Jason over at Fantasy Literature has written a post about the digital age bringing greater accessibility to the men and women behind the pens of our favorite books.
He asks: Do you miss the days when the back cover bio was all you really knew about your favorite authors? Does the political and diary ramblings of your favorite authors detract or add to their body work?
I have to admit I do miss the days when all you knew about an author was what their bio said and the glimpses behind the curtain in interviews they might do. I’ve had the unfortunate experience of finding the blog of an author who’s work I’ve really enjoyed only to find – reading their personal opinions – that I think they are a wanker and I no longer have any interest in their work.
Or their voice (and opinions) are so strong that when I go back to their work I can see/read/hear their ‘personal’ voice in their narrative – where previously I had no idea.
I’ve also come across the situation where I think the author is great, they are lots of fun and I like their POV – only to pick their book and instantly regret it. Now I like them but not their writing.
Ironically of course I wish to be a published author someday, and I will have to keep up a blog – much like this one I guess – and I will run the very real risk of turning potential readers away because I am (in their eyes?) a wanker who they wouldn’t spend their money on.
I recall conversations I’ve had with Terry Dowling about this very topic and his words, as related to him by Jack Vance, “An author needs to be like a foreign prince” – there, but yet hold a distance and mystique about themselves (and thus their work) that enables an enchantment that the 15 minutes-of-fame brigade tears away from themselves with uncomfortable abandon.
Will I be able to carry that off? Probably not but then I don’t really have to worry about it yet 😉
But of course Edith Piaf is famous for (among other things) having said ‘use your faults, use your defects! that will make you a star!’ So… Who am I to judge? And I have had many more enjoyable experiences getting to ‘know’ author’s whose work has moved me than not.
What I have to learn to do is take things with a grain of salt I guess.