I want to thank everybody who read Sammy Keyes and the Showdown in Sin City this week. This book is a huge deal for me--the culmination of years and years of writing and plotting and planning and anticipating.
The thing about spending years and years writing and plotting and planning and anticipating is that the big deal you've blown a particular thing into may not be a big deal to anyone but you. I've learned that when the big day or event finally arrives, it's almost impossible for it to live up to the expectations you've put on it.
Critics can deflate you pretty quickly. "Really?" you think as you read. "You have a quibble over that?" As an author (or any creative person putting their work out there for the public to scrutinize) you have to develop a deflecting armor. You can't fire back--critics can say what they want and there's really nothing you can do about it--and you can't let those poisoned arrows pierce your heart. So if you're going to continue to be a creative person who puts their work out for the public to scrutinize, you have to tough it out through the jaded criticisms and believe that the people you work (or write) for (that's you), will collectively have a voice louder and with more sustain than paid-to-review critics.
Example: Someone sent me a post that a teacher had put on her blog about The Running Dream. She had quibbles. Whatever. But her students loved it--something she had trouble coming to grips with. Counter to where she chose to place the book, students kept shelving it back in her classroom's special MUST BE READ section--books students recommend to other students. With each new student who read the book, the enthusiasm for The Running Dream grew among the students until the teacher finally conceded that maybe they saw something she didn't.
Another example: There were critics who were lukewarm about Flipped.
Which sums up my point quit succinctly.
Anyway, I've developed armor and (especially necessary with a series, since, regardless of how substantive the books within it are, the titles get very limited literary respect) I've come to expect quibbles, or critics (professional or self-appointed) who just don't share the same sense of life I do and consequently don't "get" what I do.
So what was unexpected and awesome this week was the across-the-board positive reaction I received about Sin City. Obviously I loved the story and the plotting and the threads that have been weaving in my head for years, but there was NO guarantee that other people would. So it made me so incredibly happy this week to read all the comments that came in (especially here, where it matters to me most). This was a "life's work" undertaking and to have it resonate with people who also feel very invested in Sammy Keyes...I can't even explain how wonderful it feels. So thank you for all your wonderful reactions--it really made my week!
Next week we move on to the VST (Very Strange Thing) that happened when I started writing the final Sammy. See you then!