Another one of the odd ones I like to host, and this one looks like it’s a must read. I could not love the cover more.
Secrets of a River Swimmer by S.S. Turner released on the 8 in the literary fiction genre.
As Freddy gazes at the majestic river gushing past him in the depths of a Scottish winter, he’s ready to jump in and end his life. But what happens next is not what Freddy expects. From the moment he enters the river, Freddy starts a journey which is more beautiful, funny, and mysterious than he could have imagined. And through this journey Freddy’s story becomes interweaved with a cast of unforgettable characters who are equally lost and in search of answers. Eventually they all unite in their quest for an answer to the biggest question of them all: will the river take them where they want to go?
In the tradition of inspirational works of fiction like The Alchemist and Life of Pi, Secrets of a River Swimmer is at once a profound exploration into living with meaning and an affecting story of people on the cusp of change.
From Page 7
I dip my toe in.
It’s fucking freezing.
I sit and watch the majestically sinister Scottish river hurtle along below me. I’m not sure whether to be in awe or terrified, but that was always going to be the case today, my last day. The idea of jumping into the river reminds me of the feeling you experience when you arrive at the beach, and you’re thinking about jumping into the sea, but you know it’s going to cause you grievous bodily harm from your nether regions up. For some reason, your legs are the one part of your body which can handle intense cold without too much stress. But all body parts above your legs are a whole different story. My voice just rose an octave, and I’m not even talking.
So you sit and watch the sea while contemplating your next move, as if this thinking time will give you the required mental strength to leap into the cold blue water. However, this thinking time just gives the water an opportunity to look you in the eye with laughing menace, because the water knows the questions you are grappling with deep in your soul. The water understands it is strong and you are weak—the eternal power imbalance at play.
The waiting period only makes it worse, of course. All it does is allow you to hand more mental power over to the cold water than a short and simple jumping-in maneuver would have done. Why do we employ such counter-productive strategies in our lives?
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
S.S. Turner has been an avid reader, writer, and explorer of the natural world throughout his life which has been spent in England, Scotland and Australia. Just like Freddy in his first novel, Secrets of a River Swimmer, he worked in the global fund management sector for many years but realized it didn’t align with his values. In recent years, he’s been focused on inspiring positive change through his writing as well as trying not to laugh in unfortunate situations. He now lives in Australia with his wife, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and ten chickens.
How to handle negative criticism.
I think most of us are born with an innate fear of criticism. It must emanate from our memories of being told off for getting things wrong when we were kids. The bad news is being an author almost certainly means receiving both positive and negative feedback on your writing, so criticism is coming your way whether you like it or not. This may particularly be the case if you write a hugely successful book which touches on a collective emotion or nerve. I always remind myself that The Catcher in the Rye was repeatedly banned from libraries and schools for its use of vulgar language, violence, and sexual images. I also often remind myself that The Catcher in the Rye sold over 65 million copies. And how did JD Salinger react to the criticism at the time? He did and said nothing. He didn’t respond to the criticism in any way. In fact, he let his critics market his novel for him.
So how do you learn how to handle negative criticism as effectively as JD Salinger? Well, the first point is handling criticism becomes easier as you get older. At some point in your life you learn that everyone has their own opinions on everything, and there’s no conceivable way everyone will agree on what’s good or bad. This realization allows you to hear negative criticism as nothing more than an alternative perspective on your writing. And on a deeper level it also allows you to view negative criticism of your writing as a potential gift. Think about it. Your supporters are never going to tell you the hard truths about your work, but your critics will enjoy letting rip. Having said that, negative criticism may also reflect more about the critic than it does about your writing. This form of criticism should generally be ignored as it isn’t really about you. The way to differentiate between helpful and unhelpful criticism is to listen to it with an open heart, and to feel if it resonates with you. If it does, the chances are it’s an opportunity to learn and improve, otherwise you may be wise to just let it go.
And finally, the other way to view criticism, particularly emotionally strong criticism, is as a marketing gift. JD Salinger wouldn’t have been nearly as successful as he was if his critics hadn’t so loudly denounced his novel. As long as people are discussing your writing, the chances are high that your sales will benefit. So next time you receive criticism, be ready to thank your critic for potentially helping your career thrive.
This post is part of a tour. The tour dates can be found here:
- a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card