It's nearly time for the release of my next book, THE NOTORIOUS KNIGHT.
This means it's also time for the reviews to start coming in.
I approach reviews much as one would a snarling animal: warily and with trepidation. I never know how my books are going to be received.
Especially books that were not, shall we say, a walk in the park to write.
THE NOTORIOUS KNIGHT was not an easy book for me for a couple of reasons. I had a lot of Life Stuff going on while I was writing it -- nothing tragic to do with my immediate family, fortunately, but otherwise, serious and distressing.
For another, as I began writing the book, I found a major historical research boo-boo that affected not just THE NOTORIOUS KNIGHT, but at least one book to come after. Fortunately, it didn't matter for the prequel (MY LORD'S DESIRE). And some people said, "Who would know?" about the mistake. Well, I would know, so I had to make some major changes to the plot and the hero's history.
I also gave myself a tricky sort of heroine. Instead of the hero being the strong and silent type, Gillian is. Oh, she talks, all right, but she's certainly not into stamping her pretty little feet and tossing her mane of hair. She's more the slow burn kinda gal. And she doesn't go around discussing her feelings with all and sundry, and certainly not her fears. Or her secrets.
And then there's Bayard. He's the kind of hero who's charming and tons of fun, and whose Issues are buried, and buried deep. Sometimes that sort of guy can seem too flippant or selfish. Although I was very aware of the pitfalls, that still makes him a little more work than some other types of heroes.
Fortunately -- and here's where writing can be so very interesting -- the big research boo-boo led to a plot development that worked to make Bayard more interesting, and give him more emotional baggage, making him a "deeper" character than he might have been otherwise.
After the book was finished, after the hard work, revisions and proofs were done, it was time to wait. THE NOTORIOUS KNIGHT was out of my hands, and all I could do was hope that I'd written interesting characters that readers would like and feel for, that their actions and motives made sense, that the plot worked, and the setting seemed vivid and realistic.
And then, this week, Romantic Times gave THE NOTORIOUS KNIGHT four stars (out of five). I haven't seen the full review, just the rating. But that's enough to tell me that at least one reviewer liked it.
Cue the big sigh of relief.