Allow me to serve as a warning for others.
A little while back, I found myself shuttling my daughter and her BFF to some sort of angst-ridden teenage event. They're huddled in the backseat, heads down over their cell phones and whispering about things I probably didn't want to hear anyway. Then, quite unexpectedly, they spoke. To me.
I never prepared for this particular eventuality. I mean, how often does a person engage their cab driver in conversation? I regrouped, and the following conversation ensues:
"I hear you wrote a book, Mrs. Jayne."
The honorific and overly- polite tone should've been my first clue something dastardly was afoot, but I just bobbed my head, grinned like an idiot, and hoped she had e-readers and expendable cash. I checked the rear-view mirror. I sense genuine interest. Score!
"So...what's it about?"
Eeek! Okay, play it cool, no big deal, just a question. I can do this. Don't look too anxious, keep it short. Don't want to scare her off.
"It's about angels, and...." I proceed with the synopsis, almost verbatim from the back-cover. I'm cool as a cucumber. I am rocking this!
I would've thought the whole angel-element already cleared that up, but I don't say so. I make every attempt to sound quasi-bored as I answer various questions: How many pages? Did it come out this year? This is more interest than my own family has shown, and my leg is bouncing around like a dog getting a belly-run.
Then, unbelievably, the BFF asks about the characters!
At this point, I'm Sally Field.
Most writers talk for-ev-er about their characters. At least that's what I'm telling myself, because...well, I pretty much did.
There's more furious discussion about the plot and other things. I'm spending more time watching her decidedly not-bored expression instead of watching the road, so I wrap things up with a strategically placed verbal cliff-hanger. Then I hear this:
"What are the primary themes in the story?"
Crickets. Lighbulb. Devastation.
My reaction to finding out my pen-name is Cliff Notes?
Trust no one.