Nora Roberts VS AAR Review Message Board...
As you know, I’m a Nora Roberts fan again due to her In Death books, and that generally means that even though I may have dissed her in the past, I love her now, (aren't we readers fickle?) so I’m interested in any NR related scandals (what? You know you are too!)
Anyway, I heard from ReneeW, who posted on Kristie’s blog that there’d been a kerfuffle over at the AAR Reviews message board, so I duly went over to look at the car wreck.
Apparently, Nora’s newest In Death book, has a controversial photo of her on the back of the book. The conversation somehow managed to veer off the actual book, and a discussion of how she was portrayed in the photo ensued.
Here are some conversation excerpts:
Somebody initially posted (Erm… Robin was it you?)
I'm still waiting for my copy to arrive, but I've seen that back cover photo, and it adds weight to something I've always thought about the series: that Roberts is somehow projecting herself onto Eve (or vice versa). And I'm the reader who finds that . . . disturbing.
I understand that this series is marketed in the most aggressive way possible, and I know that Roberts has a fan base that likes to personalize her and her books, but frankly, I don't want to have the suggestion put into my head that the author is being merged with the heroine. Nope, Nope, Nope.
I like Eve. I don't know Nora Roberts, but I KNOW I want Eve to be a character -- a separate entity from the author. I don't care if Nora fantasizes about Roarke, or if she imagines herself as Eve as she's writing; I just don't want HER face attached to Eve in MY head. I already think Romance encourages overidentification with its authors, and this newest version of that icks me out on a gut level.
I don't post here as a rule, but as this discussion isn't about the book but rather a photograph, and me personally, I feel sort of compelled.
First, let me say I find it a little baffling that someone who doesn't know me--and makes that clear--should form such strong opinions about my motivations or my process. As illustrated in the statement:
and it adds weight to something I've always thought about the series: that Roberts is somehow projecting herself onto Eve (or vice versa).
So I'll address that. I'm not projecting myself onto Eve Dallas, or projecting her--if I read the statement correctly--onto me. She's a creation--one I'm very proud of and fond of. Honestly, it actually weirds me out a bit that a reader might believe I do.
Physically Eve and I have pretty much nothing in common. I'm not tall and thin, I don't have short brown hair, brown eyes or a cleft in my chin. I'm considerably older than she is. I'm a grandmother who hasn't met a baby who doesn't make her melt--while Eve sees babies and children as suspicious, a little scary and somewhat alien.
I don't drink coffee--though I admit the character and I share a fondness for Diet Pepsi. I like to shop, I love clothes, love jewelry and have a deep personal relationship with shoes. Eve dislikes or tolerates this sort of thing.
I was never beaten, raped or abused by anyone, and had a nice, normal childhood.
I don't live in NY, and instead live in a rural area she would detest.
We do, I'd say, share a passion for our work.
Not only do we--writer and character--have very little in common, I have no desire to be Eve, however much I respect her character and enjoy working with it.
As for the photo its conception and execution was exactly as another poster suggested. It was meant to be edgy, hip, interesting, fun, dynamic. And to contrast with the photos taken for other work. It's just that simple.
The coat's mine (love that coat) as are the sweater, the jeans, the boots (I did have another pair, pointier toes, higher heels, that was left behind in the hotel room on the day of the shoot.) Indeed all the clothes I've worn for ALL my shoots are out of my own closet. I'm firm on wearing my own clothes for shoots. I like my clothes and feel I know what works on me.
I like the picture, not only because--hey, I look pretty damn good--but because I thought it was fun, interesting and creative and fit the tone for the series really well.
I'm not looking to suck readers into a personal relationship so they'd feel hesitant or unable to dislike one of my books. Jeez, I just don't think about that sort of thing. I post on only one site regularly because I enjoy it, and then I hope I post with humor and brevity. I enjoy communicating with my readers, and value them. I don't blog. I have no interest or inclination to do so. I write books. While I believe I'm a fairly frank person, I don't share areas of my personal life I don't wish to share.
To have someone suggest--and fairly strongly--that I'm projecting myself onto a character, to have someone who doesn't know me, how I work, what I think, feel is, imo, blurring the very lines she believes should be kept separate. Not only because it's simply not true, but because it's speculation on me, personally--not the work, but me.
That's not only really over-thinking, imo, but for me, it's mildly disturbing.
I'm sorry if you think my comments represented a "blurring" of lines; I've said in this thread, multiple times, that I have no idea what you are doing, thinking, or whatever. I don't really care, and I don't want to know. Perhaps my first statment was not clear enough, and I absolutely apologize for that. Sometimes, especially when I'm in a hurry, I forget to be extra cautious about my word choice, since others who don't know me won't get my point right off. And I can see, taken out of context, how it appeared at first blush, which is why I went out of my way to clarify my meaning.
My point was, is, and will continue to be that the marketing photos on those books do strike me as creating an affirmative connection between the persona of JD Robb/Nora Roberts and Eve Dallas -- a visual projection of the author onto her work. It's something, as I said, that I believe is an industry-wide phenomenon.
Would my observation be overthinking if I made it in absolute happiness over the connection, as I've seen so many readers do? I made absolutely no comment on what you say or don't say, encourage or don't encourage on your board, nor have I made any speculation on what you do or don't do in your personal life. I don't speculate on your kids, grandkids, the inner life of your characters, etc., what kind of underwear Roarke wears that many of your fans do, quite publicly, in fact, and without public rebuke.
I respect your right to comment on what you thought was an inappropriate comment on my part, but I also won't take blame for something I absolutely did not intend. I may not have made myself absolutely clear in my first post, and as I said, I apologize for that. But I absolutely won't apologize for my belief that the industry encourages such personalization of authors, or that jacket photos are exempt from this trend. And, really, what do I matter, I'm just one little person? I'm surprised though, to have garnered such a vigorous and detailed defense.
It's difficult to understand why, when I see there are posts expressing the view that more writers and industry professionals may do well to interact here, posts that appear to want writers to respond, that it would be speculated my reason for doing so might have been a way to generate more attention.
This is an interesting board, and I have a lot of personal respect for Laurie. But it feels that, at least for some, if an author takes the time and makes the effort to post an opposing view, her reasons will be called into question.
I can only say my intent was simply to correct a misinterpretation as applied to me directly.
Nice one Nora! The argument went on, and on, and effing on. Sheesh, I just couldn’t be arsed posting, and by the way, the KarenS who regularly posts over there is so not me!
I predict that the sales of Memory In Death will shoot up due to people being curious about what the photo looks like. I already Amazoned it!
If you want to have a look at the train wreck, the link is at the beginning of this entry…