New authors live or die by their reviews, but we all soon realise that not everyone is going to enjoy our work. However, constructive criticism is never a bad thing if we can swallow our pride and learn from it. I wanted to make my fictional novel believable, yet add to the story to make it interesting enough for readers to enjoy it. Predictability is bound to happen in my style of novel as it is based on real life, which sometimes can be very predictable.
As it was my first novel I wanted to play it a little safe, so I wrote a style of book that I enjoy reading, which are usually about adventures in a new country. I categorise these style of novels as holiday reading, not an epic blockbuster but still an enjoyable easy read with a little escapism thrown in.
I do also really enjoy reading novels in a slightly similar vein, which have a far more complex story line and some really interesting characters. Such great novels like; ‘Chocolat’ by Joanne Harris, and The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson, two wonderful books set in France that I thoroughly enjoyed reading.
Books that I have recently read that were more like my style of novel, either fact or fiction or a little of both are A Parrot in My Soup by Andy Frazier, French Fried: one man’s move to France .. by Chris Dolley, Best Foot Forward – A 500-Mile Walk Through Hidden… by Susie Kelly, Heads Above Water by Stephanie Dagg, and ALL EXPENSES PAID (Fact meets Fiction) by Helen Ducal.
There are of course many more which I am adding to my Amazon book store on French Classified and I am adding more as I find them and read them.
I was really honoured to a receive a 4 star review from the last author mentioned Helen Ducal. I was so pleased that Helen enjoyed my book as much as I enjoyed hers and took the time to write a review.
Personally I do not think authors in my category are competing with each other and it is great that we can enjoy reading each others books. All the books that I have mentioned have a different take on life in France so all of them stand alone on their own merits. If you have not taken the plunge to follow us yet you will find that creating a novel can be as enjoyable as reading one, despite the hours and hours it takes to finally get it published.
There is a lot of help out there for editing and formatting your novel, but bear in mind that your novel will not appeal to everyone and be prepared for a little criticism, which comes with the territory. It sometimes feels like you are are back in the classroom, my school reports usually read; Steve tries hard, but could have done a little better.’ I would now reply; ‘I tried to the best of my ability, but at least I tried!’
The thing that struck me, reading this book, was the honesty. If you haven’t been through the upheaval, albeit by choice, of moving to another country, then you might think some of it is poetic licence. In my experience, the more over the top it sounds, the more likely it is to be true. There is an element of predictability in the story but this, I think, caters to the comfort zone, in all of us. In the way that we can relate to nosey or stuck-up (there’s an old expression for you) neighbours. All the characters are totally recognisable. Their determination to see the possibilities when faced with a less than desirable new home is well balanced with the sense of despondency. Like I say, it’s reality. Always a good thing to have in fiction. I found myself nodding in agreement and laughing out loud and being surprised in equal measure. A great read that will make you smile.