Ironic Interview

*sigh* Sometimes I think like I’m too much of an ass for my own good.

For instance, my publisher has a deal with a review site which allows us writers to have our own pages on said review site. There is an interview form that we fill out and submit it back to our publisher, who then forwards it to the review site itself. It’s free marketing/publicity, so I decided to do it.

The irony?

Out of all the review sites I have found that reviewed my book, this is the only one that didn’t like it.

Granted, not that many sites reviewed my book anyway, and I am sure there are sites and know there are people who didn’t like what I wrote. I’m just saying (with no small amount of pride and gratification) that out of the ones I have found or who have contacted me, this is the only one that didn’t like my book.

Here’s the thing, though. Almost all the reviewer’s comments were spot on. I read her review and was bewildered at the two star rating she gave it (which she posted on multiple sites, thankyouverymuch). I had to read it three times to come to the conclusion that what she thought were bad traits, I strove to bring out. What she thought were negatives, I saw as positives.

There was only one particular in which she was flat out wrong, but though it chafes me, I can’t blame her. I imagine she has never been in a guy’s locker room, heard guys talking to each other when there are no women around, or perhaps even spent much time around straight men. (That last part was low and probably not even true, but I thought it was funny, so I’m leaving it. Ha!)

In a locker room setting, the most intelligent of guys will often dumb down their intellect, and become base, crude beasts. Not all, of course. But you get that much testosterone in one small space, and a great many social niceties are abandoned. There was a story recently about a NFL pro who was bitching about the horrible things that are said in the locker room. So many people were saying, “It’s a locker room! What the hell did you expect?” This doesn’t excuse them (especially the ones he was having trouble with, which I hope were atypical), but guys do terrible things when together in a group.

This reviewer said that Tim and his friends in my novel were stereotypical rednecks. False. They were douchebags. When they were together, even Cris, who was normally well spoken and bright, would sink to their levels. Furthermore, I live in California right next to a college (not that it’s the best of places, but it’s hardly redneck-ville). Some of the horrid language that Tim and his drunken asshole friends, some exact phrases, I plucked from the drunken idiots who would parade in front of my window, vainly trying to find their daddy-bought cars while bellowing ignorance and obscenities to each other. Tim and his friends in my novel were exactly that: young, drunk, ex-frat boy, over-privileged, douchebags. However, when it was just Tim and Cris or Cris and Hector, a lot of Tim/Hector’s more douchetastic qualities were lessened. I did this on purpose.

These aren’t rednecks. These are young, drunken idiots, who may be decent folk in real life, but the peer pressure of great gatherings of testosterone turn them into something else. This type of attitude, these conversations between Tim and his friends,were literally lifted from real life conversations. Their attitudes and language skills are despicable, unforgivable, and shouldn’t be encouraged, but they are, in fact, sadly real. I did my best (and frankly, I did a good job) at listening to how these guys actually speak, and replicating this in my novel.

So, to reiterate, this reviewer thought something good as far as writing style goes, was negative and stereotypical. In fact, all my good reviews, from both my incredibly kind and generous readers and the review sites themselves, all praised what this woman was damning and lamenting about. Multiple story lines, fleshed out characters, the pain and redemption of the main characters, the bigoted abuse heaped on my main character, etc. She saw these things as negative.

So, now I am trying to fill out this interview form, thinking about this and wondering at the irony of it all. Every writer, singer, actor, etc. feels that he or she has been wronged by a critic or the public at some point. It’s so common that it’s boring. But for a relative beginner (who frankly needs all the exposure he can get), I find myself in a weird spot. Would it be dignity to say, “Well, if they don’t like me, then I wouldn’t deign to be part of their site”? Or would I have my head all the way up my own ass and be so full of myself to not use this opportunity? I suspect the latter, honestly. So, I am planning to go ahead with it.

Regardless, I don’t know what she was expecting or what she normally reads, but if those are negative qualities in a book, then I strive to be bad.

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~ by Darren Endymion on December 5, 2013.

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