Sunday, September 7, 2014

Keeping It Real

As a writer I can tell you that we authors love reviews. Really we do. Each and every one, be they good or bad. Sometimes something that is said in a review from a reader will hit you like a shoulder-check from that sexy Bruin, Milan Lucic.

Damn. I hope I`m not booted out of Rangerstown for saying that Luce is sexy. Here`s a picture of Hank to appease, and simply because The King is dreamy.

Okay. Sexy hockey players aside, I recently had a reader gift me with a wonderful compliment, and I`d like to pass it on then chat about it a bit. Lori at Amazon made this comment in a lovely review about Pink Pucks & Power Plays:

"The portrayal of Alain Lessard as a French-Canadian hockey player was so on the money. It took me back to when I worked for Stan Fischer and the NY Islanders."

You can find the rest of Lori`s review here:

Wow. I mean just . . . wow. To hear someone that worked with an NHL team say that Alain was spot on is incredible. And yes, it makes all those long hours spent researching seem less terrible. I know that quite a few people tend to think that romance novels are silly bits of rose-scented foo-foo that can say anything the author wishes because, you know, it`s just a romance book. I can cite one recent conversation to help nudge my point home a bit. 

A couple months ago, when I was working on Final Shifts, the last Wildcats book, I was having a terrible time finding what I needed on the internet, so I turned to one of my Rangers groups. Now bear in mind that these guys, and a few gals as well, know what I do for living. When I asked if anyone knew of any sites where I could get detailed information on what powers the NHL Commissioner has in terms of sanctions against head coaches, one my buddies replied that he thought it would be fine to just put what I wanted because, after all, it was fiction.

I didn`t wish to pick at the floating undercurrent of his reply. And I honestly do not think that he meant it to sound disrespectful. I`m sure there are thousands of people out there that would think the same way.' It`s a romance book about a fictional team that women who don`t know about the game will be reading to satisfy an itch, Vicki. Fluff over the details.'

I respectfully disagree. Lori`s comment is one reason why I do all that research. It`s why I spend hours sifting through NHL by-laws, coaching techniques, stats,looking up French/ Finnish/Take your pick of foreign languages, international recipes, nutritional demands of hockey players, NHL training videos—Okay, watching Kris LeTang exercise is not taxing in the least. I`ll come clean about that one—and the scores of other things that I, and every other author out there, does to make our fiction work as realistic as we possibly can. I cannot imagine the hours historical romance authors put in just to ensure they're using the proper term for a fork in 14th century Scotland. 

Just because it`s romance does not mean you can fluff the research because, somewhere along the line, a reader who knows is going to read your work. And while there are some things that readers will give you leeway on there are other things that they will nail you on,  and rightfully so.

Sure, romance is escapist fantasy to some extent, but even fantasy has to be grounded in reality a wee bit. And we romance writers are always working our backsides off to ensure that delicate mix that readers deserve. So here is a huge 'Thank you!' to every reader who has taken the time to let an author know that they`re doing a good job keeping it real.


Jean Joachim said...

Well said. However, sometimes readers think they know, but they don't and they blast you in a review when they are wrong. Those are situations we writers have to deal with. So we roll with the punches. But if you're going to call out a writer on a detail, make absolutely sure you are right and he or she is wrong before you do.

Melanie Ting said...

Great post, Vicki. I agree 100% that the details are important, especially to readers who are hockey fans first and romance readers second. A false note can take you out of the story faster than a hipcheck from Keith Ballard.

Cathy Brockman said...

I agree and details are improtant research makes it so much easier ofr those ous liek me that arent hockey fans enjoy the story too

V.L. Locey said...

Thanks for visiting and commenting Jean, Melanie, and Cathy.

I agree, one should know the facts before they call-out an author.

Flossie Benton Rogers said...

Enjoyed your post. I write paranormal fantasy romances, and even though I love putting my own spin on mythical ideas and creatures, I still have to know the stories in order to tap into them.

Tamara Hoffa said...

Yes, research is so hard, so many different views you can find on the internet. I was trying to find out how long a navy helicopter pilot would have to train. Lol, you should have seen how many different responses I got!
But again, I must agree with you one of my greatest reviews was from a former service person who was impressed with my research and that made me SO proud!

V.L. Locey said...

Many thanks for commenting Tamara and Flossie!

I`ve come across various answers in my research as well. Sometimes, I suspect, that may be where an error can occur since the internet is filled with various sites all claiming to be correct.