Fifty-six days from today my debut novel, The Last Will of Moira Leahy, will be released. I learned recently that my novel will be reviewed by Publishers Weekly next week (8/24) and Kirkus the week after next (9/1). My immediate reaction was to feel nervous. This. Is probably natural. No one wants to see their work examined for flaws, and let’s face it, reviewers of this caliber see the very best novels; they are consummate pros at recognizing brilliance–and something that could’ve sparkled more than it does.
Something happened as I considered this. A shift occurred, and my nerves settled. It’s okay. My novel has flaws, I’m sure of it. Have I done my very best? Yes. I have zero regrets. But that’s not why I’m okay with a tough review. What I’ve decided to do is use any criticism the book receives as a learning tool, just like I would with traditional critique. Whatever the criticisms are about–character or setting or voice or dialog or plot–I can use them to help become a better writer. Because, you know, book #2 isn’t finished.
Does it sound like I’m preparing for the worst? My mother taught me long ago that it’s good to do that, to armor up. But, yes, of course, I’m hoping for the best. For as long as I worked on Last Will–beginning it in 2002, then chucking it all to start again in 2005/06, finishing it in 2007, then editing it through late 2008–I would love the satisfaction of a good review.
I’ll let you know how it goes. Write on, all!