I am utterly guilty of it, as I suspect are many authors. Each review that comes through the system, each star, each ranking, a like, is something I read. At first, with Peter in Flight, there was a period of thickening of the skin. It took more than a year as the reader’s words trickled in and passed my eyes, processed in my mind, and taken to heart.
For that first story the impressions have been over all favorable. Not all readers will enjoy it, nor should they all. As the back of the cover prescribes, it is to be read at high altitude, between cities, and a reminder as to all you work for, and the hearts that will welcome you home. Going through the pages of Peter in Flight below 30,000 feet may give you a different perspective on the story, the gaps are more pronounced, and the distances seem vast.
There is a loop of feedback between the author and the reader. I imagine these fascinating stories, write them down, take time to consider what they will mean to you, my good reader, and what you may think. Over the weeks and months at my little table in the coffee house where words are connected in careful consideration, I focus on you, my dear reader, that these stories will be interesting. I wonder how to bring the characters to life.
The Symmetry of Snowflakes reviews still come in as the number of readers grow. In a general sense I find that there are two types of reader’s response. Enthusiasm seems to come from people who understand that the family Hank Hanson has is not that unrealistic. There are families of divorce, marriage, separation, and new unions. With each transformation of the family, new members are added, others removed, and the choices made by others impact them all. Then there is another set of readers. Those who may not be familiar with the realities of divorce, the years of shuffling family members, or the miles between houses on holidays. And those readers search for something they want to like about the book, about the writing, but come up short. There are also readers who dislike the way I have written about sex, which is understandable.
I understand this challenge, of wanting to like a book but unable to, very well. I have gone through the first quarter of several books in the last month including Infinite Jest (so well reviewed, so well liked, so thick, and just not my cup of tea). As a reader and a writer, I can not feel ill will to the reviewer who gives honest consideration.
My pledge to you, dear reader, is not that I will write a book you will enjoy. This is impossible for me to do for all of you, even when you were good enough to purchase a copy of my work. I can only promise that I will work to make the next book better than my last, that I will make great efforts to think of something new you can connect with, in part, or completely.
Insensible Loss is my effort to do just that. Write something better than I have before. While it may take the suspension of disbelief to enjoy in parts, I hope that it is not insurmountable to find the action, romance, and deception involved in the plot, characters, and dialogue something you enjoy and will share with others.
Please continue to let me know your thoughts through review or private message, dear reader, and I will work to make the next one even better.