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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lions and Tigers and Reviews ~ Oh My!

Recently, I've received several questions on the subject of reviews:
What's your opinion on writing reviews?
How does it feel to have a work receiving so many positive reviews?
How do you as an author react to the occasional negative review? And…
Do you use reviews to help select the books you want to read?
Rather than continue to repeat the answers one at a time, I decided to tackle the entire subject on my blog (lucky you :-)), but before I do, I thought it might help to share a little about myself: how I write, what I write, and my basic philosophy on subjectivity.

How I write:
I always let the story lead.  The characters and the action take me wherever they want to go, and I simply follow (because if I don't, they will all turn on me in very short order...).  Yes, it's true: I don't lead.  In fact, writing is always an "energetic" exercise (a combination of passion, imagination, and flow); it is never an analytical process. On the rare occasions when I forget and try to tell myself what to write next, or, heaven forbid, tell my characters what they should and should not do, my writing comes to a screeching halt.

What I write
I write the story that I love and feel most passionate about -- the book I would be most likely to pick up, read, and enjoy.  
My basic philosophy on subjectivity:
I will start by saying that as a mother, if I could teach my kids anything at all to help them walk through life, it would be the ability to tune into themselves, know their own truth, and follow it with impeccable resolve.  In a richly diverse and subjective world, there are as many opinions as there are people to possess them (and frankly, I think that's a good thing).
However, when an individual attempts to change who they are in order to please others, they risk getting caught in an endless loop of change that will never end in satisfaction. Why is that? Because no group of people can agree on what that change should be, and each adjustment will only please--and displease--a new group of people. Thus, creating the need to change (yet again) in order to please (and consequently displease) yet another group of people.
And so on and so on and so on... 
In other words, as long as the world is a richly diverse place full of unique individuals, there will never be uniformity of opinion. So whether one is an artist, songwriter, or author, the goal remains to create the best, most-authentic work possible -- and then to trust the universe to attract others of the same likeness, tastes, or interests to share in the experience.
You know: the whole birds of a feather thing...
Will a person who is not a match to a particular work come across it on occasion? Or will a particular work that is not a match to a certain individual still end up on the wall, playing on the radio, or situated in the wrong pair of hands on occasion? Absolutely, but more often than not, I believe the universe gets it right!
That said, here are the answers to the four, original questions:
What's your opinion on writing reviews?
I don't write them; however, if someone asks me for feedback, I may share something I consider helpful. (Or I may tell them the truth, that I don’t have a clue!) J
How does it feel to have a work receiving so many positive reviews?
Like all positive experiences, it feels great...but it doesn't change who I am or the way I approach my work: It just makes me realize what a great planet we live on -- that so many diverse people from so many different backgrounds and walks of life can come together to share in a single creative process.  It makes me thankful for each and every one.
How do you as an author react to the occasional negative review?
First, I take the advice of one of my favorite authors and try not to read them. However, if one of my super-de-duper, kryptonite fans (and they are truly that awesome!) brings one to my attention, I don't respond…at all.
Allow every person their own truth and hold fast to that which is yours.
Do you use reviews to help select the books you want to read?
No, but then, I have such a crystal-clear understanding of what I like…I prefer to read the back blurb and make my choice from there. 
When a friend tells me, You've just gotta read this book, I usually do!

1. Megan Root | March 10, 2011 at 02:30 AM EST 
You need a FAQ section
2. Tessa Dawn | March 10, 2011 at 11:06 AM EST 
3. Megan Root | March 11, 2011 at 12:52 AM EST 
Your fans are anxiously waiting! ;)
4. Tessa Dawn | March 11, 2011 at 10:01 PM EST 
In my defense :-), I will say there is a FAQ section in the Reader's Realm about the series and the characters; I just haven't created one that explains the \"dark recesses\" of my mind
5. Tracey S | March 13, 2011 at 07:01 PM EDT
Just spent today reading Blood Destiny - (thank goodness I have a wonderful husband that took care of the kiddles today!). I truly enjoyed it, and as a fellow Coloradoan, it was nice to have a book set in the Rockies instead of some east coast big city!! Looking forward to your next book. Take care and happy writing. ;-)
6. Serenity Wickford | March 22, 2011 at 09:08 AM EDT 
Making myself comfortable, I grabbed a warm blanket, the last cup of coffee for the evening, and a book. Tessa Dawn's Blood Destiny. My intention was to read a few chapters before calling it a night. I did not sleep! I literally could not stop reading. My first question to Tessa would be does she have an agent? For her book Blood Destiny, without a doubt is blockbuster movie material.
Tessa's imagination surpasses that of many of the authors whose novels have graced the big screen. Her words flow effortlessly, and she brings her characters to life brilliantly. The relationship between Nathaniel Silivasi, a lethal handsome vampire, and the brave headstrong human Jocelyn Levi, unfolds quickly and believably in Tessa's enthralling tale of Celestial Gods, human's, and unnatural beings.
I cannot stress strongly enough the excellence of Tessa's way with words and plot. Blood Destiny is necessary read for all avid readers. I cannot wait to read the next installment of the Blood Curse series.
Serenity Wickford