Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Book group

You know I said recently how I'd love to have a blog readers' book group in which they discussed my latest book Even When They Know You, or any of my other books come to that?  

I can read the reviews on Amazon of people who liked it and can be bothered to post a review. And a big thank you to those who do, and who can. But I don't hear more nuanced views, and when you've spent 4 years on a book and the only fun bits to write were the argument scenes between the two main characters, it would be nice to hear more from readers. It usually takes me 18 months to write a book, and most of the writing is fun. This last one was different.

saw an old friend ten days ago who I haven't seen in months, and I asked her what she thought of Even When They Know You. I don't know if this is the case with other writers, and it might shock you, but after a new book comes out, the top thing on my mind when I see a friend is - DID THEY LIKE THE BOOK? 

I thought this friend might not like it because she hadn't brought it up in an hour long conversation. I was right. She thought it was sentimental and a bit chick-litty (which by the way, predictive text sometimes translates as 'choclatey' and sometimes as 'shitty' - which could both be appropriate, if you know what I mean.)

I thought about it and was puzzled by the 'sentimental' criticism because I don't think it is. As evidence of the chicklit criticism, she offered Joe turning up when Jane fell off her bike. 

Then a few days ago I saw another old friend who said she found the book compelling, but that she didn't like Jane and thought she was unkind to Joe. Hmmm...interesting. I love the fact she thought the book compelling, and I can live with the fact that she didn't like Jane because Jane was meant to be imperfect, and as for Joe - no, I think Jane did the right thing. 

The next thought that sprang to mind was this: I never fancied Joe. I know this  is irrelevant but it interests me because I wonder if it influenced how he came across. I did fancy Kit, the love interest in Plotting for Grown-ups. I really fancied Kit. 

had modelled Joe in my mind's eye on Sam Elliott, who I do fancy, except for his moustache. Maybe the moustache always got in the way with Joe, too. This book group is deteriorating into trivia. I'm going to end it here, but I'd love to hear from you.


Helen said...

I finally have a copy and started reading it last night, after rejecting a Cathy Kelly due to its over-explaining. Am happy to report that there has been no over-explaining in your book so far. Jane has not yet offended me but Willow has and the bloke on the trail (is that Joe? It's early days and my memory is dulled by a cold) seems a little creepy.

Also I was reminded of the sensitivity of authors - and indeed any artists - when I inadvertently offended a former colleague by jokingly (or so I thought!) describing his debut novel as "odourless". I meant it literally - it lacks that lovely "new book smell" - but he just saw it as a negative review, even though I'd also said it had literally only just arrived. A few frantic, apologetic messages later he realised he'd misread the message and over-reacted. But it reminded me how vulnerable you are when your pour your heart and soul into a book.

Sue Hepworth said...

Hello Helen, Yay!Someone esle is reading the book!
The odourless story is very funny to someone whose book was not being talked about.
I'm glad you're offended by Willow. I'm not going to say any more, because I don't want to have any more spoilers on here than there are already.