I was expecting the first public responses to River of Stars to begin arriving at the end of this month or in early March. That is when Publisher’s Weekly and Library Journal and some early blogs weigh in, about a month before books are on sale. PW and LJ are both still very influential in shaping buying patterns for bookstores and libraries.
But yesterday I received an alert that Gary Wolfe and Jonathan Strahan of the Coode St Podcast had invited Cecelia Holland on air to discuss the book and they’d posted their podcast. They’d all received ARCs a little while back. Cecelia is a novelist I admired well before I ever wrote anything myself: read The Kings in Winter, Until the Sun Falls, Great Maria, and see. Gary might kill me for saying it, but he is an eminence gris of critical writing in speculative fiction, and Jonathan is the editor of numerous anthologies and the reviews editor for Locus Magazine. If I say I value their responses a lot, I am understating it. Thoughtful reading from people you respect is a writer’s eternal dream.
I’m extremely happy. A discussion like this is a reward, for any of us, and this is an awfully good way to start with a new novel. I should warn you that there is a mention of Isaac Asimov’s sex life at one point. It is actually relevant. Really.
There are slight spoilers, more by nuance than explicit giveaways. (Spoilers for River, not for Asimov.)
And another nice thing, completely different. The winner of the signed ARC of River of Stars in the Grim Oak fundraiser had a good idea and checked in with Shawn Speakman who is behind all these donations and auctions. He suggested that since it was a ‘two horse race’ at the end, maybe the runner-up would be willing to pay her high bid, if I’d donate a second signed ARC. Of course I would, and splendidly she did. So two ARCs were on the way when Shawn heard from a third person saying he’d match the high bid if I was willing to send a third ARC out, signed (by both mapmaker Martin Springett, and myself).
Very happy to do so. Means over $1000 was raised for the auction and I’m really pleased. Shawn does good work in this, and Duane, the beneficiary this time around, is one of the good people. (Scroll down to see a longer post on all of this, from when it began.)