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Friday, November 29, 2013

"The End is Where We Begin"

You know, I don't often comment about books I don't like on here. I usually only comment on books that I LOVE and want to make sure y'all know influenced me, but I was reading through reviews for the third in a YA trilogy I was mildly interested in finishing - not madly in love with as many other people are - but interested in finishing . . . until the preponderance of the reviews came back negative. I won't name the book because I'm not interested in damaging the career of any fellow author, no matter how misguided she may have been with this book, but I mention this here because a) I think it's important for authors to pay attention to both good and bad reviews because we have a responsibility to our readers, and b) There was a comment made in one of the reviews that made me go, "uh huh! That's why." One reviewer said that this author has been quoted in interviews saying that she had "no idea" where the story was going when she first started writing the series. My creative writing students will chuckle at this, but if I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times - you DO NOT START WRITING A BOOK BEFORE YOU KNOW THE ENDING. This holds *especially* true for writing a series! If you are scrambling to make sense of everything you've already written at the end of the series, your readership can tell. At least, with this particular series, I could already tell from the beginning that she didn't have a plan, which is part of why I didn't get too emotionally invested in it in the first place.

So, here's what I promise you.

I have a plan. I have always had a plan. I planned out the basic premises of all six books before I started writing book 1, and I've known how the whole series will end before I started writing book 1. Have there been some changes to my plan along the way? Sure! Have I come up with new and different ideas as I go? Of course! Has the story evolved somewhat organically once the ball got rolling? You bet! But I have striven very hard to keep everything pointing toward the ending I planned out six years ago, and that has helped me to write a story that is coherent, logical, and enjoyable. You, the reader, can trust me. I take your feelings into consideration, and as long as I CAN work something in that I know you want, I WILL. Everything that you think "means something" probably in fact does, and there really is a "puzzle" for you to figure out. AND I have beta readers already lined up to read book 6 when I finish who will let me know if my plan has been executed to satisfaction and whether or not you, the reader, will feel fulfilled by it. I don't want to let you down, and I think any author who puts edginess or shock value above the needs of the readers has lost his/her way. I promise to give you an ending that has a eucatastrophe, an ending that makes sense, and an ending that has, really, existed all along.

One of my favorite bands has a recently-released album entitled, "The End is Where We Begin." Good advice for any author, especially an author with thousands of people riding on his/her books. At the end of the day, I don't want my readers to close book 6 and say, "What was the point?" And that is clearly what has happened to this author.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Letter to My Readers

Dear Readers,

A long time ago (in a galaxy far, far away . . . sorry, I couldn't resist), I said that I would just like to hit some bestselling list somewhere, somehow. I will admit that I really didn't think this would happen, at least not any time soon, so imagine my surprise when The Scroll, and then The Six, hit Amazon top 100 lists and stayed there . . . for a week! I am truly overwhelmed and humbled by the outpouring of support for my books, especially as of late, and I wanted to write and let you all know how thankful I am.

I've never been one of those authors who puts the "art" over all else. I am well aware that being an author is to be in the entertainment industry, and if I am not entertaining in the entertainment industry, then I am failing at my job. This has never been about being "true to myself," nor has it been some abstract thing where I just feel compelled to "create." Yes, I do want to be true to the calling that is on my life, and yes, I do want to create (or rather, subcreate, as I see it, but that's a discussion for a different day), but I feel very strongly that telling a good story that people get as invested in as some of you have gotten invested in mine is as much a service as anything else. I feel it is a high calling to be a storyteller, and that calling comes with a responsibility to not only tell a good story well, but to uplift the reader, and to meet their expectations for my work - expectations that I, as the storyteller, have set up. In a way, there is an informal contract that exists between reader and author. You have shown your dedication to my stories by buying them, reading them, discussing them, and (in some cases) leaving reviews on Amazon and elsewhere. I promise to do my best to not disappoint any expectations you may have for how the story should end. At the very least, even if you don't like how I end the stories, hopefully you will all find it to be at least a fulfilling ending. I take this very seriously - I always have!

But, at the risk of getting too much further offtrack from what I set out to do, I really just wanted to say THANK YOU!

 I can hardly believe I can now call myself a bestselling author, and that sort of thing has ultimately very little to do with me, and very much to do with you. There would be no bestsellers without readers like you who support authors like me. Many people have written fabulous novels that have disappeared into obscurity for lack of a good readership base, and I count myself blessed to not be in that situation. I say onwards and upwards, and hopefully, with your support (and the tireless efforts of my unofficial social media army), we will all be rewarded with more and greater things happening for The Gateway Chronicles.

Yours very humbly,
K. B. Hoyle