I hate this question.
Despite being very forthcoming about my writing on this blog, on the AW forums, basically anywhere online, I'm extremely shy about it in real life. I have fairly close friends who only have vague knowledge of my writerly affliction. If people know about specific projects at all, they only have the murkiest idea of what my latest book kind-of-sort-of is about.
When the "what do you write" question comes into the conversation, I freeze up. I wish I could just say "YA" and have that be that, but outside of the YA world, people have no idea what those two letters stand for.
I usually answer the question with "teen fiction."
The next question, almost every time, is "Oh, like Twilight?"
And I say no, not like Twilight at all. When they probe a little deeper and ask for what the novel is about, I say something along the lines of this:
"Oh, um, well, there's this family, and they have fifteen kids, and the sixth child is, like... not happy? So she starts, like, creating this fake online persona, and, like, then she's actually a man."
This gets me polite smiles and nods and quick changes of subject.
Which I'm glad for. For some reason, talking about writing is really hard for me. Even my mom, my cheerleader throughout the querying process, only knows the above vague summary. My two best friends have actually read my work, but besides that... I write in secret. Maybe because writing has been such an all-consuming passion of mine for so long that it feels too personal to let people in on it.
Real life people, that is. You online folks get to hear everything.
I suppose I'll have to break the code of silence and shout from the rooftops someday, but for now, I'm a secret agent writer, writing under cover of darkness.
That sounds so much cooler than it really is.