a review from Love Romances for my short, The Unbeaten Track. She called it compelling, but the best part was that the reviewer really seemed to get what I was trying to do with it. It's a character piece more than anything else, and she responded to Judah and Sean exactly as I hoped.
It's always a gift when that happens. When authors put stories out into the world, they take on a new life. People bring their own experiences and expectations to reading our work, and we have absolutely zero control over how they will respond to it beyond ensuring that it's as technically polished as possible. There's nothing wrong with that, of course. Certainly, I as a reader have responded to books in different ways than some of my best friends. That's what makes us all so unique.
But from a writer's point of view, it's sometimes hard to see, especially if actions or intents get misinterpreted. The urge to explain to the reader, "No, this is what I meant, see?" is almost always there. In order to respect the reader and the subsequent opinions that are formed, we have to keep our mouths shut. It's out of our hands, and frankly, none of our business. I wouldn't want my favorite authors telling me what to think, so why on earth would I do the same to people to read my work?
Which is all a tangent and has absolutely nothing to do with Helen's review at Love Romances, except that I finished reading what she had to say about The Unbeaten Track with a huge smile on my face. Reviews like that are a reminder of why I do what I do. She complimented me on how real both men and their world seem, which is almost always my primary goal.
She got it. So to her I say, thank you so much!