Aug 4 2010
One of the best parts of being a writer, as far as I’m concerned, is that sometimes you get sneak previews of books that really excite you, and this is the time of year when people send me ARCs (Advance Readers’ Copies) in the mail, hoping that I’ll read them and enjoy them and then say so in writing, in sufficient time for my comments to be used in or on the finished book by time of publication. The procedure is called “blurbing” . . . at least that’s what I call it . . . and it’s a time-honoured part of marketing campaigns everywhere. If people who enjoy my books see my name on someone else’s book, saying I loved it, then the expectation is that a certain number of my fans will go and read the other author, based upon my recommendation.
Today I received an ARC of Robert J. Wiersema’s new book, “Bedtime Story”, which is currently in preparation for a November, 2010, release date, and because I have time and it was a beautiful summer afternoon, I took it out onto my patio and started to read it immediately. Within ten pages I knew I was hooked and being reeled in like a fish, and I know already I’m not going to have any trouble blurbing this one. But there’s a major disadvantage to that, in this instance… Rob is an influential reviewer for several Canadian literary vehicles, including Quill and Quire, and he enjoys my books and has said so eloquently on several occasions. And there’s the rub, as Hamlet said. When Rob wrote his first novel in 2006, a wonderful piece called “Before I Wake“, I wrote a blurb for it that said, among other things, “…The tight, tersely written chapters with their constantly changing points of view had me totally enthralled. Wiersema is a storyteller who knows what being a master of the craft entails.” Then along came my next book, the following year, and Quill and Quire said they couldn’t use Rob’s review of it because I had blurbed his novel two years earlier . . . I suppose that’s fair ball, given the general preoccupation with conflicts of interest nowadays, but I’ll tell you, people, I remembered that when I said I’d blurb this one, too…
So now I’m launched on it and I know I’m going to read it quickly and with great enjoyment, even knowing as I do so that I’ll be robbing myself of a good, quotable review of my next book in Quill and Quire. But then, if the book (my next one) is good enough, Q&Q will find someone else to review it. The thing I’m already enjoying about “Bedtime Story” is that it is completely, unutterably different from “Before I Wake”, even though (to some people whose minds work that way) there might appear to be a connection of some kind between the two titles. There’s none. The two stories could not be more different and that, in this world of sequels and formulaic rehashes, is delightfully refreshing in itself.
You may not have discovered Rob Wiersema yet. He’s a Canadian author, based in Victoria BC, and he is the events coordinator for Bolen Books, one of the best independent bookstores in Western Canada. Both of his novels, “Before I Wake” and his new one, “Bedtime Story” are published by Random House Canada. Check him out.