Having a cup of tea with my friends at Curious Book Fans…

Return of the Bee

A beneficial dialogue. Return of the Bee (Photo credit: MightyBoyBrian)

…well, figuratively speaking, at least, and in keeping with all things British for this UK book review site. I was interviewed by one of my favorite reviewers about The Purana Qila Stories and it was nice to be made to think deeply about my writing. So often, what we do as writers is to tell our stories and sit back and wait for people’s reactions in the form of stars and 25 word reviews on Amazon. Those reviews, while helpful, don’t often add to the conversations that I think every writer would love to have about their writing: what worked or did not work and why. What themes we deliberately constructed, and what is the sub-text that we ourselves may have missed? What rings true in someone else’s experience and where we may need to make a course correction. As a literature major, I loved sitting in a professor’s snug office and pulling out the thematic threads of a novel or play; it is an honor to have a reader take the time and care to give the same consideration to your own work.

The author-reader relationship is symbiotic. Someone who knows me and read A Deconstructed Heart is a psychology major, and she said she could not help reading my book, wondering what part of me or my psyche was woven into the story. I could have asked her too, what part of her was integral to her reading of the story. Perhaps I still will; I think we could both learn a lot about ourselves in the process.

A Change in the Weather reviewed at Curious Book Fans

An author is usually content to live a life of the inner mind, much like Shakespeare’s Hamlet, who said: “I could be bounded in a nutshell and call myself a king of infinite space.”

Every once in while, however, something connects our reverie to the world outside our head, enabling us to see the impact of our flights of fancy on others. One of those things might be that we burned the toast while daydreaming about our next novel. Another thing is a review. Especially a very good review (and no doubt, a very bad one).

A review is like the outside world knocking on the side of your skull to announce itself. It makes you realize that you are not scribbling away somewhere in a lonely garret, overlooked or forgotten. When the review is glowing, you know that your words resonated with someone else, someone who saw the image that was so vivid in your mind that you could write it no other way. Someone who saw, and said, yes, I see it too. There is a professional pleasure (not even pride) in this connection that motivates you to keep writing, because there’s a lot more you have to share.

I received one such beautiful review from Curious Book Fans for my short story, A Change in the Weather. In the words of Shakespeare again (The Winter’s Tale), it inspires me to continue on my way “To unpathed waters, undreamed shores.”