Thank you to everyone who took part in the recent conversations both here and on Facebook. It’s an interesting, fascinating — at times frustrating — exercise to share information with well over a half million people worldwide. You have to deal with a lot of questions and hand out a lot of disappointment along with lovely, satisfying dollops of exciting news and conversation.
The center of this blog and the pages on Facebook are a writer and her books. You may not love every single book. I don’t love every single book. But I do anticipate each one and enjoy the worlds Nora/JD bring to me.
I’ve read Nora’s books from nearly the beginning of her career. Actually, The Law is a Lady was the first book I remember consciously thinking “I want more from this author.” Over the years as a reader then a colleague, I’ve read them all. Some I reread regularly, some I enjoy and then just put away. I’ve got my favorites (Naked in Death, The Villa, Three Fates) and my least favorite — for some reason it’s Born in Ice (I know, people loooooooove that book). But books are a personal thing for me. I don’t share I just enjoy.
In this easily accessible social media life we’re leading everyone has an opinion — Nora/JD included. But the word “opinion” doesn’t come with a gold-plated shield allowing a poster to be rude and presume to know what an author does and why under the umbrella of opinion.
What I saw in Nora’s recent posts was humor and a great deal of patience for and a respectful nod to readers’ opinions and requests. (Please remember the humor and patience have been honed over 30 years — what’s a fabulous question about a book to a new reader is usually one she’s heard many times over.)
Neither Nora nor I expect herd mentality here. Every book will not be perfect for every reader. It’s not a fairy tale world full of rainbows and sparkles. Posts with dissenting points of view stay in the comments. Here and on Facebook.
I’ve wondered over and over how come so many people love the humor of Nora’s heroines, but don’t quite like it when humor is used to illustrate that while readers may pine for certain events in the In Deaths or multiple additions to a series that’s finished (please see the Brides and the Quinns and the MacGregors) those things will never happen. Somehow that’s interpreted as condescension or mocking when all it is is the answer no,
A great deal of my time is spent saying no. The reader email is full of requests Nora outlined in Comas and Kidnappings and Orphans. Oh my! (those weren’t even the most jaw dropping requests) and I can’t answer them with half the humor Nora does. A reader once wrote asking why the FAQ page on Nora’s website was so negative. I could see her point because the FAQ is mainly made up of answers to those requests for something more. Those answers invariably disappoint someone.
It’s an endless cycle. Sometimes it’s frustrating, sometimes it just makes me laugh because readers in general are a hopeful sort. I spent years asking for stories about children in a certain Silhouette series when they got to be adults. Years. And Nora was about to start those stories when she left that publisher. So I feel the pain about wanting, needing more. I really, really do.
Bottom line? Here’s why I can answer those questions with disappointing answers over and over:
Nora has given me three decades of wonder. I’ll bet she’s given that to many readers.
She’s a proven commodity to me and I trust that she will take me to places I didn’t even know I wanted to visit. I trust that I’ll have a fabulous time going to those places and meeting new characters who I’ll miss when I’m done.
Readers will outgrow authors. I’ve done it more than once. I know Nora has too. Sometimes you just need a break and return with vigor. Sometimes you are done and are sad that an author’s books no longer work for you.
That’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it.
So the request going forward is to share your thoughts. Positive or negative, please express those opinions in ways that don’t go over the line of respectful conversation. If you can’t do that, then please just don’t post. Walk away and find a new author. We wish you only the best and hope you find the stories that you need.
For me? I’ll just continue to trust that Nora will continue to tell me grand stories.