Sunday, January 1, 2012

The 45-year-old virgin.

Happy New Year, everyone! It's the first day of a new calendar, and as such, of course I scurried happily to my computer this morning to see how The Ravenna Evans Series was doing thus far. Had I sold more books? Had I received any reviews?

In fact I did receive an Amazon review overnight, and a negative one at that. Now don't get me wrong: I appreciate any review, good or bad, because everyone is entitled to their opinion, and reviews are meant for potential readers, not authors.

But there were two little things in this review which irked me. I'll explain.

Firstly, it has been said that my heroine, Ravenna, is too virginal for a modern girl in her mid-twenties. Well, allow me to introduce myself: My name is J. Jay Kamp, and I am in fact the world's oldest living virgin at 45 years and counting. When I wrote the character of Ravenna, I was writing from personal experience; it was 1990 or so when I began penning The Last Killiney, and my brushes with boys (or anyone for that matter) had been limited to a handful of kisses and two embarrassing almost-sexual encounters. As a writer, I seek to imbue my work with as much realism and emotion as I can, and Ravenna was based almost entirely upon my own past. So to be told that no one could possibly be as virginal as Ravenna...that hurts. I was. I am. It happens to some girls, believe it or not, that they cannot find a man who rocks their world enough to give up their most precious of possessions: their first intimacy with another person.

The other minor detail mentioned in this review: the reviewer points out that I have committed a spelling error by naming a room in Wolvesfield House "the Saloon." Please understand this was not an error on my part. I did not mean to say "salon." Wolvesfield House was inspired by many English country houses, one of them being the very famous Saltram in Devonshire (now owned by the National Trust). There was a time when "saloon" was the proper term for a large great room (for more, see Life in the English Country House by Mark Girouard). Of course if there really are spelling errors in my books, I would be delighted to hear about them, so I can set the dogs on them and quietly exterminate the bejesus out if them, then re-upload the corrected document so no one else must suffer a novel full of typos. But when an error isn't really an error...that is a creature of a different color entirely.

Your comments -- and reviews -- are enthusiastically welcomed. :)