I’m being purposefully vague here because I don’t want to hate on a specific author whose other work I’ve enjoyed to various degrees. And after having one author show up here under good circumstances this week I don’t want to lure another author here only to harangue them.
I had trouble sleeping last night and decided I’d read a light, holiday themed novella. Of course, I had paid $10 for it and thought it was an actual BOOK. But no actual book for grownups is 100 pages unless it is a novella, short story or insipid autobiography by an addled pseudocelebrity. So when I realized it was 100 pages I figured I’d polish it off in an hour and we’d all go to bed happy.
A few years ago Stephen King published a book called Needful Things. It was one of those curious works of his which starts off with an intriguing premise and goes downhill as he runs out of ideas. I remember it well because I loved the premise and hated the direction in which he took it.
Well, the book I read last night pretty much retold the story of Needful Things. Except this time the odds and ends in the weird store weren’t for fomenting discord but for bringing about hopeful changes Just In Time For Christmas. Something tells me that most of the target market for this book are not Stephen King fans and had no idea that the story owed such a tremendous debt to him. But I couldn’t bring myself to enjoy it because it felt like such a ploy.
This is one of the reasons I balk at being under contract as an author. Not that any have been offered or that I’ve even submitted my work. Because I’m a big chicken–but that’s a story for another time. I just picture this author under the gun to get the Annual Christmas Book out in time and struggling for a good story. And I picture that author saying “well, none of these people read Stephen King”.
Except…I do. And I did. And it really lessened my opinion of both the book and the writer.