Albatross Explanation and Oversharing

There are some writers who are able to keep themselves from reading reviews or discussions of their own books.  I find these writers fascinating and I deeply envy their self-discipline, like I do people who knit entire sweaters or finish their taxes early or study to become doctors.

So…I am not one of those writers.  When I find stuff online about my books, I read it.  And more often than I’d like to admit, I build a house and dwell on the negative things.  Sometimes I’d really really like to respond, to rabidly defend the story and characters that are so dear to me.

But as almost any writer will tell you, responding directly and defensively to reviews is NEVER A GOOD IDEA!  Nothing positive will come of it and the whole experience will likely end in despair and/or you getting made fun of on the internetz.

(It’s much more satisfying to rant to friends and loved ones, who are contractually obligated to make soothing noises, pour you a drink and say you’re right and everyone else is wrong.)

However, when Donna at Bites asked me to write a guest post about Albatross, I took it as a chance to explain some of the background to the book.  Why I wrote it in terms of my own life experiences, and also in terms of certain trends and debates I see going on in the YA world about romance and depictions of what I personally consider unhealthy and abusive relationships.

And also in order to explain Tess, the occasionally self-destructive and super-frustrating main character of Albatross, who is doubly unable to defend herself due to A) her own issues with her self-esteem, and B) because, well, she’s fictional.

I knew I would eventually hear frustrated comments about the story. “I don’t understand why Tess didn’t just stand up for herself! Why didn’t she kick Micah to the curb after ten pages? He’s obviously a terrible person!” I get that disgust, I really do. It sucks to watch someone make bad choices. In fact, it’s downright unpleasant. Albatross was a hard book to write for that reason. So many times I wanted to reach into the story and give Tess a good shake and yell at her to give up on this jackass, that she deserved so much better.

But even if I could do that, she wouldn’t have believed me right away. And I had to stick with what I knew was true because I had lived it.

The whole thing is here.  Thanks for the opportunity, Donna!

There’s also this cool interview that I did with the Indianapolis Star where I talk about similar topics…

Why did you choose to write Albatross?

I decided to write Albatross because I had seen depictions in books and movies of obsessive and emotionally abusive relationships with the underlying message that these are positive and even romantic…I found that really upsetting and I wanted to give a counter-argument.

Sometimes the person we fall for does not deserve it.

On that happy note (?), I hope that you all have wonderful weekends, and eat lots of Cadbury eggs if you’re into that sort of thing!

  • Little Willow

    Happy early birthday, Josie! 🙂