Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I was recently cornered at a gathering by someone who told me how abominable she thought my book was. Part of me really respects someone who can tell a writer to her face that they think her book sucks. I would never have the guts to do this - and, being a writer, I know a lot of people who have written books. I tell them about the parts I do like, or I just don't say anything. I certainly wouldn't seek them out to give them negative feedback. But you gotta admit, that takes either courage, or burning can't-control-myself hatred of the book.

The other part of me wonders what the point is in telling someone you hate their work. I mean if you went to someone's house and they were serving a casserole that you didn't like would you tell them, your casserole sucks! Probably not. It's been made. It's been served. This book is like my casserole, except it took over 6 years to make.

The other interesting thing about this situation is that I really don't care if some people don't like my book. Seriously. How could I? It would be an excercise in creative self destruction. Yet, when told to my face the problems with the book, and it was predominantly the language to which this person took exception, I feel obligated to defend myself and my book. Why is this, I wonder. I just kept tactfully saying, it's a realistic representation of how the the character thinks and talks. I'm sorry that you were offended...but maybe don't read my books. This conversation went on for a long time and went nowhere. Next time this happens I'm going to say, Bummer. I hear Alice in Wonderland is a good read.

I've been really lucky thus far as critics and readers of my book have been kind - so the odd upper cut is probably good for me. As an artist and writer, I get that I'm opening myself up to total criticism. And if it makes you feel better to slam my book...then have at it. I can take it!

I think that the bottom line in all of this is that people just want a chance to express their opinions in life. So if my book gives them a chance to contemplate something, formulate an opinion and then express it - whether it be good, bad or ugly, then I feel I've done my job.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Should Your Parents Read Your Book?

I invited my mother to an event with me this week. When I emerged from the bathroom dressed and ready to go she said you're wearing that? I didn't see the problemo with a sweater, jeans and boots. What's wrong with this? I would be speaking to group of Alpha Omega Ukrainian women, many of whom, as my mother pointed out, she personally knows. Denim, I was informed was not appropriate. The sad part is that by the time the whole scene unfolded, at thirty-five years old, I sullenly went upstairs and changed. On the way to the event she also told me that I better not read any parts of my book that contain swears. Geez.

She did redeem herself a few days later; she showed up at Chapters again when I had a signing and accosted people, telling them to buy the book. It's more effective to unleash her in Chapters than it is to have me sit there for three hours.

Additionally on the subject of parents, I was over at my parents for dinner tonight when my dad informed me that he was on page 80 of my book. I must admit that I'm a bit disappointed because I really enjoyed those situations when people would come up to my dad and talk about his daughter's book. He hadn't read it, but he totally fudged his way through it.

His only comment about the first 80 pages was that he felt it was not very fictional and he was afraid to keep reading. I asked him why he was reading it now, four months after it was released. Winter, he said, nothing better to do.

I also wanted to say kudos to the Words Alive Brandon Literary Festival. This was a fantastic event!

Reading: Just cracked Reading By Lightening by Joan Thomas
Watching: Just saw the movie Happy Go Lucky Good flick, worth seeing. No time for tv these days.