Monday, July 21, 2008

the first review

I don't know if it's normal or not, but every time I finish something new, I always think it's not good enough. Okay... I'll be honest. I usually think it's crap. This is probably why after I left journalism I never tried to get any of my fiction published for over twenty years.

So, at the end of last week, I saw that the trade reviewer Kirkus was scheduled to review Ghost Medicine this week. And it terrified me. In fact, I hardly slept all weekend. After all, I had heard so many horror stories about how Kirkus was like the monster under the bed for new authors, so I imagined every possible terrible thing they'd say about my book.

It even got to the point where I sent a lengthy and desperate email to a great writer named Lewis Buzbee (his Steinbeck's Ghost is also coming out on September 2... and is a terrific YA novel), because Lewis is such an accomplished author and is so cool about everything. Anyway, here's kind of the gist of our messages:

ANDREW: How do you deal with the stress of getting reviewed? I can't stand it, Lewis. I should have NEVER tried to get any of my books published.

LEWIS: Stop being a whiner and write.

Okay... I'll be honest again. It didn't go exactly like that. I said it was just the gist. In any event, Lewis is such a great guy, he really made me feel a lot better about all the stress I was putting on myself over my first national review. And, when I got out of bed (after not sleeping) this morning to begin my writing routine, I received an email from my editor with the Kirkus review.

Whew. It wasn't that bad. In fact, it was pretty dang good.

Here's a bit of it:

"...The slowly building narrative gathers the heart-wrenching moments together to create a fully engrossing tale. Understating the violence, Smith instead allows readers to create their own graphic images of skewered horses and gunshot wounds. Troy’s attempts at invisibility contrast with other characters’ desire for recognition and fatherly approval. Rose grows beyond a stock crotchety cat lady to provide moments of genuine humor and insight, very much in the mold of Terry Pratchett’s Granny Weatherwax... Smith canters to a satisfying finish."

-- Kirkus

Wow. Thanks, Kirkus.

Thanks, Lewis.