I don’t know how Dean Koontz, or any author for that matter, felt after they completed their first novel. Were they elated? Were they sick to their stomach? Were they prone in a semi-fetal position rocking back and forth thinking that they would eventually have to deliver this literary child to the public for mass consumption and scrutiny? I have experienced all of these emotions, and more, in just the past few months.
I have been fortunate to have my first three Beta readers be very supportive and encouraging and give extremely positive feedback to The Waking Hours. I have just sent a digital copy to reader number four and, in the next few days, will hand deliver a hard copy to reader number five. In a perfect world, I paint a pretty picture of rainbows and unicorns as I receive their reviews of the book. But somewhere, in the far recesses of my mind, I know the second shoe eventually has to drop and it may not fall as precisely as I would like.
I am well-aware that with success comes the possibility of epic failure, or at least overtly constructive criticism, and I think I have secured myself behind a wall that is strong enough to allow me to absorb those critiques with a comfortable cushion. Although I have bled countless times trying to craft a worthy tale, there is still some blood to be shed in the battle of writer vs. reader and I know I will not emerge completely unscathed. To bastardize a line from one of my favorite movies, The Replacements, “Pain heals. Readers dig scars. Glory….lasts forever”.