Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Love it or hate it

I’ve chatted with a few folks over the past few weeks, trying to talk up my new novel, Trinity on Tylos, but of course, people want to talk about the book they have read rather than the one they haven’t, so I’ve heard quite a bit about The Gift Horse.

Living in the South is a huge advantage in this business. All southerners were told as children, “If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything.” That means that people who didn’t like The Gift Horse are usually too polite to say so. Therefore, some readers say, “I just loved it. I couldn’t put it down.” Others just have a tight, polite smile. I guess they are the ones who hated it.

I went to a family reunion last weekend, and while I was there, one of my second cousins said she just loved my first book and can’t wait for this new one. Then she told me that her mother (my first cousin) was a bit shocked by The Gift Horse. I do understand that. The Gift Horse really isn’t for the faint of heart. When I wrote the back cover copy, I said something about taking a wild ride on The Gift Horse. And I wasn’t kidding.

Readers who love it usually cite the suspense, or simply mention how different it is. There are rules for writing fiction. When I wrote this novel I threw several of them out the proverbial window and told Angie’s story the way I saw it. In romance novels there must be a happy ending, in suspense novels the hero or heroine must overcome evil and have the opportunity for happiness. Only in literary fiction is a less than happy ending acceptable. However, in the world I see around me, not too many people enjoy the happy ending that is a prerequisite for winning the hearts and minds of the average reader. In some ways, The Gift Horse is outlandish, but I think it reflects the uncertainty of modern life.

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