February 6, 2017, 8:08 am
My mother is the reason I ever read Stephen King; she was a huge fan of his from the time his first book, Carrie, came out.
Mom is a brand loyalist, too, meaning once she latches onto something, that's the thing she loves, no matter what, and it never changes, as far as I can tell.
So I sent Father of Malice to her, simply because she's a tough critic of anything I do, and always has been. A lot of people can argue whether that's denigrating to children or pushing them to succeed. I have no idea, but I do know my mother has always been quick to point out the flaws in whatever I'm doing.
Which makes this text message from her utterly shocking:
This is the most frightening book I have ever read, including Stephen King's books.
I generally receive and respond to text messages in the Messages app on my Mac instead of looking at them on my phone, so as I was sitting at my desk and received that message, my jaw literally dropped.
Father of Malice is my first straight-up horror novel, so it was amazing that she had that reaction. I wrote the thing in two weeks (in case you haven't read every other post I've made in the last several weeks), so I expected some harsh criticism to come down from, like I said, my most intense critic. Instead, she later texted this:
I'm almost too scared to read the end.
This book is so freaking awesome!! ... It was meant to be! I always knew your brain was weird, but you have used that bizarre imagination to create a scary book that forces people to think!
Again, jaw-dropping. Of course, it wasn't all praise; she complained about having to read about a cleaning lady at a motel who ultimately ends up having no part in the plot and about a couple of typos that were introduced through autocorrect on my phone. But as far as the actual novel goes, she really loved it and said it terrified her, which are two things I was going for. Several other "beta" readers are looking at it now, so we'll see if they share her opinion.
Next step is sending query letters out to agents, which is so far outside my wheelhouse I'm actually having to spend more time thinking about that than I did the novel itself.