A friend sent me a post with some random reader rants about some of my favorite authors (well current and past favorite authors). It was interesting to read. Here are two of the excerpts...you can find the full post here at
The first comment was on Charlaine Harris... her crime...killing off main characters.
Randomly killing off main characters. Charlaine Harris wrote a cozy mystery series featuring Roe Teagarden, a librarian who solves mysteries. She was introduced as a southern widow lady in her 30s. During the series, Roe fell in and out of love with different individuals but seemed to have finally found her match with Martin. Roe hadn’t had much relationship success and her connection with Martin was a relief. In a Fool and His Honey, we see the two married and enjoying their new lives as newlyweds. The end of the book, however, ends with Harris killing Martin off. Like one Amazon reviewer said, I kept waiting for it to be a dream sequence. Another amazon commenter stated, "As an author, Charlaine Harris has the right to take her characters and storyline wherever she desires….as a reader, I have the right to say that she’s gone too far, and never pick up another one of her books."
According to a Crescent Blues interview, Harris admits that A Fool and His Honey is her most reviled book but she just wanted to do it. One of my friends says that with Harris, you have about 4 books until she totally screws things up. We are eternally grateful that the Shakespeare series didn’t sell well and Harris wrote only 4 books in that series. She didn’t have the time to eviscerate all that we fans have grown to love. Her Southern Vampire series is a perfect example of Harris’ inability to stop ruining her series. Sookie Stackhouse is becoming a laughing stock, a character whom EVERY male wants to bone and whose powers seem to grow with every book. Hmm. That sounds like a suspiciously similar fictional character.
The Second was Laurell K. Hamilton. Her crime...too much sex...I mean breaking her own rules.
Breaking your own rules. Laurell K Hamilton is my best example of this although I am pretty sure it happens all the time. Anita Blake began as a tough nosed necromancer with very human vulnerabilities and an attachment to furry stuffed penguins. Her greatest fear in solving mysteries and fighting beasts was losing her humanity. The series also had a great underpinning of romance. There was a love triangle of sorts between Richard, the “normal” one (as normal as a werewolf could be) and Jean Claude, the undead vampire.
Then LKH got divorced, proceeded to eviscerate the character of Richard (LKH had publicly declared her husband was the basis of this character), turned Anita into a sex fiend who had to have sex to feed her “arduer”, brought in another character called Micah to represent her new husband, gave him the biggest dick possible, proceeded to give interviews and blog about her personal sex life and how that it formed the basis of her books (ugh TMI!!!!) and basically ruined one of the best female urban fantasy series going at the time. Note: Ms. Hamilton currently denies her ex husband being the inspiration for Richard despite having said this repeatedly at book signings early in her career.
Now it's My Turn
I don’t agree with most of what this woman says. At the risk of offending future fans, I will say that it is foolish to think an author is required to do or not do certain things in their books. The same goes for TV shows and movies. It is very easy to sit back and watch something, or read something and say…I think it would have been better if the character hadn’t done this, or if the ending hadn’t happened this way. That is an opinion and everyone is entitled to their opinion. HOWEVER...the author hasn’t committed a felony by not choosing to develop the story in the manner in which you, the reader, thinks best. If you were really that peeved by something I would say write your own damn novel and end it however you see fit.
Maybe that is a little extreme, or over dramatic. Maybe that is just the mood I am in today. But come on! Not everyone can write a book, get an agent, sell it to a publisher, get it distributed and have it become a NY Times Bestseller. It is hard. It takes a lot of work, talent, creativity and oh yes...time. These are professional writers. They have honed their skills over many years. It annoys me that people think just because they can type a few words or carry around a journal they can call themselves a writer. Because knowing the alphabet somehow makes you qualified to make statements like the ones above…telling a professional how they should or should not do their job. Just because I can pick up a fork and knife doesn’t mean I tell the chef at a restaurant how to best serve a meal. I don’t tell my doctor how to read an x-ray. I don’t tell the pilot how to fly a plane. I don’t tell the policeman how to shoot a gun. I expect that as professionals they are trained. I accept that they know more than me and might actually know what they are doing as a result.
Perhaps I am overly sensitive. But these are their stories, their worlds, their characters. They came up with them and invited you, the reader, to observe. I can honestly say I wish the Anita Blake character didn’t have so much sex. But I would never dare to say that she broke a promise to me as a reader, or she owes it to her readers to continue to crank out the same thing, to not allow her character to grow or change. So when this person cranks out a novel(or perhaps a trilogy or series of books since that seems to be her focus in this post) maybe I will take her words more seriously. For now I say. Deal with it. Don’t read the books. There are obviously plenty of people out there who still enjoy them. Otherwise they wouldn't be on the shelves.