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Sunday, 22 November 2015

"So Whats your book about ?"


I keep being asked this question and it’s a fair question to ask. The problem is I still don't really have an answer to it. At least not a short concise answer that sums up the novel. 
I wrote it, published it, sold it, people, who have read it seem on the whole to like it. To paraphrase +Douglas Adams It’s about 300 pages. And Erm… Nope , I still don't have a witty, concise , or considered answer
I think it’s about loss, falling off the edge, coming back from the brink. Love, truth, pain, suffering, emotion, Erm ... stuff..........
See neither witty nor concise 
In part, this is I think because a novel is deeply personal to its creator. I did my own book cover because it’s my book. I did my own typesetting, because it’s my book, wrote the blurb for the back because it’s my book. And then people ask me to sum up what my novel is about. 90000 words I slaved over for three years. Wrote, re-wrote, edited and wrote again.  Six or more drafts worth depending how you count so 90000 words were actually the work of 540000 words all told.   
On top of this every reader of the novel probably has a different view of what’s it’s about reading is a personal experience after all. Just as writing is. I could tell you what some of my favourite books are about but I am almost positive the authors would disagree with my summaries of them. In some cases might not recognise their own books straight away.  
Something I have discovered from reviews.  
So anyway, the thing is it’s like been asked what your child is like, for me it’s a deeply personal book, it is hard to actually put a finger on what it’s about because I am too close to it. 
However every now and again I get a review in that simply leaves me astound. 
From the book of the month review by the Publishers Book Club  which blew me away (as did winning the award but I have mentioned that before.) to this recent review, publish on +Amazon.com  by reviewer Katie Salvo 

Review of "Cider Lane" by Mark Hayes“ 5 stars!
"All these anxieties are in your subconscious only. You must reconcile yourself with the environment around you. Come to comprehend you are under no threat. Aspect your milieu and scrutinise it in immeasurable facet. You will conclude you have naught to endure with apprehensive quintessence.” (Quote from book.)
"You must, you must, you must. You will, you will, you will.” It is the dictate of Society, the so-called “social norm,” which we all find ourselves conforming to. These are the instructions given Susanna by the psychiatrist her parents have hired to render her “normal.” A bullied, anxious teen, Susanna has developed a coping mechanism of withdrawal deep into her own mind and soul, so effective that she is able to block out the horror of seeing her family perish in a burning car. The only survivor of the accident, she internalises feelings of anger and guilt, while simultaneously reinforcing the mental process that separates her from her fears, via a deeply ingrained numb existence. In a state of shock after the car accident, her numbed state-of-mind leads her to an empty cabin on Cider Lane where she will meet Colin, a drifter who, from personal experience, has learned that Society’s dictates of “must” and “will” serve only to define—and confine—the human spirit in a power-hungry world, filled with selfish ambition, where those who refuse to conform find themselves on the fringes of humanity. 
“Cider Lane” by author Mark Hayes is steeped in existential questions of “being.” What is our purpose? How does one define Right and Wrong? And who exactly is it that deems himself/herself worthy of standing in decree of Right and Wrong? And why do we listen when those who pass such judgements are as human as the rest of us? In this book, Mr. Hayes has given us much to think about as Susanna and Colin come to know one another and discover that transcendence of soul and mind can be dangerous in an automated atmosphere of “musts” and “wills.”

I have to admit I had to look up the quote she started with because I could not remember the context of it, but a finer review I could not ask for. 
I would point I out I never ask for reviews, but that would be a lie, I do. I don’t, however, use any pay for a review websites, or solicit reviews from anyone. I did give copies to a couple of people on good reads specifically for reviews but they were not paid for and they are all honest reviews. Katie was not even a review copy. Just a reader who read and loved the book. 

So what’s my book about?. What Katie said … and anyone else who reviews my novel. Readers are far better at knowing what a book is about than authors any day.