There is a certain trust that is built between an author and her audience. This trust starts with the first word an author writes, and develops throughout her subsequent books. Most often this trust means that a reader will know what kind of work the author will publish, everything from the quality of the editing, the flow of the story, character developments and well-rounded endings.
Like most authors I am an avid reader and I have certain authors whose work is a “one-click-buy” for me, authors whose novels I know are “safe” to buy. When choosing to spend my hard-earned money on one of their books, I know exactly what I’m getting, which means I feel I can justify spending $13.99 on an e-book (trust me, this only happens with authors whose series or stand-alone novels I have followed for years).
But that brings me to my next point… what happens when said trust is broken? When an author writes something so out of her character, or something that is so below her normal standards that I, as a reader, feel betrayed? I am not talking about small things, like forgetting to edit a word or two – although it can be frustrating – but substantial changes that shocks a reader to the core.
One of the more memorable examples for me was a series I followed a few years back. I bought all the books as soon as they came out, left great reviews and supported the author all the way. I forgave the price increase, didn’t mention the shortening of each book, but what gutted me was what she did to her characters. The author of this series used to write amazing, completely-over-the-top-in-love heroes who would rather cut off their own arm before hurting the heroine. It was the most enjoyable aspect of her books. I fell in love with each hero she wrote, oh-ing and ah-ing over the lengths they would go to keep their women happy and safe. Then, suddenly, in one of her books completely out of the blue the hero cheated on the heroine.
NEVER would I have seen that coming. I was shell-shocked and it completely ruined the book for me. If it is one thing I detest and cannot forgive it is cheating (I know many readers don’t mind it, some like the conflicts it creates, the growth it forces on the characters, and though I understand it completely I don’t personally want to read about it). I do not believe in the HEA when either of the main characters cheat, especially when the premise for a series is how devoted the couples are to each other. Not only did the author break my trust, she ruined my enjoyment of the series. To this day, I have never read any of her books again. If an author is going to do a complete 180 with an already established, “safe” series, I’d ask that a warning is attached to the blurb.
The reason for this rant is, sadly, a similar occurrence that happened to me today and it made me so ragey I almost threw my kindle across the room!
Anyways, whoever eventually reads my books (if anyone), if you become a fan I promise I will never break your trust. You will never see cheating in any of my books, no ghost-writers allowed to mess with my carefully built words (I’m still salty about the ghostwriters of the Animorphs series, I truly loved the first books as a teenager) and definitely no excessive other-woman drama. All the heroes bellowing in my head (mostly about the women they want to be given right now, goddamnit!) are loyal, protective and possessive – once they’ve fallen for the heroine at least. If there is ever a story I can’t get out of my head that features anything out of character for my books, trust me there will be a huge warning label attached to said book.
– Rant over –