My co-author Von's brother, a grizzled ex-Detroit detective recently completed The Body Hunters Paradise Denied and gave his critique. Being a sixty something year old male with decades of police experience he had issues with the mystery aspect of the story and an issue with the way the romance between the main characters, Danielle and Aiden played out. He especially took issue with the pet names. Von called me one evening after work and told me what he had to say.
Being used to getting good feedback from our mostly female fanbase I went through the three stages of emotion after a critique. First I wanted to fix the problem. Maybe we did something wrong. Oh my God, I've gotta go back and fix the problem. How many copies are out there? How long will it take me to do another rewrite and submit it to Amazon?
The next stage was me being defensive. He doesn't know what he's talking about! How dare he tell us about our book! We read and reread our book dozens of times and it was perfect!
The last stage was anger. Who does he think he is? What makes him an expert? What's he doing reading girly books in the first place? You want a real police book go read a John Sandford novel and get outta my face!
I went to bed with his critique on my mind and it kept me up for a little while. The next day, I gave his opinion some more thought and picked it apart. Okay, for the next novel we'll pay more attention to the police aspect. Writing a book about two psychics who solve mysteries, we make every effort to follow the law and police protocol; Von was a paralegal in a former life and she's the expert on such matters. If she doesn't know the answer than that's what research is for. Since the book takes place in the real world, we're as close to the law as can be, but in the interest of the story we may bend a few rules, but its all plausible.
Now as far as the romance, I can't help him and he's outta luck. If you don't like Danielle being called 'Nani' and Danielle calling Aiden 'Big Daddy' then you need to be reading something else. Though its a paranormal mystery series, their relationship is the heart and soul of our books and that's what the readers love. Each book's mystery is what brings them together for them to have their relationship drama.
As if for vindication, that very same week, a couple of our readers told us how much they loved our sucker punch ending. The mystery, which kept them guessing until the very end was another reason their eyes were glued to the pages. We have another reader, who is half way through who keeps pestering us with questions and her hypothesis about how things are going to end and of course she's very wrong. To sum it up, our intended audience loves it, and is begging for more. While I appreciate Von's brother who has supported us with both novels, his opinion isn't the end all be all of our publishing career. As long as the people we write the book for enjoy it, I'm just fine with that. In the publishing business you can't cater to everyone. Besides, he shouldn't be reading girly books anyway.