Five days ago, I published She Wrote It, But…., which would turn out to be a liberating decree nisi for a long-time separation.
My intention had been to follow it up with the positive version, “She Wrote It, And…” But I was deterred by the pleasant truth that it would take way too long and I’m trying to write a book here 🙂 The positive version belongs in the Acknowledgements to Lucia’s War and that is where it will go. I will strive to leave no-one out. Margaret Madden does get a shout out though. She saw the soul in my book, and saved mine. Thank you 🙂
I don’t regret or walk back a word of my blogpost, but since I hit “post” a revolution has been going on in my head. After anger, I’ve reached a point of deep calm. It was well past time to disinfect this whole thing with sunlight, and now it’s over.
There was a bit of blowback, mostly centered around the most visible part: that I’d been reviewed very badly in the Irish Times. I’m not going to go into more detail about that, since it will be framed as focusing on one reviewer, and, you know, that’s done now. As far as I’m concerned, finished business. Fourth floor next time, and good luck, ok 💪
I have gone into nesting mode now for Lucia’s War and am working through the edits now. And while I will still be promoting White Feathers whenever I can, I won’t be talking about this stuff again. It’s past, and I have no anxiety about it any more.
A Note for Authors
However, I do believe that the whole post-partum period after a book is published needs to be framed in a way that will manage author expectations. Have a shrink on standby! And I think other authors are not always the best source for solidarity, particularly in Ireland. Kindly reviewed in the paper themselves, they are too relieved and panicked to relate to the following issue – Having your debut novel undergo disproportionate and remorseless denunciation from a place of power is an intersection of all manner of issues that differentiates it from an angry review on Goodreads. There are social implications too.
I believe that healing conversations can be had privately/publicly among those who have experienced this, without hurting critical independence for reviewers – but respectfully, authors who have not had that experience and are tempted to minimise it, might need to take a seat and stay there.
Finally – I want us writers not to get lost, or become invisible, or be “whatever happened to…”. I know I’ve been ornery and difficult, but if my stubbornness helps anyone else it will be worthwhile. However, my battles are fought, and I’m ready to move on with excitement at what is still to come. I wish that same feeling for everyone reading this 🙂