Two nights ago, I found a new review for my newest book. I opened the link and sat and stared at it. Did I want to read it? *deep breath* This is someone I know, an author who tends to be as critical with reviews as I am. Yes, I have it coming to hear the ugly truth about my work along with whatever praise I can hope for, since I do share my honest opinions when giving reviews. I’m nice about it. I don’t want to deter a writer from writing (although my feeling is that if a writer CAN be deterred due to a bad review or two or three, maybe that’s just as well).
This book is my fourth. As long as I make some of my books, it’s the equivalent of about 8 or 9 romance-length books. It’s also the deepest and most powerful story I’ve written. I expect to hear about that, about issues I’ve raised some readers may not appreciate. That said, I also think I’ve learned a heck of a lot over the thirteen plus years I’ve been novelling (I do realize that’s not a word, yes, but I’m a writer and it’s artistic license). And I hope with each book that growth will show.
I cheated. My son read the review for me while I clenched my eyes and held my breath (exaggeration – writer’s license).
When it came to this part, I unclenched and grabbed a huge breath of relief:
“This book shows how much LK has grown into her craft. Her characters, especially Ryan and the girl, Kaitlyn, are as I expect from LK; deep, believable and ones the reader can both root for or want to slap upside the head at times. As far as the writing itself, it’s concise and flows extremely well. One of her best efforts yet. I read it in less than a week, sacrificing many hours of sleep to finish it.”
A.L. Marquardt, author of “A Reason To Hope” http://almarquardt.com/blog/?p=217
*whew* (Yes, there is a character you’re supposed to want to slap upside the head at times!)
I’ve been fortunate with my reviews and have received some incredible words. Here are a mix of some of the highlights from all four books:
"Really classic, soul-moving stuff. It is unforgettable... The romance was described exquisitely -- gorgeous, living-eternally writing! ...you have created a masterpiece ... I absolutely could not put it down."
Marilyn Savage Gray, author of "The Real Shakespeare"
“In the style of most great storytellers, Ms. Hunsaker has created a cast of characters that captivated me, had me on the edge of my seat, not even wanting to close my eyes at 4am. Though I am known for not wanting to stop reading in the middle of the story, I can scarcely recall a time that I have become so engrossed in the lives of the characters so totally. I very much look forward to reading the next three stories.”
Dee of dee and Dee Dish … About Books
“Very raw. Very intriguing. When I settled down to continue reading, I finished OFF THE MOON in one sitting. At the kitchen table. On a laptop. With my arse going to sleep on a hard wooden chair. Yes, the story is THAT compelling.”
Lainey Bancroft author of The Trouble with Tessa
"I just finished reading your book. I'm kind of overwhelmed. As someone who has written lyrics and short stories for years, I'm amazed that such a complex person and story can be created, and told in such beautiful, thoughtful detail. I feel like I know her now, like I've been inside her thoughts and her life."
Lynda, a reader via email
Of course, with the good comes the bad and I’ve also heard such comments as “slow pacing” & “melancholy style” & “LONG” & “do I HAVE to suffer through reading this”! Seriously, although it wasn’t an actual review. At this point, I’m glad to say it makes me laugh to remember that comment. An author has to keep her feet in the dirt while her head is in the imaginative clouds, after all.
All readers have different interests and wants from their fiction. All authors will hear about it from readers who don’t quite care for some aspect of their work. It’s part of the job. Reviews are like taxes: a cost of writing, and a necessary thing that can sometimes be joyous and sometimes feel evil.
At the end of the day, if you hang on to words like these:
“LK, it was a pleasure to read FINISHING TOUCHES. You took a very difficult and poignant subject and gave it real soul and heart, without ever being sentimental. Jenna is very much a real person whom I could follow with profound interest.”
Lindsay Townsend, via email
“It's quite something... Very intense, very visceral, very emotional, very intelligent, ultra romantic, and Loraine's attention to the slightest detail, particularly in her protagonist's thought patterns…, is outstanding. I'm impressed.” [about Off The Moon]
Francesca Prescott, via email list
and then remember the dirt on your feet, you should have plenty of room to grow while rooted. So, a huge thank you to reviewers and readers who take the time to let us know both what you like and what you don’t.