Kristy Kiernan‘s first novel, Catching Genius, was published in 2007 by Berkley Books and went on to become a word-of-mouth hit with reading groups. Her second novel, Matters of Faith, was an IndieNext Notable Selection and won a bronze medal in the Florida Book Awards. Between Friends was published April 6th, and is available everywhere now.
Kristy lives with her husband in southwest Florida and still spends as much time as she can reading on the beach and daydreaming about the story she’ll write next.
Please welcome Founding Deb Kristy Kiernan to the Ball!
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Wow — The Debutante Ball! I feel like one of those Disney Princesses (Princessi?) who gets all dressed up and starts spinning around with a goofy smile on her face. Of course if I actually tried that I would smack into walls and spent a week explaining to people that I really wasn’t an abused wife. Disney Princessi are clearly a much more coordinated bunch than I.
But I digress. (Come on, admit it…you’ve missed me!)
But — I have to just gush for a minute about how thrilled I am that not only is The Debutante Ball still going strong, it’s thriving, it’s better than ever. It has evolved while maintaining the original intent of bringing brilliant debut authors together to share their experiences as they dip their tender little toes into the roiling, shark-infested waters of the publishing world.
I don’t think I’ve ever envisioned anything that came together as beautifully in real life as I imagined it in my mind, and I am so absurdly proud. Congratulations to you all.
Now, back to the topic (I always had a problem staying on topic, didn’t I?): Reviews.
And because we all love our great reviews, I’ll chat about the not-so-great ones.
Now that my third book has come out (Between Friends, available everywhere!), I’ve come to a place of peace about rotten reviews, a Zen garden of joy and love if you will, a cool green place where all of God’s creatures come together in harmony and there is free cotton candy 24 hours a day. (The good kind, too, not the stuff in the bags.)
The name of this Utopia?
It’s the Glade of People Are Idiots.
I got there after wandering for a couple of years through the First One-Star Review Pit of Despair, the Dark Alley of the Second One-Star, the Avenue of Broken Dreams of Smacking a Reviewer, the Pretend It Doesn’t Make You Want To Scream Pavilion, the Stiff Upper Lip Reflecting Pool, the Everyone is Entitled To Their Opinion Arena, and the Maniacal Laughter Pool Hall.
I managed to find my way here the way I often end up helping myself … by helping someone else first. In this case, a good friend had a book come out, a pretty big book that made a lot of bestseller lists. But she was devastated by a rash of bad reviews that had been posted at the usual places — Amazon, GoodReads, Library Thing — and she genuinely couldn’t understand how people could be so, well, mean in their bad reviews.
And it does seem that many people who write bad reviews don’t just say they didn’t care for the book, they seem really quite angry about it, as if the author purposely wrote it and forced them to read it simply to infuriate them.
I was trying to come up with a way to make her feel better, and the best I could do on such short notice was to tell her to calm down, and think of the last book that blew her away. The last book that made her (as Evidence of Things Unseen by Marianne Wiggins did to me) lie down on the floor with it clutched to her chest and wonder why she was even trying to be a writer when this was out there.
Her answer was dreamy and wistful … Life of Pi by Yann Martel.
I made her go to Life of Pi’s Amazon page, and pull up only the one-star reviews and read them out loud to me. We alternated laughing with gasping in astonishment at some of the 120 one-star reviews of the book, and she slowly calmed down, and then, at last, the light broke through and a choir of angels sang.
“Oh,” she said, “people are idiots.”
Welcome to the Glade.