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Being Stereotyped, by Eva Shaw


Have you ever been stereotyped, pigeonholed, and labeled?   I have.  Talk about being frustrated, upset, and exasperated.

As a much-published author and ghostwriter, with more than 70 nonfiction books to my credit including award-winners like What to Do When a Loved One Dies and years teaching university-level writing courses, I was determined.  I wanted the novel I'd written taken seriously, even if was a mystery/comedy with romance in all the right places.

You would have thought I was trying to sell acreage for a green cheese factory on the moon with the weird looks and a few laughs.  "You're a nonfiction writer," were the responses as I presented my novel to those in the publishing world.  Most editors and agents didn't even want to look at the synopsis of Games of the Heart because [loud gasp here] because I was so thoroughly thought of as strictly a nonfiction writer.  I've lost count for the times I was informed, "Writers either fiction or nonfiction.  Not both."

Grab that sledgehammer and let's bust this myth forever.

Want to check to see if good writers can create both?   Just look at the books by Stephen King, Barbara Kingsolver, John Grisham, and Amy Tan.  Go back a few generations to add the works of John Steinbeck (who could forget Travels with Charley), Ernest Hemingway, Agatha Christie, and Dorothy Parker.  These wordsmiths smashed through being labeled.  Yet, when a new generation of agents and editors enter the field, the concept that good writers can create both is disregard.   Go figure.  I'm happy to champion this cause for others right now and in the years ahead.

Yes, Virginia, good writers can and do make the smooth transition back and forth from storytelling to journalism and novels to nonfiction.  They flourish on the journey.

I am thriving, too. 

Just a few months back editor Jennifer Lawler, at Crimson Romance Books, read the manuscript for Games of the Heart before she learned of my extensive writing qualifications.  But when she popped "Eva Shaw, Ph.D." in on, she didn't hold my credentials against me.  Instead, she contacted me in record time and wanted the novel because of the imaginative writing, a theme that caught in her throat and scenes that made her laugh.  She emailed me saying, this book is "a delightful romp and you have strong storytelling skills."

After clutching her email to my bosom, I remember saying, "Finally. An editor accepts I can write fiction."

The early reviews of Games of the Heart have echoed my editor's first comments.  The book was recently compared to the novels by Janet Evanovich.  Speaking of being blown away by that compliment, I felt like Dorothy in the first scenes of the Wizard of Oz.  

As a Christian, I accept we are here to learn and God always puts us in the right place at the right time.  Note:  That might not be the place or situation we'd select, but He does it His way.  I believe He let me be pigeonholed as an expert nonfiction writer and a ghost for celebrities and notable people until the right editor (thank you, Jennifer Lawler) and publisher (thank you, Crimson Romance Books) were ready.  A coincidence?  Come on.

Will you do me a favor?  Check back for my next novels that include themes snatched from the headlines, entertaining mysteries, and delightful romps.  But don't be surprised if you see my name attached to articles or nonfiction books.  Just smile because now you know that breaking the mold is possible.  Heck, it's fun, too.

~ Eva


You can find out more about Eva and the other books she has written:


GAMES OF THE HEART can be purchased here:





4 replies on “Being Stereotyped, by Eva Shaw”

This has happened to me as well.  So, I have a pseudonym.  

I remember having sucessfully landed an agent with a non-fiction book.  I thought we had a great working relationship, but when I asked to show her fiction (which she repped, btw), you'd have thought I offered her 'green cheese.'  Needless to say that manuscript is still on the shelf gathering dust.  

It's been an interesting journey on both sides.

I think if anyone tried to put me in a box, I'd end up confusing them.  I am involved in several areas at church, and people in that circle might be surprised to find out that I am a romance writer who loves to sing rock songs at karaoke.  My karaoke friends might wonder when I stood up in the aisle at church to lead the children's liturgy.  I think it's important to realize that people's personalities are often multifaceted.  It may make some people uncomfortable, because they can't quite get a handle on you, but spend a little time with me and see who I really am and how that person is both faithfilled and enjoys belting out some hardcore songs.  They are not, necessarily mutually exclusive!

"As a Christian, I accept we are here to learn and God always puts us in the right place at the right time.  Note:  That might not be the place or situation we'd select, but He does it His way."  Amen to that.  My life in a nutshell right now.


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