Monday, March 11, 2013

Rowling’s Risky Business #BlogTaxi #Blogging

Today, my guest blogger is Stacy Verdick Case who is the author of the Catherine O’Brien mystery series. The second book in the series A Luring Murder was released in December.

Welcome, Stacy! So happy to have you here. The floor is all yours, take it away.

Thanks, Monique!

First a confession, I was never a Harry Potter fan. There I said it. On the other hand, I wasn’t one of the Harry Potter haters either. I’d read the first Harry Potter, gave it to my nephew, and never went back for more from Hogwarts, but I didn’t grumble about Rowling’s success. On the contrary, I celebrate any author’s success. To do otherwise would be bad karma.

When the Potter franchise ended, I think everyone had packed away JK Rowling along with their wizard’s wands. They assumed that she had done all the writing she would ever do.
Then word spread that Rowling was writing another book. A book that (gasp) had nothing to do with the world of Potter. Speculation swirled around how the book would be received. Would the adult Potter fans accept an adult book from Rowling?

On September 27, 2012, The Casual Vacancy was released, and I sat back to watch what would happen. Would Potter fans support Rowling in her grown-up pursuits? Would the critics pan or support the book? Could people get past the JK Rowling of kid book fame and read the new novel?

The Casual Vacancy shot to the top of USA Today’s bestseller list bumping Fifty Shades of Grey out of the number one spot after a twenty-one week domination. Clearly the Potter fans were ready to follow Rowling to the next level. However reviews of the book have been poor. Some fans who had grown up reading Potter claimed the book lacks the pacing and suspense of the books they loved as a child. Critics are saying it’s “not bad”, “funny”, “good but not great”.

Part of me wonders if Rowling is getting a fair shake. Every review seems to compare The Casual Vacancy heavily to Harry Potter. This wouldn’t have happened if she were a new author, which in my opinion she is. She had a great career writing fantasy for children, but as an adult author, writing about the real world she is a newbie. These genres are two different animals entirely.
There is creative freedom when writing fantasy. It had to have been difficult to bring her writing into the confinement of reality. There seems to be a lot of complaints that the beginning of The Casual Vacancy is slow. Isn’t this the editor falling down on the job? Shouldn’t Rowling’s editor have stepped in to hone the book to a finer edge? Every writer can find themselves struggling to find their legs in the beginning. Usually there’s a critique partner or an editor who suggests judicious cutting. I’ve long suspected that authors who reach a certain level of success stop getting the editorial honesty they need.

In the end, I don’t think Rowling could have ever received a fair shake. The only hope she would have had would have been quietly publishing under a pseudonym, but then the book wouldn’t have received the hype or the press that it’s received. It also most certainly would not have rocketed to the number one spot on USA Today in less than a week had the name on the cover been Jane Johnson.

I applaud Rowling for taking a risk. She had to have known the book could disillusion the Potter fans that she would be open for comparison, but she didn’t hide behind a pseudonym. My guess is Rowling’s writing will continue to evolve. Over time, she will find her chair at the grown-up’s table.

The irreverent detective is back, and this time she’s on vacation.

God help us all.

St. Paul, Minnesota Homicide Detective Catherine O’Brien and her loving husband Gavin are vacationing on one of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes. When a local is murdered Catherine is tapped to help the small town Sheriff until the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension arrives to take over the investigation.

Catherine is surprised when her partner Louise and Diggs the forensic pathologist, whose crush on Louise is only dwarfed by his own genius, show up to assist instead of the BCA.

Before long Catherine and Louise discover this sleepy little town has a dark side hidden beneath its placid lake charms. Somewhere in the tangle of cheating and deception is a motive for murder. 

You can purchase A Luring Murder  from Amazon. See links below. Visit Stacy on the web at

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  1. Great post! Yes, I believe it is hard for authors to write in a completely new genre without their new works being compared to their older stories. And as you mentioned, I've seen many authors take up a pseudonym to prevent this from happening. All the best!

  2. Interesting and thought-provoking blog post today. Thank you and best wishes. :)
    -R.T. Wolfe

  3. Good post. I liked your comment about bad karma. Why is it that critics love to disparage successful people? I loved the Harry Potter books. They were panned, too. Rowling can't win. Good reason why we shouldn't read reviews of our books. LOL

  4. Hi Guys!

    Thank you all for commenting.

    I agree that switching genres is difficult. That's why I think it was so brave of Rowling to not take the pseudonym. It was like this is me and my work take it or leave it.

    Diane you absolutely right. We should never read our reviews. I rarely buy a book based off a reviewers opinion. A lot of people hate the books that I like so why should I care what they think anyway?

    Thank you all for stopping by for a read! Best wishes to you all!


  5. Once again, thanks for hanging out here at Monique DeVere, Stacy!

    This was a great post for making us all think. I'm not sure I would use more than one pseudonym. It's hard enough keeping up with one! I don't know how other authors manage.

    Plus, building a following is hard work. Why start over if you've already spent years digging a deep foundation on which to build a successful career?

    I don't blame her for keep to her original pseudonym! :)

  6. Thanks for having me Monique! I feel truly blessed to know you!

  7. You are very welcome, my friend! :)


Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment. I greatly appreciate it! :) :)