I talk a fair amount about my first published novel, and its sequel which is making the worldwide distribution rounds starting tomorrow! As an author, perhaps in particular as an independent author, I struggle with my own self-assessment of my work. Is it good enough for people to actually read? Will they like it? Am I wasting my time by putting my works out there?
I’m no stranger to writing. As an attorney of 11 years, I spent an inordinate amount of time reading and writing–but technical, legal reading, mostly of case law, and writing court motions or the occasional appellate brief (which trust me, every attorney despises–well, most every attorney). That’s a very different kind of writing from creative writing, and regardless of how good I thought my legal writing was, or how many cases I won, I will probably always be insecure about my creative writing.
I published Hoffnungslose Ziele: A Dark Journey of Lost Causes, my first novel ever to grace store shelves (both physical and virtual, as it is available in both print and eBook formats), on 19 September 2017. Since then, I’ve been extremely encouraged by the feedback I’ve received, both privately, and less frequently, in publicly posted book reviews (which no author can ever get enough of!)
Because of a strange hiccup with Amazon reviews disappearing, sometimes before I could even read them, I’ve started to be more diligent about checking for (and taking screenshots of) new reviews, and I have also made several public statements encouraging readers to leave reviews at Goodreads rather than Amazon, since it seems to have less issues in terms of disappearing reviews.
I’ve consolidated those reviews I managed to screenshot (6 so far, including an Amazon review that vanished after I took a screen shot–maybe the reviewer changed his or her mind) on my book’s main page, but this morning I woke up to a review that floored me so much I just can’t help but share it:
This book was unexpected. A friend of mine recommended it to me and I was skeptical. I’m not a fan typically of anything vampire related but this book was different. From the beginning, you feel like you can relate to the characters and it’s like you’re there. It’s been a long time since a book has taken me to an entirely different world. I read it in one sitting and had to live on a couple hours of sleep the following day but it was well worth it as I seriously couldn’t put it down.
I’ve been in a very bad relationship and Anna’s disappearance (I won’t reveal too much of the story) was actually therapeutic for me as it was tough to dig in the past but also, reminded me that even when something awful happens to you, if you can get out then you can become an even better, stronger person from the experience. I started reading this book thinking it wouldn’t be my cup of tea and ended up reading it twice, which is a first for me. I wanted to be sure I understood it all.
The references to heaven and hell really made me start thinking about so many “what ifs” about when we die. You can tell by this book that the author has studied a variety of different topics that have been beautifully woven into this storyline. When Christine became a werewolf, I felt that I could smell what she smelled, and hear what she heard. I’m not a writer and the way the book was written made me actually think in my head, I feel like I understand what it’d be like to be a dog (lol) and again, being able to put yourself not only into different scenarios but being able to imagine how it’d be if you were an entirely different species, is something that I’d classify as true talent. Like I said, I find myself rooting for the characters and taking qualities and feelings that each character felt and applying them to my own life – feelings that have been buried for so many years came back with this book.
What really helps here is this novel is written as journal entries of the characters so you understand the character’s feelings as you’re gaining insight into their experiences that shaped who they are. The sorcery is written in such a real way that you feel like it could really happen, it’s that book that you know is fiction but you forget that while becoming so engrossed in the storyline. It’s a journey that delves deep into struggles with morality/ what we perceive as right and wrong based on our upbringing/ experiences and really makes you feel like you can triumph even after truly horrendous things happen. You will fall in love with the writing style, the storyline, the characters, and will be able to relate to so many deep and dark feelings that aren’t talked about much in society but should be.
This book is such an incredible read and one that will have you ordering the next one before you even finish it, I promise you! Be sure to pay attention, there are a lot of metaphors, it’s not some cheesy book about werewolves and vampires, it’s a deep book about human nature and the struggles we all face.
Wow! And after that write-up, of course she gave me 5 stars out of 5!
As I mentioned on my page about living with a chronic illness, I wrote and published both as an escape, and because I was genuinely afraid (and still am) that my days of being capable of writing a novel are numbered due to the cognitive difficulties that come with my disease. Since writing had always been my childhood dream, I felt compelled to indulge that dream to matter the cost. And that’s just what I did.
Reading the above review, which was posted yesterday on Goodreads and Amazon, I can now say “it was worth it.” To leave that kind of impression on even one person absolutely floors me, and I was blown away by her comments on my book. If I receive no other positive feedback on my first novel, or even if a bunch of people now tell me they hated it (no one has yet), it won’t matter because one person thought it was amazing and took the time to tell the world. Thank you so much!!
Hoffnungslose Ziele II: Anna’s Crusade comes out tomorrow. I would have liked to have made it available in print as well as eBook, but sales from my first novel just didn’t indicate there was demand for a print version. Hopefully someday that will change, and I can add print distribution. I personally have a strong preference for reading books in print, although I have a sizeable collection of eBooks on both iBooks and Kindle.
The sequel also tries to tackle some “big issues” in the midst of the characters’ adventures, so hopefully it’ll get a similar reception to its predecessor!