Since publishing The Quiet Roar of a Hummingbird in 2013, I've received more than twenty five-star reviews, posted by delighted readers throughout the country. So you can understand my surprise when I recently received my first negative review. Okay, this isn't something an author tends to draw attention to, but I found it quite interesting and hope you will, too.
At first I wondered if the reviewer had confused Hummingbird with another novel—talk about ego!!--then later wondered what might have happened to that reader for her to respond so unfavorably?
An important part of writing a novel involves engaging beta readers who provide valuable feedback before the novel is ready to be published. One of the lessons I've learned over time is how to interpret that feedback: which comments constitute constructive insights (that will ultimately be incorporated into the next revision) and how to let go of the rest.
Many of you may know that as a former caregiver, I now facilitate a support group for caregivers and also edit an online newsletter entitled, Together With Alzheimer's Ezine. So, I have some experience with caregiving, listening to the concerns of other caregivers, and responding to those concerns.
It occurred to me that the bulk of the reviews of The Quiet Roar of a Hummingbird were written by former caregivers who described the characters in the novel as engaging and their experiences informative. However, I also recall during the exhausting years of caring for my mother, that I was often short on time (and patience!) when it came to searching for answers to my caregiving questions. I valued brief, practical recommendations on what to do and what to avoid.
Long story short, I wrote to the person who had posted that frustrated review and suggested she might find Together With Alzheimer's Ezine more in keeping with her needs. I have no idea if she took me up on my suggestion to subscribe to this free publication, but I did notice that shortly after posting this offer, the ezine had an uptick in subscriptions. Who knows?
Feedback loops are on my radar screen for another reason, too. I've almost finished revising my second novel, Sunday's Orphan, and hope to soon send it out to a cadre of beta readers. This is where the rubber hits the road for a writer and I'm looking forward to their honest feedback.
Here's a peek at what Sunday's Orphan is about:
Set in 1930, during the aftermath of the first racial murder to occur in twenty years on the rural island of Martonsville, Georgia, Sunday's Orphan tells the story of distorted ideals, camouflaged love, and the impact of redemption as Phua Hart, a beloved Negro healer and midwife, descends into madness during her last-ditch effort to shield the identify of her unsuspecting racially-mixed daughter from a murderer intent on regaining the farmland she has inherited.
You're on target if you're thinking there are no hummingbirds in this novel, but, don't be too hasty because Promise Mears Crawford, the unsuspecting daughter, is like Hummingbird Windsor: feisty, ready and able to roar--1930's style.
I look forward to sharing details about Sunday's Orphan and its website, where you'll be able to stay abreast of pre-publication events and offerings.
In the meantime, for those involved in any aspect of caregiving, rest assured that I intend to continue to fuel the Quiet Roar through ongoing FREE publication of Together With Alzheimer's Ezine, AND ongoing availability of my debut novel, The Quiet Roar of a Hummingbird.
And don't forget my latest ebook: The Caregiver's Journey: Tools, Tips, and Provisions is being offered at a special price.
In my next update, I'll share details about the creative and rewarding initiatives that are coming to life within my local elder and dementia communities.
Thank you for your emails, letters, and ongoing support. You are the reason I find joy in writing.
With fond regards,