Thursday, September 15, 2016

A Question for an Author I Hate #AKwritingChallenge Day 29

Hate. I don't use that word much - unless I'm talking about raw tomatoes or snakes. Yeah, definitely snakes. It's not a word I ever use when talking about books or authors. I had to work hard for this post. Am I over thinking again? Probably. It's that whole 'being an eternal optimist' thing that seems to be tripping me up.

I love to read. I can't remember a time when I didn't love it, and I read a lot - pretty much every single day. I read all sorts of different genres, and if someone suggests a book to me, often times I'll go and pick it up. I may not always like it, but if a book catches a reader's attention enough that they tell me about it, I figure it may be worth checking out. 

After I published my second novel, Alabama Skye, I stumbled across a review group on Goodreads. There are ten people in a group. Each person is assigned four novels that they read and then review. They have twelve weeks in which to post all of their reviews, and none of them are reciprocal. I liked this group for a number of reasons. First, I got four reviews out of it - or was supposed to. It seems like each time I participated, there was at least one or two members in the group who bailed and the other authors got shorted. That sucked, but hey, what are you gonna do? 

Another thing I really liked about this group was the opportunity it gave me to read books I wouldn't have otherwise known about. I got to read some really fantastic novels. I also read a few stinkers, but the good far outweighed the bad.

The best thing about this group, though, was the authors themselves. I know you've heard me talk about S.L. Shelton. (And if you haven't, where in the world have you been?) I met him almost two years ago when he'd just released the second book in his Scott Wolfe spy thriller series. His was one of the books I was to review. I'm not really a spy thriller kind of reader - that's never been one of the many genres I've chosen to read - but Unexpected Gaines was a big surprise for me. And so was this author. Since discovering him, I've eagerly read everything he's published - and the best part? The two of us have become very good friends. I even got to edit his most recent book, Hedged. He's a bestselling author, so he has a ton of loyal readers. He has a lot of fans, but I think I might be his biggest one. I love S.L. Shelton's books.

There are other authors I met through the review group. G.J. Griffiths, Alison Ripley Cubitt, Erik Rivenes and Mike Robbins just to name a few. Their books might have been ones I would have missed had I not been in this group - and I'm glad I didn't miss them.

Okay, so books and authors that I enjoy is not the topic of this blog post. I know, I know. I guess the truth of it is that I don't really hate any authors. There are a lot that I don't care for - many that I've tried to read and couldn't - but none that I hate.

This brings me to the review group again.

There is a book that stands out - as does the author who wrote it because he was so difficult to deal with. I'll be honest with you, I don't recall the title of the book. I went through all of my Goodreads reviews trying to find it, but then I remembered that the author hated my review so much that he insisted I take it down.

Let me explain to you how I review books. I believe in honesty. What I don't like is being mean. In my opinion, being mean serves no purpose whatsoever. I pull every good thing about a book and its author and I write about that. I also write about what I didn't like, the things that didn't really work for me as a reader - but I'm never a jerk about it.

This particular book was fragmented and confusing. Here, I'll try to sum it up for you so you can get an idea about what I was reading. Simply put - and there was nothing simple about this book - it was about a frog that witnessed a murder ... told from the frog's perspective.

There was a bunch of other stuff thrown in ... religion and other hazy things. As far as creativity goes, I thought the author was pretty amazing - but I struggled to get through it. I did get through it - and in the regulated time frame - and then I wrote the review.

As an author, I've always been told not to interact too much with a reviewer, especially if it's someone you don't know. Just say thanks and move on. That is not what this author did. I received several scathing emails about how unenlightened and stupid I was for not fully grasping what it was he was trying to get across in his novel. It didn't escape my notice after reading both his book and all the hate mail he sent me that English was not his first language. He spoke and wrote it incredibly well - even the mean and nasty parts. Although my review was not a negative one, he demanded that I remove it from Goodreads and Amazon. I did. Then, a short time later, there was a lot about this particular author written in the message threads for the review group. Turns out I wasn't the only reader who was stupid and unenlightened.

The topic of this post is about posing a question to an author I hate. I don't really have one. This author gave me a lot more information about his thoughts and feelings than I ever wanted to know. I'm good. This whole experience left me shaking my head, but at least it was interesting, right? And I was able to come out of it with my high opinion of amphibians still intact. Even those smart and enlightened ones who are unfortunate enough to witness a homicide.