I sometimes wonder why we get involved in this writing lark at all. For there is not an instant of the process which is not fraught.
Yes, there’s the whole triumph of creation business. Yes, yes, yes. Of course, there is.
But for every triumphant moment, there are scores of less delightful instants of self-doubt, terror, conviction that whatever we’ve written it’s not good enough or doesn’t adequately convey one’s vision.
If one writes historical fiction as do I, there’s the added pressure of not just getting the facts right, but getting the attitudes and mores correct. Does the dialogue communicate their way of thinking while at the same time speaking to a modern audience? And there’s the geography–because that’s changed too.
And since I’m a stickler for language and the style of the prose, but also always hopelessly aiming too high, there’s the nagging fear which ever plagues me that it’s not up to John Donne’s standard. (I know, I should get help…)
And all of this before one ever puts the thing under the gimlet eyes of agents, publishers and the press. Which is bad. Very bad.
Though nothing so nerve-wracking as the opinions (unexpressed is the very worst) of friends and family.
So, it’s a relief–and I mean that as a wipe your brow kind of relief with droplets of sweat flying off–to receive not one, but two favourable reviews from the press. (Despite my statement about friends and family, these are especially useful because you know they’re not being nice to spare your already lacerated feelings…I mean, who wants to watch a grown-up cry?)
First off, there was this about Of Honest Fame from The Romantic Type – http://bit.ly/f7yYKD
“This was such a great book! I’m a little biased when it comes to historical fiction because it’s my all-time favorite genre to read. However, the characters are truly captivating and memorable and very historically accurate to the time period. I know some of you might find historical fiction boring to say the least, but Of Honest Fame is different. It’s one of those ‘can’t put down’ books that makes you wish that you were actually there.
“I love the fact that it had such a hold on me that I did a little bit of research on the time period.
What did I find?
That it was very accurate! I want you guys to do your own research so I didn’t want to give anything away :).
Please M.M. Bennetts give us another!”
Then, to my shock and not a little pleasure, there was this about it, just out on Friday the 17th, from Sherri’s Jubilee – http://bit.ly/fy8866
“You will enjoy this historical novel set in London in 1812. Against the backdrop of Napoleon’s Russian campaign we are introduced to Foreign Secretary, Lord Castlereigh and his cast of spies, trying to out guess Napoleons minions.
“The author paints a vivid picture of our mind of the slums of Paris and London, the battle ravaged landscape of Europe and the brutality of espionage and counter espionage. The plot is fast moving enough to keep your interest and his descriptions of his characters, their feelings and motivation are well done.
“You feel their patriotism, humor, pride, vanity and rage at the injustices of their time, as well as their rage at the enemy. The author captures the extreme patience needed in the spy game in the person of his central character, “boy”, as he moves like a shadow through Paris, London and Vienna collecting information for the Foreign Secretary, and reuniting with his Maestro.
“The author raises our heartbeat, bringing us to an exciting and surprising climax while leaving the door open for his next period work. I look forward to Mr. Bennetts’ next work.”
And perhaps…just perhaps the old thing’s not so bad after all…