As a writer I check my Amazon reviews twice a week. Following the rankings, sales, and reviews is addicting so I make myself stay away as long as possible. A few days ago I received a 4 star review for my book Bad Luck Cadet. “Booklover” wrote the following review:
“Loved the book. Easy read. I wish you'd gone into more about your family life. I kept waiting to read how 18 weeks away from your established home and family played into your experience.
The story was good, but didn't really feel like we got to know how the 'YOU' at the academy meshed with the 'YOU' as a housewife for most of your life. Did you get homesick? Did you ever have a family emergency and have to make a choice to stay ay academy or tend to something at home? At any point was your husband thinking 'ok. you've made your point. Come home now'
Would love to have heard more about the wife/mother side of you and IF it was ever a struggle to balance your two lives.”
In the world of book publishing it’s frowned upon to comment on your own review. Mostly, reviews are for future readers and not the author. In this case, I was being asked questions and I couldn’t resist. Here’s my reply:
“As a writer we are told to never, never comment on a review. BUT, you are asking me questions and I hope you don't mind if I respond. First, thank you for taking the time to leave a review! You have asked wonderful questions. This was the first book I wrote (ever) and gosh I look back and think how much better I could do it now. Originally I wrote BLC for my blog and it was also published as a serial novel on NO Quarter magazine. The posts were taken directly from my weekly emails sent to friends and family. I wish I could answer your questions in more detail but while I was at the academy I put me first. My husband is a rock and he never stated, out loud, that I should come home. He supported me, gave me back and foot rubs, and cooked on the weekends so I could study. I made it because of his support. If you have additional questions I will happily answer by email. Thank you again for reading and reviewing! Suzieivy @ gmail dot com”
“Thank you so much for responding! I loved the book and love that you did this. I wish now I'd have given you 5 stars. I wrote the review more like an email to a friend. You are such an inspiration. Your book seriously turned my thinking from ' Oh no. What will I do with myself when my son leaves for college in a few years' to 'Oh MY GOD!!! What will I GET TO DO when my son is involved with his own life in a couple years?' I did not have a supportive family growing up so I didn't understand I could be anything I wanted. However, my husband sounds very much like yours. You really changed my point of view and I will forever thank you for that. (BTW my husband went through FEd Academy 17 years ago. He retires in 7. Time flies~ I've read pieces of your memoir to him- He loved that you kicked ass! The Cooper standard parts made him laugh. He knew exactly what it was you were talking about.
Then a few days later I received this direct message to my Twitter in box:
“Thanks to your book I just enrolled in a local community college certification program. (EMT training) Just turned 43”
Our conversation went back and forth until I realized this was “Booklover”. Her 15-year-old son is autistic but he is gaining independence and she is ready to discover herself. My dream to become a police officer started when I was 14. Life got in the way and I was 45 when I realized the dream.
I know this post is sounding like meme and I guess it is. As a writer, “Booklovers” communications will go down as one of my biggest highlights.
I love BlogHer because of the independent strong women I have become friends with. I want to know, did you have a dream? Did you fulfill that dream? Will you? Do you think age can stop you? I would really like to know...
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