You know what I love? Lines like this:
I like Summer Devon’s work precisely because she’s a competent author
who writes well and you know exactly what you’re getting when you pick
up one of her books.
That's from a review of Sibling Rivals out in October. The reviewer liked the book, but it didn't set her world on fire. 3.5 out of 5 stars. Pleasant but not enthusiastic review.
When I headed over to goodreads, I couldn't help but notice other people were hmm about the book. Of course now I'm in a raging tizzy of fear.
I get pretty good reviews. I'm no constant five star queen but, yeah, I'm used to a general "go, Kate/Summer!" Maybe this one will not quite get the same applause.
And I tried to think what was different about this book?
I might have an answer. I think I know who to point a finger at. I have someone to blame if this falls on its face.
The reviewers! Naw, no, hahahahaha, just kidding.
The author! No. Way. She's great and the book is fine. (or so I'll repeat to myself to myself over and over and over through the middle of October--by then I'll be done. [I cringe when I think of a couple of my books and this is not one of the cringe-worthy ones. So okay. Phew.])
Give up? Don't know who to blame? Did I make it clear it's not me? In my mind, anyway?
BARBARA PYM! It is all her fault.
I freaking loved her books in the 90s. I read them and reread them. A few months back, I picked up Excellent Women and read most of it again. Soon after that, I started work on S.R. And what we have could be a result is my unconscious attempt at understated that she does so well. A single gesture carries a lot of meaning in that sort of writing. And let's be clear, her characters aren't kick-ass or even, always, particularly active. It's a retreat to another age, another sort of story.
Hey, speaking of which, did you know I wrote a few literary things? Here's one (a free short story! once published in a literary journal.)
So okay that might not fly these days. Maybe it doesn't fly when I accidentally attempt it, or maybe it doesn't fly with some readers. Or maybe that's not what happened. I don't know.
Let's make it clear: I never, ever sit down next to the window at Barnes and Noble and think "today I will try to write like [name of author]."
I just write the story. ... and surf the internet. And bug Linda or Nettie when they try to work. Sometimes I eavesdrop on other conversations. Now that's an education....
Returning to the matter at hand: What I'm trying to do here is to shift the blame just in case this story isn't universally adored. I've never attempted preemptive finger pointing, so this is a new genre of blog post.
Of course if this story (that I'm very fond of) turns out to be wildly popular, I might blame Barbara Pym anyway. Did I mention I love her stuff? Except I am not reading anything of hers again. Not for a while. My TBR list is way too long.
Speaking of which, I owe Beth and Eli. They're both excellent writers, but don't worry. They are not easily imitated. Nope. Can't see me accidentally writing like them.