There be good reviews, and there be bad, as the pirates would say. A critical review from someone who didn’t like your work is still a good review – carefully considered criticism can be extremely useful. I learn from some of the criticisms levelled at my own work. People must be allowed to have opinions, including whether they like, or dislike, a novel. The nasty reviews from people, who think abuse is some kind of intelligent criticism, are wasting everybody’s time. They reveal more about the reviewer’s character (or lack of) than the book itself.
I’m deep into my next book, using the five P’s to make sure my writing is improving, so it was a nice surprise to receive an email from my publisher advising me that an Amazon top 500 reviewer had read and reviewed A Wicked Kind of Dark (published by Odyssey Books 2013). Pop Bop has a way with words – I enjoyed reading the review for this reason alone. It was also nice to know that someone with such great command of the English language enjoyed reading my book.
So … A big thanks to Pop Bop and all those people who take the time to read and write carefully considered reviews. We authors appreciate it.
Jonathan K Benton
It’s not me for whom I’m scared. It’s my boys. I must believe there’s more good than bad in this world, but sometimes, jeez, it’s hard. Beautiful Alison was murdered by her husband: the media thinks it’s okay to splash his sordid past all over the papers and television so that Alison’s daughters cannot hide from the kind of man their father was. Lock him up. Forget about him. His daughters won’t. They’ll be scarred for life. Let them come to terms with what happened without having to hear it from their peers at school – inevitable now that the media have dragged out every last detail.
A terrorist thinks it’s okay to shoot down a civilian plane full of innocent men, women and children. Lunatics strap bombs to themselves and governments on all sides call blowing up children ‘collateral damage’. Economists are slowly coming to the conclusion that the widening gap between rich and poor is causing increasing instability spurred on by over-population, and climatologists have come to a consensus that climate change is a serious issue. No one listens. Not enough, anyway.
I know there’s beauty in the world. I hear it in a child’s laugh; I see it in their shining faces. Is it unrealistic to believe we can deliver them a safer world than this one? Are we big enough, are we strong enough? Simply put, are we good enough?
Jonathan K Benton
I was watching a documentary about Queen and realised that parallels can be drawn between a super group and a great book. Each member of Queen brought their own unique elements to the mix, that when combined, clicked to make extraordinary music.
A great book is a successful combination of elements too: Plot, Theme, Structure , Voice and Character. Think of these things as members of a super group. If you can successfully meld them into a novel, you’ll make ‘A Kind of Magic’ too.
Jonathan K Benton
Roger Federer inspires me. I admire Nadal’s snarling ferocity and Djokovic’s quirky athleticism and sense of humour. Both these players are great ambassadors of the game. But Roger Federer transcends tennis with his magnificent behaviour on and off the court. Give him a light sabre instead of a racket and he’d make the perfect Jedi. It might be because I love the arts. I remember watching the Paris Opera Ballet perform Swan Lake in Sydney – the principal dancer playing Princess Odette pirouetted onto stage and took my breath away. I’d only seen one other person in possession of that kind of balance and perfect poise. Roger Federer. At his exquisite best, he’s unstoppable. Approaching 33 years old – an age when many players have retired – he is still one of the best players in the world. That’s how good he is. I love those slow-motion shots showing Federer’s eyes never leaving the spot where his racket hits the ball. His face is serenely still: there’s no snarl or grimace – regular features on other players’ faces. He’s the only player whom regularly conjures this much emotion from the grandstands. Win or lose tomorrow, thank you Roger.