Less than a week until A Dose of Death hits the virtual shelves, and I'm having whatever the opposite of post-partum depression is. Pre-partum hyperactivity?
What if no one likes Helen Binney? I love her, but she is a bit cranky and opinionated. What if no one understands Tate's dry sense of humor and thinks he's just a hard-hearted, evil lawyer? What if all the wonderful nurses I've met over the years blame me for what happens to the nurse in this story?
In other words, what if "Ur Doin' It Rong" applies to everything I've written?
Wait, wait. That's only one side of the argument, and I'm a lawyer, so I should be able to play devil's advocate, right?
Here's the case for my not doin' it Rong. My publisher likes Helen Binney, and she's not the ONLY person to do so. My friends and colleagues are all thrilled for me. My hairdresser fusses over every cowlick and every last strand of hair, because now that I'm a published author, I have to be perfectly coiffed all the time. (Don't tell him what a mess I am when I'm not in his chair.) My local independent bookstore is making a fuss over me (although, to be fair, the owners are great folks, and have always made a fuss over me). I haven't seen a nurse recently, but I'm optimistic that they won't get out their bluntest needle when it's time for my flu shot this fall.
In the end, perhaps some people will indeed think that I did everything Rong in the story and some people will think I did everything (or much of it) Rite, but that's how it goes with a subjective art like storytelling. Some people will like Helen, and some won't. (Although, I do hope there are more who like her than who don't. She's really a very good person beneath the cranky.)
For now, I'm holding onto the fact that reading is an incredibly personal experience, that once you get past the fundamentals of grammar and story structure, there is no definitive Rong or Rite.
Still, I'd feel a lot less nervous if I were confident that Helen's story is as tasty as chocolate. Everyone likes chocolate, right? At least a little?
Don't tell me if I'm Rong about that. I need to believe in something, and chocolate is about the only thing I'm sure of right now.