Highbrowing my story into a corner?

Well Dreamscape started getting reader reviews this week. Two 4’s out of 5’s.

One reader left a comment:

This reviewer’s rating: 4 – Good

Wonderful read. I enjoyed the descriptive words of the old home being restored, plus the scariness of the plot. It made the haunting very real. The chemistry build-up scenes between the lovers were hot. The suspense of wondering how he was killed, if in fact he would still get killed, was tense at times. The only downer was I got lost at the end, though. I read it so fast(hard to put down), it was probably me that missed clues that it would end that way…Still, a good book concerning time-travel with romantic suspense. I would recommend it.

I was expecting some people to get lost. I crafted Dreamscape to be an Easter egg hunt. It’s a story within a story and I filled it with clues that I assumed any avid reader or movie goer would notice. Now I’m thinking uh oh. My husband told me some people would be confused by my ending. I assured him avid readers will recognize the stark clues right off the bat. This reader thoughtfully reviews a lot of books on Siren-Bookstrand’s website so obviously she’s an avid reader of romance.

Hmm…was I placing too much stock in avid readers being like my daughter? (the most well-read person I’ve ever known) She hasn’t read my book (see previous posts of a coward), but I’m sure she would have noticed my obvious clues right off.

I do like the way this reader comments favorably on the chemistry between Jason and Lanie. I also think it’s great that she found the plot scary. I like reading novels that make my heart pound with each turn of the page. She goes on to say it was hard to put down. An author couldn’t ask for better than that.  🙂

Yes I planned the suspense carefully. My first encounter with suspense was Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. I was eleven and visiting my sister’s house at the time. She was an avid reader and always had a stack of books to pick through. She loved crime novels and Agatha Christie, and so recommended that one. My older sister has passed on now, but we always shared books when she was alive. She was the one who introduced me to my first romance novel for that long train ride so many years ago. I know she’d love my stories. Just a side bar – I miss her terribly.

And Then There Were None was filled with clues, though at age eleven, I didn’t see them. A few years after I read it, I saw an old black and white movie entitled Ten Little Indians. I thought, hey wait a minute, that’s Agatha Christie’s story! I reread the novel and saw what my younger self had missed. The story was literally peppered with clues that pointed to the murderer. I already knew who the murderer was so picking out the clues was easy. Maybe that’s how Dreamscape will go. Maybe a reader will read it twice and go, holy cow! How obvious was that! How did I miss it??

LOL who knows. I sincerely hope this novel would be a keeper that people read more then once.

Hermes Online was pretty cut and dry – a simple love story and a ringside view of a woman’s damaged psyche as it slowly heals and allows love inside once more. That’s not how I wrote Dreamscape — this is a literary puzzle. Yes it’s complicated but I thought I’d scattered enough breadcrumbs that even Hansel and Gretel could find their way to the end and know what’s going on. Dreamscape was crafted with this implausible question in mind: Can a ghost find love among the living? Writing it I learned something about myself. I enjoy making the implausible plausible.

My reader then used the word downer and I’m seeing it as she read it. Expecting the story to be one way, then finding it to be another entirely, yeah I suppose that was disappointing. Downer {sigh} I sure hope I haven’t highbrowed my story into a corner.

Hindsight says perhaps I should have explained the mystery in the blurb better. It also says, I should keep my suspense novels out of erotic romance. If I am going to expect readers to uncover clues to the truth as they go along, perhaps that tale would have been better off published by another publisher who deals with suspense and not just romance. Suspense readers would be looking for things like that. Romance readers are looking for happily ever after. Siren has my book for a limited period of time and when my contract is up, I can renew it or peddle it elsewhere to an audience this type of book is suited for. I’ll wait and see, it is only the first week and first review after all.

Now don’t get me wrong here, I’m thrilled that the reader enjoyed it, thrilled too by my rating of 4 out of 5. That’s great news. On the plus side, it’s already sold more books than Hermes Online did in the first week. The worrisome part of that is, if people encounter my writing for the first time through Dreamscape, and they miss the story within a story and all the clues that make the ending plausible, they may say to themselves, Rose Anderson writes a hard to put down story, but I don’t like her endings. I won’t bother reading any more of her works.

I’m sure second guessing is how Agatha Christie slowly lost her mind!

About ~RoseAnderson

Rose Anderson is an award-winning author and dilettante who loves great conversation and delights in discovering interesting things to weave into stories. Rose also writes under the pen name Madeline Archer.
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