Jane Austen wrote for herself, not her contemporaries. Her earliest reviewers were less than fully gung-ho about her fiction.
Among other things, if you go by a recent book by Claire Harman, certain critics felt Austen’s writing wasn’t fresh enough. Talk about critical blunders! It took decades and decades, but the world finally caught up with Austen’s honesty, wit, and horrifyingly accurate understanding of human nature
Should you yourself ignore your contemporaries? Your call.
But either way, there’s a good chance you can benefit from feedback. And in my guest essay for Andy Holloman, a debut novelist and blogger in Apex, North Carolina, near Raleigh, I tell how friends and strangers alike helped with The Solomon Scandals.
Like others, I’m looking forward to Andy’s own novel, Shades of Gray. What if your six-year-old girl needs a new kidney, you run a travel agency in a 9/11 slump, and a client ask you to help her smuggle cocaine via cruise ships (without the same level of security as airlines)? That’s his plot, and I can’t wait to see “which one of these people will live to see the summer of 2002.”
In the near future, Andy will appear in the Scandals blog. I’m open to other guest contributors, too, just so their books would fit here. Scandals is not a delicate coming of age novel or a clone of one of Ward Just’s works. Rather, it’s a gritty look at sleaze in media, government and business (even though, like Henry Adams’s Democracy and a good many other D.C. novels, Scandals is heavily fictionalized).