Lily Iona MacKenzie's Blog for Writers & Readers


How Readers Give Birth to Novels

These past weeks have reminded me of when I was eight months pregnant and bursting at the seams. I anticipated the child I was carrying whose gender I didn’t know yet. I also didn’t know the impact he (yes, a son) would have on my life. But friends and family were overloading me with anecdotes from their own lives, either from giving birth themselves and the various dimensions of that process, or with recommendations on planning for the child’s wellbeing and future. So young, I didn’t have a clue about what goes into raising a child to adulthood.

What has taken me back so many years to that amazing time? My novel Curva Peligrosa will be released this summer, and I’ve been working intensely with the publisher on revisions, back-cover copy, and front-cover images. As with any collaboration, there are highs and lows. I’m the one who has spent years (at least ten) giving life to this work, from its initial inception triggered by a news story I had read to the final chapter. I know the characters as well as anyone can since they are products of my imagination. I’ve given birth to them!

mexican womanYet the novel’s future once it is released remains beyond my knowledge. I can send out advance review copies to major publications. I can schedule radio and TV interviews. I can book readings at bookstores, libraries, and other venues. I can offer the novel to book clubs and arrange to visit them in person or via Skype. I can do Goodreads and Amazon giveaways and participate in numerous blog tours. But once the book launches, I have no control over how it’s received.

I can only hope that Curva, the novel’s main character, finds her way into readers’ hearts, and they will help her progress on whatever path lies ahead. Writers carry part of the burden, but readers are just as important in helping a work to flourish.


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