makes me laugh. And then feel a bit nauseated. I did actually read this in an author’s bio back in the 90s, and it not only ruined the book for me, it also made me feel a little sad – the sex scenes were disappointing.
3. She’s been writing stories since she learned to hold a pencil.
It’s somewhat true, but no one outside this blog need know about that paranormal romance I started when I was 8 – the one that featured a young Frankenstein as the hero. He took a young lady on a date to the ice skating rink in his little red Corvette.
Nor does anyone need to know about the romance I wrote when I was about 14. The one with a chapter called “Dancing naked horizontally in bed”. (I thought the word “sex” was too crass, and “making love” just made me giggle. Still does. The phrase, I mean, not…oh, never mind.)
What would you never write in your bio?
Those are pretty funny, Kat. I have to agree with all three. I’ve read more bios with the husband as the real-life romance hero than I ever expected. I love my husband to death, but you’re right he’s a real man with all that entails. Just like I’m not really the heroine from any of my stories- all of which are paranormal or urban fantasies. Someone please let me know if my eyes start glowing or I begin moving at super human speed…
I will definitely let you know, Jordan! Of course, if you start moving at super human speed, I may just grab on to you and go for a ride. What fun!
A very funny post!! Truly enjoyed it! 🙂
Glad you liked it, Sandy!
Ha! I can do those three as well, plus this one: She always wanted to be a novelist. Until two or three years ago, it had never occurred to me. But I probably won’t put that in a bio either.
Yikes – two or three years?? You amaze me.
I was so thinking about this very topic this morning. I would agree with you 100% – well minus the hubby hero thing since I don’t have one, but if I did I certainly wouldn’t make him prince charming – that would be just a giggle-fest. Since I’m not really sure what I’d put in I’m not sure what I’d leave out. However I almost wonder to myself – heck I’m a writer – I’ll just invent this awesome life for myself – If I’m using a pen name who would know the truth – hmmm…decisions. 🙂
Brilliant idea, Michelle! What kind of past would you create for yourself? Hmm…I think I’d be an Olympic figure skater and screenwriter who also spent some time doing wildlife research in Tanzania and a bit of time on the moon.
Hey, I actually was a figure skater. Lol. I’d much rather hang out on the moon, though. Great post. It made me laugh so hard about the disappointing sex scene, I had to read it out loud to my husband. And he actually laughed, too, which never happens! Because my romance hero in real life doesn’t read romance. 😉
You should definitely include figure skating in your bio, then, Kinley. Though, I’ll admit, the main reason I wish I used to be one is for the bum, thighs, and ability to bend myself backward in half. So useful.
And my real life romance hero doesn’t read romance, either. But he still insists all my heroes (and sex scenes) are based on him. *whistles*
I kind of don’t want to hear how many cats or dogs the author has. I’ve got Cool Gus and Sassy Becca and they are the best, but why would my reader care? The other thing an author has to remember is that by the time a print book comes out from a major publisher, that bio was written well over at least a year ago. So your hero partner might now well be your divorced ex who is suing you for half the money from your book.
Cynical, perhaps, but hey, it’s reality.
For the pen name for Bodyguard of Lies, I think my author bio says Robert Doherty is the covert name of a NY Times bestselling thriller writer, which was kind of dumb since you can find my name on the copyright page.
That’s a chilling thought about the bio being written a year before publication and how much life can change, Bob. It makes me think about the sit-coms I watched as a kid, and how I’d notice when the actresses’ names changed season after season as they got married then divorced. I guess if your career is long enough, and you’re lucky enough to have a loyal following, your readers will see all the ups and downs of your life play out through your bio. (“She lives in L.A.” “She lives with her husband in L.A.” “She lives with her husband and two kids in L.A.” “She lives with her two kids in Idaho.” “She has two grown sons and enjoys spending time with her pool boy.”)
Thanks for stopping by!
This makes me think of the writer who pointed out that artists’ lives are a matter of public record– not necessarily b/c they talk about themselves, but because art comes out of our lives.
The thing I keep telling myself not to mention is how often I want to QUIT or switch projects, or (here’s the biggest) I write for ME and if you enjoy it good for you.
I’m working at being a more gracious, generous person so that I can eventually say nice true things that lets anybody feel interested in me and my work, like you describe here.
I think you’re right, Amy Jane. It’s one thing for you to know how often you’ve quit something, or that your motivation for writing is personal, and it’s another thing to stick it in your bio. Being gracious is something I’m always working on (and all too often failing on).
Now, just gotta figure out what those nice, true things are…
Wonderful post Katrina–so funny and so true!
Glad you liked it, Angelique!
Really? And “Dancing naked horizontally in bed” didn’t make you giggle? Lol!
Yeah, I have a feeling I’ll regret admitting that one in public. 😉