Hi everyone! Today I am very excited to welcome author Madison Parker to the blog. Madison is here to tell us more about her new release, Play Me, I’m Yours. I reviewed it earlier this week and totally loved it! Please join me in giving her a big welcome!

Have you ever read a book and thought, “Ugh, the main character is so whiney!” or “Man, it’s exhausting being inside his head.” There’s a good chance you were reading about an introvert. There’s an even better chance you were reading a book written by an introvert.

Introverts tend to be thinkers rather than doers. That doesn’t mean we don’t do stuff. We do. We just like to think before we act. We think a lot about what we do, what we’ve done, and what we plan to do. We think about everything. We think about what we want to say before we say it (unless we’re put on the spot, in which case we’re vulnerable to saying some pretty stupid things). We think about conversations long after they’re done. We think of all the things we should have said but didn’t (and often beat ourselves up about it). When something happens to us, we think about how it makes us feel. That’s not to say we’re self-centered. We think about how you feel too. It can be exhausting, but we’re pretty comfortable with who we are. The problem is, many extroverts aren’t.

There are a lot of misconceptions out there about introverts. People assume we’re shy (some of us are, but certainly not all of us), that we’re loners (we like people too! we just need some alone time to recharge in between social encounters), or worse—that we’re stuck up (it’s not that we don’t like you; we’re just really bad at making small talk). Introverts tend to feel more comfortable in small group settings as opposed to large gatherings. We prefer talking about things that are important over idle chit chat. In fact, if you prattle on too much, our minds are likely to wander to far away places while we smile and nod at you. That explains the deer-in-the-headlights look we sometimes get when you ask us a question at the end of a long spiel. Squirt!

The following table serves to illustrate the difference between being an introvert and being shy. Remember, most people don’t fall neatly into one box. These things exist on a spectrum. You can be really shy or a little bit shy. Also keep in mind that shyness is something you can overcome; it is behavior. Introversion, on the other hand, is not something you can change.

(thrives on internal reflection)
(thrives on external stimuli)
We are perceived as loners. We are uncomfortable in social situations and prefer solitude or one-on-one interaction.
We have it rough. We want to be around people but are fearful of negative judgment. We’re more inhibited and more likely to get our feelings hurt than our non-shy counterparts.

Not Shy

We are happy and comfortable around our close-knit group of friends. We’re great listeners, and we’re easy to talk to once you get to know us.
We’re the life of the party! We are uninhibited and thrive on being around people.

It’s not easy being an introvert. We often feel out of place because our society values charismatic people with big personalities over those who are quiet and introspective. We’re constantly bombarded with the message that we’re “wrong”—that the way we are isn’t the way we should be. If we’d just loosen up and try harder to fit in, everyone would be happier, right? Wrong. We don’t choose to be introverts. We just are. It’s the way our brains are wired. Besides, we like being introverts. And we have a lot to offer. Introverts are deep thinkers, and as such, we can be highly creative people who are great problem-solvers. Although introverts are a minority in the general population, we actually make up a majority of the gifted population! We have rich and imaginative stories to tell (so long as we can write them rather than speak them).

When it comes to writing introverted characters, balance is key. Too many internal monologues will exhaust the reader. Too much fretting about things gone wrong will likely turn the reader off as well. I have found that humor goes a long way towards achieving a comfortable balance when things start to feel too heavy. That, and a healthy mix of characters with distinct personalities, helps to keep things in check.

As a writer, I love my main characters; I want to see them happy and well cared for. Understanding the needs of introverts goes a long way towards helping them achieve fullfillment. Of course, as a writer, I also have to make them work for their happy endings. If I need to create tension or introduce conflict, I can simply break one of the following rules, and see how the characters react.

In Play Me, I’m Yours, Lucas is both introverted and shy. He’s also gay. Triple whammy! How will he ever find love? Being gay and introverted poses its own set of challenges. Where do gay people meet other gay people? Parties? Clubs? Bars? PRIDE parades? Local events? Large gatherings can be very intimidating for introverts. Initiating coversation with strangers can be downright terrifying. Many introverts choose to stay home rather than put themselves through that uncomfortable experience. Many simply wait. They wait for someone else to approach them. And that person will likely be an extrovert. Introverts and extroverts can forge wonderful lasting relationships if they respect and appreciate each other’s unique quailities.

I love reading about introverted characters, as I tend to feel a strong connection with them. In most novels, the main character starts out with a fatal flaw, then shows growth over time, overcoming both internal and external obstacles by the end of the story. But let’s be clear: introversion is not a weakness, nor is it something one needs to overcome. Please, authors, don’t try to change us; we’ll never become extroverts. But throughout the course of our journey, please do help us to see that we have a lot to offer, as we are often insecure. Help us to love and accept ourselves for who we are, and help us to connect with friends and loved ones who appreciate us the way we are too.

Play Me, I’m Yours by Madison Parker

Published by Harmony Ink Press

Fairy Tate. Twinklefingers. Lucy iLu. Will the taunting ever end? Lucas Tate suffers ridicule because of his appearance and sensitive nature. When he’s not teased, he’s ignored, and he doesn’t know which is worse. His one comfort in life is his music; he feels unloved by everyone. What he wants more than anything is to find a friend.

Much to his dismay, both his mom and a schoolmate are determined to find him a boyfriend, despite the fact Lucas hasn’t come out to them. His mom chooses a football player who redefines the term “heartthrob,” while Trish pushes him toward the only openly gay boy at Providence High. But Lucas is harboring a crush on another boy, one who writes such romantic poetry to his girlfriend that hearing it melts Lucas into a puddle of goo. All three prospects seem so far out of his league. Lucas is sure he doesn’t stand a chance with any of them—until sharing his gift for music brings him the courage to let people into his heart.

Click here to read the first chapter.

Visit Madison Parker’s Website at www.madisonparklove.com for bonus materials including character sketches, piano covers, music videos, and lyrics for songs referenced in the novel.

Connect with Madison:

To celebrate the release of Play Me, I’m Yours, Madison Parker is hosting a giveaway. Enter to win your choice of a free copy of Play Me, I’m Yours or a $10 gift certificate from Rainbow eBooks by leaving a comment below along with your email address. For multiple chances to win, comment at each stop along the tour. Click here for the complete tour schedule. Winners will be chosen randomly on April 23.

FILED UNDER: Giveaway, Guest Post
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