Hello Readers, Writers and Precious Patrons!
Welcome to All Authors Friday Rewind!
Today we bring you a Throwback of the very first Coffee Time Interview on All Authors Magazine.
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Y's Coffee Talk:
An Interview with
Mariah DeLa Croix
Recently, I had the privilege of sitting to an interview with Author Mariah DeLa Croix. I'd like to invite you as a guest in this edition of Coffee Talk.
Y Correa: I’d like to ask you what you’ve learned about something…
Mariah de la Croix: Go right ahead.
Y: Is your book, Restless in Peace, independently or traditionally published?
Mariah: Thank you for asking, Y. My book is traditionally published through an independent publisher. What that means is that Llewellyn is their own company, independent of other big New York type publishers. They’re awesome to work with, by the way, and human—sometimes making human mistakes, as we all do—but someone is usually always there to help you with an issue. Several editors there have been very helpful to me on a number of things which arose that I wasn’t quite sure how to professionally handle.
Y: That’s exactly what I wanted to talk to you about. Were you ever instructed on how to handle a bad review? If so, could you share with us what you were told?
Mariah: Oh, my goodness! Yes! I was very blessed to have not only my editors, both Amy Glaser and Rosemary Wallner, give me advice, but also my dear publicist, Liz Donatelli. They were remarkably helpful and calming for me in that arena. They’ve all been in the business much longer than I. I knew to ask someone before just responding to negative things—whether a bad review or angry article full of lies and twisted information or even someone spreading vicious rumors via social media with just enough truth to make their drama believable. I asked many things, those ladies listened patiently, and then advised me well.
They are the pros, while I’m just a newbie to this writing stuff. Their best advice was to ignore negativity at ALL costs.
I’ve gotten my share of bad reviews since Restless in Peace hit the shelves last September—and even before that from some who received ARC copies.
Some were just critical along with being informative. A few others took personal jabs. My initial feeling was to respond in some way. People on social media constantly tell each other to stand up for themselves, but something told me to think otherwise and be the bigger person.
I went with that, yet still needed some validation that I was handling things properly.
I spoke with the pros that have been through so very much with other authors. The reasoning for this was that the reviewer couldn’t be seen as being the one in control, when really doing nothing more than baiting me and trying to get an inappropriate reaction out of me. Admittedly, most won’t do this or even have it on their agenda, but some do and it really is best to just not respond.
Then, too, I was reminded of the old idiom of any publicity being good publicity, meaning someone somewhere is talking about you and making others aware of you. People who become aware of you can buy your book or pick it up at a library and then make up their own minds—people have the ability to think for themselves and are often moved to read things for themselves when a negative review, blog, or article is written about a person or their work. So, in a way, we can thank the negative critics greatly for their support, even though their words can cut into our souls at times.
When a person responds to negative criticism in a knee-jerk type of way, with themselves being negative or worse—scathing—one has just proven that they either aren’t ready to be out there to the public or they are too stuck on themselves to realize that all people are different and all people are entitled to their own opinions. They oftentimes have had no one critically honest around them and have been misled into thinking their work is the next great American novel. It may be fabulous in some people’s opinion, but in others it isn’t and they really just have to take that with a grain of salt and move on. Even Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird have had bad reviews somewhere along the line. That’s life!!
So, I’ve never argued with a critic or reviewer and don’t plan to. That behavior isn’t professional and, though gratifying for a moment, can cause an author to sometimes lose face with their readers and possibly burn some bridges they need later on. Critics and reviewers may read what was publicly said by the author and then decide to not get involved with their next work—who wants to be publicly chastised for just having an opinion. Though the author may feel humiliated, offended, or hurt, he or she has to learn to take the good with the bad and appreciate the fact that someone took their time to read their work, or even tried to if they couldn’t get all the way through it for some reason.
Though the author may feel humiliated, offended, or hurt, he or she has to learn to take the good with the bad and appreciate the fact that someone even took their time to read it, or even tried to if they, for some reason, couldn’t get all the way through it.
Y: How do you think another author should personally deal with negative criticism, or better yet, can you share with us how you’ve dealt with it?
Mariah: Sure! Negative criticism must just be accepted and taken with the good and positive stuff that brings happy tears to our eyes. I see it as there needing to be balance in the Universe and in all facets of our lives. If we don’t have some bad, we cannot fully appreciate the good. That’s how I now view this subject.
I also saw a wonderful post by James Van Praagh where he wrote, “What other people think of you is none of your business.” I then saw him on a television program and he uttered those same words. Whether he initially said this great quote or not isn’t important right now, but it still rings through my head, with care, when I read something about me or my work that isn’t kind; I may make a cross-stitch sampler of that quote and hang it on my wall!
I used to get fired up and desperately want to do or say something—after all, that’s what people tell you to do on social media. But, guess what? People on social media are not always correct. For someone who is in the public eye, as I am or any author is (even though that optical field is somewhat small for my part in it), we may be correct in speaking our minds in the privacy of our homes, but it’s not a good idea to spout off negatively in public when one has any level of celebrity.
