I’m delighted to welcome J. H. Bográn as the first guest blogger on my Creative Crone website. Born and raised in Honduras, he writes thrillers in both English and Spanish. Here he discusses how becoming a published novelist helped him overcome his fear of public speaking.
How my writing helped me learn to speak in public
Have you ever heard of “stage fright”? They say that public speaking is the second thing humans fear the most. That means the fear of addressing large audiences is only bested by the fear of dying. Well played, dead. Well played.
My mother is not only a journalist, but a founding member of the largest theater group in Honduras, one that has produced over 150 plays over forty years. She’s acted in 15 of them and is currently the sixth actress with more roles.
In contrast, I’ve never had the desire to act. Probably because one time in grammar school they asked me to recite a poem in the gym and I froze in front of the 200+ students. The fact that during the introduction, the teacher had praised the poem as an excellent example of the Spanish language, and very mature for somebody my age, only served to raise the stakes and fry my already rattled nerves.
Perhaps that’s the real reason why I turned to writing. Writing is in essence a solitary profession. Even Stephen King says you need to have a space with a closed door to write.
As I grew older the necessity to speak in public intensified. My only love for a podium came from the fact that it would hide my wobbling knees!
And then something happened about ten years ago: my first novel got published. The exciting bit of news came with the new responsibility of having to promote it. Promoting a book from behind a computer through social media accounts is one thing, but then, there are the interviews with newspapers, radio and even television. Not to mention the conferences and other public speaking engagements. Oh, and don’t you dare forget the book launch party with over 150 people in attendance!
I discovered that speaking about a topic I felt passionate about was easier. Of course I loved my own novel, how could I not? That served as the backbone for my confidence boost, the fact that I knew what I was talking about and not just repeating a long poem I had recently learned.
Even Alanis Morissette must agree that it’s ironic that a person with a fear of public speaking then lands a job teaching. The nervousness subsided with the practice, and in a further twist of life, I got assigned a class titled Public Speaking. It’s been the single most important class that I’ve taught, and you can be certain that I learned even as much as my students the first time I gave it.
One of the tips of public speaking is in fact choosing a topic you feel passionate about, and if you recall, that’s what happened to me. I only learned that lesson the hard way.
Other topics included how to stand, how to use your voice power and even how to make the topic more interesting by injecting bits of humor, numbers and charts in non-threatening matter and always keep an eye on your body language.
Oh, and wouldn´t you know it? That poem that instilled that fear in grammar school? I still know it by heart!
About the author:
J. H. Bográn, born and raised in Honduras, is the son of a journalist. He ironically prefers to write fiction rather than fact. José’s genre of choice is thrillers, but he likes to throw in a twist of romance into the mix. His works include novels and short stories in both English and Spanish. He has also worked on scripts for motion pictures and domestic television in his home country.
He’s a member of The Crime Writers Association, the Short Fiction Writers Guild and the International Thriller Writers where he also serves as the Thriller Roundtable Coordinator and contributor editor for their official e-zine The Big Thrill.
POISONED TEARS is his third novel in English and has already garnered positive reviews and recommendations. Jon Land calls it “a splendid piece of crime noir,” while Douglas Preston says it’s a first class roller-coaster ride.
Book description: Alan Knox’s football career ended in the Superdome twenty years ago. He hates the Big Easy but his son’s fiancée is missing and Knox is compelled to help. Throwing himself into the investigation, he becomes convinced a serial killer is using poisonous animals to disguise women’s deaths as accidents but the NOLA Police Department won’t listen. The investigation follows a twisted and dangerous path when Knox teams up with journalist Scott Trent. Especially when Trent’s wife is brutally murdered and Trent becomes the prime suspect. How many more women must die before Knox can prove his partner’s innocence?
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/JHBogran0
Thanks, Jose, for breaking the ice. I look forward to welcoming many more guests in the future. For guidelines about what and how to submit, please see my previous post below. And please subscribe so you won’t miss anything!