I often wonder how authors who write bestsellers, like J K Rowling or Dan Brown, feel when the reading public are hotly awaiting a new book from them. The pressure must be huge. J K is bringing out her new adult novel soon, The Casual Vacancy, and you can only imagine what a massive hit this will be regardless of whether it’s good or not. One article even compared it to the excitement of a royal birth. The likelihood is that it will be a good read, but as J K said herself, ‘The worst that can happen is that everyone says, “Well, that was dreadful. She should have stuck to writing for kids,” and I can take that.’ As she says, she will live. Life is pretty good for her, whatever happens.
It must be so nerve-racking to finish a new book for any author. To look at your carefully crafted words and say, ‘No more. On your way.’ Out into the world it goes, where it’s laid bare for critics to pore over and eager readers to snatch up. And I’m sure for J K there will be critics who will be negative and those who will love it, like any book. But for her, each book has the spotlight shone on it and can even make the national news.
And for us readers I think it’s also a challenge. We can love an author’s work so much that our expectations are incredibly high when we get our hands on a new book. Can we be guilty of approaching a book from that viewpoint? So could a great book often only seem good, or even possibly a disappointment, because we’ve come at it with such lofty expectations that the actual book can never match? I wonder if that’s true.