It's coming up to two years now since STAGE WHISPERS was published, and I truly thought that it had failed to find its audience. It is, as Elisa Rolle pointed out in her lovely review at the time, a very 'English' book, packed with parochial concerns, and is set in the less-than-glamorous world of provincial theatre - where, if magic happens, it is often more by accident than by design.
in a bit of a minority, though. Other reviewers didn't like it; one
suggested for example that the text had been artificially inflated with
the addition of borrowings from the classics, presumably to increase the
word count/price - a bit of a disastrous tactic if it had been true,
since cheaper books seem to sell in larger numbers. Another commenter
completely failed to recognise that a period of eleven years had passed
for the characters in the book, so that by the end their relationship
was much more acceptable generally and Jon's daughter was now a young
adult and less likely to be taken away from him if his relationship with
Callum became known.
Anyway, as I say, I'd resigned myself to
not having made much of an impact with this particular book and had
already published three more by the time when - quite out of the blue
and within the past few days - the first couple of really enthusiastic
A reader called Jess Candela on Goodreads seems to have completely understood why the characters spout a lot of Shakespearean lines:
characters were nuanced and realistic, with no one all good or all bad.
Many of them, being actors, had a tendency to pepper their
conversations with quotations from and references to the classics.
Having spent some time with a theater crowd, I found that very realistic
too, and it enhanced my enjoyment of the story.
When I read that, I wanted to leap up and down and shout "Yes, yes, that's
what I meant!"; there are some people for whom Shakespeare just seems
to leak out of their ears ... they can't even hold an ordinary
conversation without quoting something or other. If you've never met
anyone like that, then their dialogue would look very strange written
down; if you have, however, it suddenly all makes sense.
And then there's bill m, commenting on Amazon, who says:
Adam Fitzroy is probably a pen name for an actor or someone with some acting experience.
Well, I understudied (and went on for) the lead in Rumpelstiltskin
at my primary school, but I haven't so much as tried out for the chorus
in anything since! However I am completely besotted by theatre and
have spent more time and money than I care to admit sitting in various
darkened auditoria watching groups of players strut and fret their hour
upon the stage, and I also studied Shakespeare at university. In truth,
I think I probably would have liked to be a classical actor - but
unfortunately such things as looks, talent and opportunities were not
forthcoming, and therefore I have had to enjoy the experience
Mind you, I do like bill m's suggestion that STAGE WHISPERS:
could be the basis of a script for a fascinating play itself.
in my most extravagant daydreams, I imagine it being made into a movie -
and, believe me, I know exactly the right person to direct it! (I
could even make quite a respectable stab at casting it, if pushed.) But
these are far-off fantasies; we all have them, and perhaps they're
better not shared. However if my poor orphan book is at last coming to
the notice of people who are prepared to invest a bit of time and effort
into reading it, and who actually enjoy it when they do, then it begins
to seem as if almost anything may be possible.
Meanwhile, I want
to take this opportunity of thanking the two readers who wrote such
wonderful reviews; they've helped to restore my faith not only in STAGE WHISPERS
as a story but also in myself as an author - which, as I am at a very
tricky point with my new book, was more necessary than I feel I can ever
adequately convey! You really make me believe that I may be able to
cope with this writing business after all ...