There is no better feeling than finding out that someone other than a dear friend, relative, or editor has read one’s book and really liked it. There is something about unbiased praise that makes the author’s heart beat just a little bit faster as the reality of critical acceptance seeps in. Hopefully the initial praise will make the bad reviews easier to bear, because every writer has to face them eventually! For me, I can at least say to myself–Not Yet!
My first unbiased reader was the lovely and talented (not to mention ridiculously handsome) writer Michael Boccacino, the author of the eerie and evocative historical novel Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling. Just knowing that he had read it and liked it was wonderful enough–but he was also kind enough to write the following concerning my debut book: “A lush Gothic romance nested within a time-traveling ghost story, Midnight in Your Arms is the very best kind of fairytale, an inventive tapestry of the nostalgic and the new that begs to be read into the early hours of the morning. A marvelous debut!
Then, whilst I was away on a mini-vacation this past week, my editor sent me an email with an attached scan of a page from this week’s Publishers Weekly–and guess what?! They had published a review! A POSITIVE one! I was deeply thrilled, as you can imagine, Reader. I’m still glowing.
This is what Publishers Weekly had to say: “Kelly’s thoughtful debut novella sensitively evokes the horrors of war and the emotional difficulties facing veterans in peacetime, and the atmospheric descriptions of 1920s London and Victorian high society illuminate the temporal and social differences separating the lovers.”
Any positive or even just slightly lukewarm review from PW would have made me happy–but this review really made me feel like a bajillion dollars, because it took note of the very things I most wanted to get right. One thing was the historical impact of war, not only on a country, but on the individual psyche. I wanted to write about two people who didn’t know if they were still human, or if they even had it in them to love–and have those two people find themselves in each other. I also wanted to get right the mood of the two eras–for you, Dear Reader, to feel like you are really there with Alaric, a prisoner encased in Victorian Gothic splendour. I wanted you to follow Laura through the ennui of her days as a kitchen medium and her nights as a dance club refugee trying to escape her generation’s memories.
I can only hope that when you read it at the end of October, Midnight In You Arms will prove Publishers Weekly and Mr. Boccacino right, and that you will like it as much as they did. Drop me a line then, and let me know how you feel, one way or the other. You can always tell me the truth–I’m banking on it. I write these stories for you–they are yours as much as mine, and I want us to be honest with each other!