Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Coming to Terms with Sexuality

Today a I received a lovely 5-Star review of my The Old Mermaid's Tale on Amazon:

5.0 out of 5 stars A Grown Woman's Womens Lit Book, June 6, 2011
By N. Blackburn "neb0512" (Elgin, IL)
This review is from:The Old Mermaid's Tale (Paperback)
I have to be honest with the reader of this review. I had received this book as part of a package deal with the author's other book, Each Angel Burns, which I had been dying to read...and def. lived up to its' promise. I went into this book with a bit more trepidation as the description of the book didn't tickle my fancy in the least and I was concerned that I would be giving it a poor review.

Every so often, I am shocked about my reactions to a book. This book was a wonderful example of a MATURE, coming of age book that was written with a poignancy that with the age of the main character didn't come off as shallow, stupid or superficial and best yet, I didn't feel like I had dropped a couple of IQ points with often sticky, sweet, cutsey literature that women are forced to endure in reading books about women's issues, particularly with the age of the main character (late teens-early twenties)

This is def. an author I will be seeking out. Her writing has def. hit me with an enjoyment of drinking a fine glass of wine.

I was understandably thrilled by her review and, because I am always eager to improve my book marketing, I sent the reviewer a Private Message and asked her what she though could improve the appeal of the description. She replied with a very nice email and said that she didn't think the description as it is now conveyed the depth and maturity of the characters. She suggested I enhance to include that and added:

Something with coming to terms with sexuality in general...there is not one of those main characters that weren't trying to address something in theirs or others sexuality...and in the early 60's to boot!

This particularly impressed me because while, yes, that is a part of the story, I'm not quite sure how to present that when writing a description.

Clair, the main character, goes through quite a transformation over the course of the story. She goes from girlish longing, to the first thrilling experiments, to crushing disappointment when she finally experiences sex, and, ultimately, to passionate, all-consuming love. But her friends and lovers have their own struggles. One girlfriend is trying to protect her virtue while the other one can't wit to be rid of it. One guy doesn't understand why she won't just marry him and start a family. One wants her but fears if he consumates their relationship he'll never be able to leave her and he has things he needs to do. Another loves her dearly but is confused about his own sexuality, and yet another has had many women sexually but has never experienced love.

Because I grew up in the 1950s and 60s with the many conflicting messages we were sent about sex, my own sexual identity has always shifted and changed with both relationships and with my own growth as a person. Therefore it is interesting to me to read the observations of readers, especially women, from different age groups.

I'm going to think about Naomi's comments and try to weave her suggestions into the description. In the meantime I want to say how much appreciated her taking the time to both review and respond. The best part of a writer's life – outside of writing – is talking with our readers.

Thanks for reading.

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