On Jersey

St. Aubin

It is sometime in March 2010. I sit in my host family’s living room, which is small, cozy and plushy, watching with my host mother one of her beloved Daily Soaps. East Enders, Coronation Street or this other one set in the north of England. As usual, I get fed with English sweets before dinner. There will also be a pudding later. One can rely on that.

I think it was this series from the north. One of the female characters decides to put some distance between herself and a family tragedy and therefore wants to swap her job at the local pub for a life on Jersey. When she says goodbye to her loved ones, it happens that someone wishes her all the best for Germany; Jersey – Germany. Everyone in the series laughs. My host mother and I too, since I am German.

And since then, I’ve really wanted to go to Jersey.

Two years later, in 2012, a friend of mine goes to Jersey on her honeymoon. Damn, why not me? Because, unlike her, I am still studying and do not have a regular income.

Since March 2010, I’ve never made it to Jersey. The first years since I couldn’t afford it. Later then for personal reasons. Anyway, the moment these two obstacles had gone, something else happened: Corona.

Well, I’m not really one who feels tremendous travel fever, wanderlust. But the ongoing pandemic has made it possible that even I regularly catch myself letting my thoughts wander to faraway places. Okay, Jersey isn’t that far away, which makes it even more attractive since one doesn’t have to travel that long.

Let’s get to the present days! Six weeks ago, I was nominated for the wonderful Author-challenge, which is about getting a word from another author, which will be the starting point for a longer short story. And what word did I get? No, not Jersey. But close: Starfish. And bada bing my thoughts are wandering to the sea. On Jersey to be exact. Where it is warm, but not too warm. The nature is so beautiful, and one is pretty much always by the sea.  And the best thing is that everyone here speaks English.  

Well, I don’t know when I’m going to travel to Jersey any time; physically. However, emotionally I spend there the last six weeks and it was quite eventful. I can tell you that and soon you will be able to read it too. What begins as a joyful trip among friends ends in a human catastrophe.

By the middle of this week, my story will be available as an eBook on Amazon. For eight weeks it will be for free and then for €0.99.

Have fun reading!

Ps.: it will not be a relaxing holiday on the Channel Island.

Dealing with Harsh Criticism

In October my book „George The Man Who Lost Himself“ was published. Since then, I have actually reached one or the other reader and even attracted a few bloggers attention. This makes me utterly proud, especially as the feedback so far has been extremely good. Naturally, there were people who simply aren’t into the genre. But it’s okay, I can live with that. I myself don’t like all kinds of genre either. In fact, I was particularly pleased with the feedback from the enthusiastic readers that my book was so unique. There is a growing hope that my book will stand out from the rest.

As I mentioned in another post, I initiated a readership on the platform Lovelybooks.  Beforehand, I raffled off my book ten times to lure participants. By the way, the reader’s round is still running. After the first really great feedback, for some time nothing else happened in the readership – until last Sunday. The night before, one of the readers wrote a comment on not being very enthusiastic about my story. It hurt and I would have liked to have asked him right away if he had ever bothered himself to write a story. But I stayed calm and even responded to his comments. The bottom line is that he still was polite despite everything, even though he described my writing style as bumpy and unpolished. However, I was able to put that away quite easily, as I was praised especially for my writing style from the other readers.

There is one thing, however, I just can’t get over: he called my story constructed. Of course, I also had to laugh a little, since fiction simply is a construct as it’s made up. Nevertheless, this word hung on me all week the very moment I tried to work on mymanuscripts. Constructed. Far-fetched; that’s what it sounded like to me. As if I were a kid caught lying.

Eventually, however, he had made it through the whole book and left me a two-star review on Amazon. What sounds like a disaster, however, was by no means one. The review was extremely detailed, included one or two good things, and was ultimately written in such a way that it could probably even arouse the interest of potential readers. In the course of the week, I also got three positive feedbacks in the reader’s round.

What also hurt me was the fact that one of my readers, who is writing a book herself, read this review. This, of course, had unsettled her, and that being an author you already have so many self-doubts. How could someone who had also received the book as a gift leave such a critique to a young author? You have to get used to something like that. Yes, you really have to. When you spotlight yourself at the same time you make yourself vulnerable. Every reader should be able to express their opinion about a book frankly. But please do it with respect and always consider how much time, love and self-doubt is behind it.

Anyway, this one experience in the negative area, it will probably have changed my writing lastingly. I will never write like I did before. But I’m going to make something positive out of it. I want to grow on this criticism and you young authors you can do that too. Always believe in yourself.