July 02, 2012
Filed Under (HUH?, You don't say...?) by svana

So, I was reading the blog of one of my favourite authors today, Ilona Andrews, and was shocked to discover author hate. Yes, readers hating on the author. WTF?

The first thing to know about Ilona is that the books are a joint effort between her and her husband, Gordon. Being a big fan of working with my husband it’s a delight to see another couple working together and still seemingly happily married and experiencing true partnership in their life. The blog posts, which are often short but telling, give an insight into a day-to-day life that you normally would not see. And that, to me, shows a tremendous amount of trust on the part of Ilona and Gordon. These two people are not “public property”. Sure, they write a couple of different series of books that have put them in the public eye, but this does not give the public ownership over them, or their characters.

As an example, the Kate Daniels series contains some reference to sex, but it is not integral to the story. It simply is. It is incorporated as part of the story to illustrate the strong chemistry between certain characters, but is not what the stories are about. This is actually a refreshing change from the recent trend of female hero fantasy stories. These marvelously strong female leads who must suddenly surrender to Harlequin-esque bodice ripping. I mean, really?

Just because you do not agree with the story device of either sex being used or sex not being used does not give you the right to attack the author(s). If you can’t state your difference of opinion in a grown up manner, or at least in a respectful manner, then do what your mama should have taught you: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything.

The sense of entitlement absolutely baffles me. Emailing, tweeting, commenting, or otherwise harrassing an author because you don’t like how their characters are turning out. This whole faceless, nameless air of unaccountability sucks.

When I read Ilona’s comment in Gordon’s post about Curran and the hot tub, telling people to be nice to her husband, or else, it elicited a heartfelt “woo and hoo” from behind my laptop screen, followed closely by, “what the fuck are people thinking?”

The Curran POV’s that Gordon writes are bonus material, brilliant bonus material. They provide the much desired Curran thought process from key scenes of the novels. (For those that have not read the books, they are written in the first-person, from Kate’s point of view, which is why the Curran POV’s are in such demand) They are the absolutely guilt-free treat that you crave, be it a chocolate cupcake, or triple fudge sundae with sprinkles, or whatever floats your boat. And they are so totally worth the read.

Suffice it to say, I know that in our very liberal, open-minded, talk-about-anything household our kid, who was reading Maria V. Snyder’s Poison Study series when she was 10 can safely pick up any one of the Kate Daniels novels and not have her synapses fried on pointless, mindless, story-filling sex. Everything that our daughter has read, one or both of us have read first. There have been a couple of times where we knew something was borderline, but we also knew that she would ask us about it. Sure enough, she did. And we sat down with her and talked about it.

In some of their blog posts, Ilona and Gordon have had to put their foot down and tell people to settle down with regards to sex (or lack thereof) in their books, and hating in general. I mean, really, what’s the point of writing an author to say “I hate your books, I wish you were dead.”? Seriously people? Don’t like it, don’t read it anymore. Same as TV: don’t like the show, change the channel.

Side note to Illona and Gordon: For every one person that says they’ll never buy another one of your books, I’ll be the one buying two copies. One electronic, one paper. Secondly, every person that I have introduced to the Kate Daniels series has become a rabid fan. And about 80% of those people are buying electronic and paper copies, too. So, I think we’ve got you covered here in Canada. 😉

At the end of the day, I think the internet’s zero accountability is largely to blame for these hateful behaviours. I’m not suggesting a Big Brother society, but people really do need to treat others with respect and courtesy whether it’s face-to-face, or miles away via electrons.

We touched on a few points here, so let’s summarize (in no particular order):

  1. Stop hating on authors. If you don’t like what they do, vote with your wallet and don’t buy or read any more of their books. If you think you can do better than them, step up to the plate and prove it. Otherwise, shut the hell up and keep your hate to yourself.
  2. I think it’s pretty obvious we’re fans of Ilona, Gordon, their books, and their partnership. I’m absolutely willing to let them babysit my 13-year-old in the form of a book, and that’s saying something, as I’m fussy about who watches over our kid.
  3. Fans/Readers have the right to their enjoyment of a book or series, but do not have the right to demand the author(s) write in a specific manner. Many times the characters have their own voice and will tell the author their story. A good author will write that story out, tidy it up a bit and send it out into the world. It’s not your story. They aren’t your characters. You’re along for the ride. As the bumper sticker says: Sit down. Strap in. Hang on, and shut the hell up!

At the end of the day my gateway drug to the world of Kate Daniels and the writing of Ilona Andrews was Magic Bites. By her own words, she felt the book wasn’t that good as it was their first, and they were inexperienced. I liken it to sake: after 3 cups you are hooked, giddy, intoxicated and have no choice but to go along for the ride. And the ride is totally worth it.

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