Thanks to Bayou Book Junkie for having us today!
Some of our readers sent over some questions and we’ve answered them here.
Do you read reviews that people have done on the Railers’ hockey romance series? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
RJ: The reviews that we have received on our Railers’ Hockey Romance series have been wonderful to read. Not everyone likes hockey, not everyone likes sports romance, hell, not everyone liked that our main character was a closet Pokemon fan, but in the main the series has been incredibly well received and reviewed. We have a wonderful close knit community of supporters in the MM Hockey Romance Facebook group, who get together and discuss the books, and pass on some wonderful reviews. For me, Railers is my happy place, and I love the community it has built for Vicki and me.
As to reviews in general I’m afraid I’m an old jaded author. I’ve been published for 9 years now, and I’ve seen the good and the bad. I could spend hours looking at the bad ones but in the end I think as an author you have to look at bad reviews just enough to learn why the reviewer didn’t like your book. Often the bad review is because the reader expected a book that was like *insert another of my books here* and obviously not every book is going to be a Texas book, or a Montana book, or a repeat of The Christmas Throwaway. Sometimes I will get a review of book 5 in a series that mentions they hadn’t read books 1-4, and the worlds I try to create are just as entwined as the ones in Railers series. So I will read reviews I see, and if I realise that there is a consensus in moments I maybe missed in a manuscript, then I will learn from that.
However the ones who tell me that they are giving me a 1 star because they didn’t realise it was a *gay* book, I ignore those. LOL
VL: I honestly don’t have much to add to RJ’s incredible answer. I tend to shy away from terribly negative reviews as they mess with my creativity and throw me off my game. Constructive comments and criticism are fine and I take that back to my work table and try to learn from readers views, but the mean reviews where people are homophobic or irate because a character is gay, bi, trans or whatever I ignore much as RJ does. I find that overall most readers are generous and honest and so that makes up for the haters who just got to hate. Railers for sure is one of my happy places!
Have you ever gotten reader’s block?
RJ: This is a really good question. Writer’s block is something I think writers all get at one point or another. That moment when a story isn’t going the right way, or a character is determined not to act the way we want them to… those moments can freeze you. When I get writers block I do something else, like color in shapes I draw on paper, and I just empty my thoughts and somehow the story comes back to me after a short while.
Readers block is a whole other question, and i wasn’t sure what it even meant at first. The definition is: when you cannot, for the life of you, pick up a book and read it. I think I suffer with that a lot. I have go-to authors that I auto-read, because I feel like I’m in my happy space with them (Jordan L Hawk, NR Walker, Eli Easton, Marie Sexton, and VL Locey of course!). The problem for me is that my head is so full of stories that I can’t concentrate on reading at all. The curse of the writer’s brain. Oh, and another curse of that same brain is the inability to read a book, or watch a film without trying to guess the storyline. LOL
VL: Oh boy, this is a tough one. I read a lot. Or as much as I can possibly fit in given my time writing and doing life things, but I don’t know as I can say I’ve ever gotten a block about reading. I’m open to a wide variety of genres from gay romance to fantasy tales to horror and everything in between. Perhaps that’s why I don’t get blocked on a certain genre. If I’ve read a lot of one trope I can leap from say a millionaire romance to something about a demonic clown in a sewer. Nothing shakes up your bored reader mind faster than a leap into a brand new genre!
Now writer’s block is a whole different kettle of fish. I have to assume every author deals with that at one time or another. Mine don’t seem to last too long but I do have moments where I’m typing along and then BLAM! a brick wall appears. In those instances I tend to leave the story for a bit and then come back to it the next day with the knot worked out. Knock on wood my blocks are small and easily resolved. So far anyway…
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