In “Eyes Wide Open”, I related my experiences as a new author encouraged to ‘friend’ and ‘follow’ people on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Although my target readers are women, I was hoping to reach possible male readers, as well. As a result, I received tweets and texts from ‘lonely’ men wanting to become my ‘very best friends’. Well, guess what: they are still out there, awake and wanting companionship during the wee hours. In fact, one even dared to call me at one o’clock in the morning! Instead, he got to talk to my husband who told him, “Buy her book and get a life. Stop calling my wife!”
Man, what I would have given to see the shock on that dude’s face!
Needless to say, the next morning, I removed my phone number and typed in my husband’s, instead.
But predators and the “pathologically curious” are not the only ones who lurk. There are also trolls and haters. Usually, they are strangers but, sometimes, I actually know them from Facebook. These emotionally-fragile and easily-shocked people seem to look for reasons to be offended.
A few nights ago, I was the lucky winner of such a person who called me out on ‘trashy’ language she said she had found in my novel. Instead of addressing me about it on Messenger, she shamed me publicly on my Facebook wall. When I cooled down, I asked her, privately, which words she was talking about and what pages she found them on. As I expected, she never answered my question.
So I blocked her.
Out of curiosity, I went back through my book to check the language of one of my ‘saltier’ characters but I still found nothing objectionable. No f-bombs nor n-words. Not one.
Suddenly, I realized that she might have been talking about the hell my main character – a little girl — was suffering at the hands of bad people. “Bad” characters are simply that — bad. They do “bad” things and use “bad” language. And “bad” stuff happens to her before it gets better. And it definitely gets better.
Besides for being an author and editor, I am a wife, mother, and grandmother. I’m also a Christian, but I did not intend for my suspense novel to be classified as Christian fiction, as defined by Christian writer, Linda Yezak in her blog, “Turning Coffee Into Books”.
When my first shipment of books arrived, I immediately packaged up the first ones for my sons who would then pass them on to my grandchildren when they were mature enough to read them. Because I did plan for them to eventually read my books, I did not use language that would turn each page into a mine field.
So, fellow “tribe: members, now it’s your turn. Have you ever been criticized by readers for your characters’ language or events taking place in your books? If so, please share. Let’s swap ‘war stories’.