Like Sunshine on a Rainy Day: on reading reviews from the Leeds Book Awards...

It's a grey and tricky week, but something wonderful has cheered it up - reading the reviews on the Leeds Book Awards website. I can't tell you how much it means to me, to read these fantastic reviews from the children who are currently reading their way through the shortlist.

Adam, Evelyn, Imogen and Isaac, you're reading superstars! I salute you and thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Dragon Daughter cover art by Angelo Rinaldi

Dragon Daughter cover art by Angelo Rinaldi

There are more here, including some rather robust ones, but hey, you can't please all the people all the time:

It’s one of the scary and amazing things about publication: realising your work will be out there in the world, and people will react to it freely and subjectively.

I know that I don’t love every book in the world, even some by authors I adore. I still respect those books and the authors’ right to write them. So I know there will be readers out there who don’t like my work. Maybe they don’t like the genre, or it doesn’t just chime for them. In theory, that’s fine. I really do accept everyone’s right to make their own minds up.

In practice, it’s a bit harder to face full-on, especially when there’s a negative review to read. That’s my book, the one I worked hard over for years and years. The one I thought about day and night. The one I thought would never see the light of day. The one my editor loved and helped me to nurture and coax into its best and final form.

Of course it’s wonderful when someone gets it. When they see what you were trying to do. When it works for them, and they fly with your dragons and get lost in adventure and enjoy the ending, and oh! That’s just about the best feeling in an author’s working life. it’s what we did it for, to be read. To give some joy and escapism to a young reader.

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However, in our difficult and divided times, maybe what we actually need more than anything is to accept difference of opinion, to know we don’t think or feel the same as everyone out there. And that’s OK. That’s necessary. That’s just what happens. As long as we do it with respect.

So I’m taking a big gulp of coffee, and reading all the robust reviews, and being grateful to be read, whatever anyone might think of the result. I had the privilege to be published. You, dear reader, have the right to make of it whatever you will. Happy reading!