And may I digress for a moment here and discuss celebrity?
Y: Most certainly.
Mariah: Okay, Thank you. “Celebrity”, is being known by those who don’t know you. In today’s society, with the advent of the internet, many people have celebrity and don’t realize it—or maybe they’ve just not taken the time to think about it. One can wave one’s flag, loud and proud, or complain to the world about how they feel, and for most folks this is just fine. But, for some others, this media openness can be life altering—sometimes in good ways, true, but oftentimes in bad. They can lose jobs, lose friends, or even find themselves stalked. Most know this and are willing to risk it, taking care and being savvy about what they do, while others blindly pooh-pooh it and just move on.
Someone who wants people to enjoy their work—whether it’s a piece of art, a book, film, or whatever they’ve created—cannot afford to do this as they are in the public eye. While there are honest critics and reviewers out there, doing their job, there are also trolls who do nothing more than rip into things they either don’t understand, fear, or are jealous of. These folks are not true critics, but still they do have a right to voice their opinions. We, as artists, must not give in to the temptation of responding to those who troll. They try to bait us and create drama where none exists, thus giving themselves fifteen minutes of fame they don’t rightly deserve. So, if we do give into their game, we do nothing more than feed their twisted egos and give them attention they crave.
Knowing all of this, I take a lot of deep breaths and sit back, while sometimes wondering about the reviewer, critic, or trouble maker. I don’t think badly of them, but do try to put myself in their shoes. Perhaps they’ve had a bad day or perhaps something tragic happened recently in their lives and they just need to vent about someone, somewhere, somehow. I then think of good things that have been said, not allowing the bad to drag me down. In fact, I have sometimes wished beautifully good blessings to befall those who have taken the time out of their busy lives to comment on my work or me, whether good or bad.
Y: How in the world can you do this when some things are hurtful and rude, even mean?
Mariah: Because I don’t hate anyone. I bear no ill will towards anyone. I don’t allow myself to be dragged into that abyss—I’ve been there before and it’s not a pretty place. So, I take Van Praagh’s advice and know that nothing said about me is really any of my business. I also add to this the important fact of if I’m meant to see it, somehow it will cross my path.
If something negative or hurtful does come to my attention, I don’t hold on to it any longer. I used to sit and worry about it, getting my gut all tied up in knots, but thanks to the ladies I mentioned earlier and friends who have talked me down, I’ve healed and grown stronger which enables me to prepare for the next onslaught.
Once in a great while I will still discuss things with family or good friends, but it doesn’t go any farther than that and I get over it quickly to move on. I also know now that most comments aren’t personal, even though they used to feel as if they were.
By doing this, not only in regards to critics and reviewers, but also regarding life itself, I find I grow every blessed day. Some folks don’t like this growth because I don’t haul them along with me—I’m not supposed to; they’re supposed to grow on their own and in their own ways.
So, I get a lot of the “You’ve changed!” or “I don’t get you anymore,” types of things said to me, but that’s fine.
When people tell us that we’ve changed, it’s because we stopped living OUR lives THEIR way. None of us can make every person we come in contact with happy, so why should we even try. When we grow and be who we are, without criticizing those who criticize us, we’re better for it, particularly when we’re in the public eye. We have to find inner peace and be confident in ourselves. When we do this, we are then happy.
That happiness sends ripples of good out to others who are open to receive it, just like how ripples of water move outward when a stone is tossed into a pond.
In actuality, I now thank those who have given me bad reviews or criticism which bordered on being personal, along with those who have twisted my words or written outright lies about me. Without them I wouldn’t be as strong as I now am and wouldn’t have grown in the manner I was meant to. So, now I see those negative types as blessings in disguise—I don’t think they intended that result, but that’s what they got and I thank them.
All authors must, in my opinion, develop themselves into being stronger and finding the odd blessing from the negative and the bad. When they do they’ll be able to hold their heads up high, with honor and self-respect, and move forward to do even more great works, bringing even better good into their lives, along with the lives of their readers.
Y: Thank you so much for your thoughtful answers here, Mariah. I’d like to ask you one last question. What has been the most moving review or interview you’ve gotten that somehow inspired you?
Mariah: I have had so many wonderful and moving reviews of my book that I wouldn’t feel fair singling out just one. They’ve all moved me—some to happy tears and some to points of “Oh, My Goodness!” in various ways. I do sincerely thank all who have reviewed my book, along with those who have been kind enough to interview me.
I think, though, the most moving and meaningful reviews I’ve gotten so far would be those from people I’ve never met who have taken the time to talk to me personally. I’ve been told by some that, even though they are devout in their religion, my book gives them a feeling of being even MORE connected with their Higher Being. My writings have helped them know, within their hearts, that there is definitely something more waiting for them after they themselves pass on.
Others, who have felt that there is just nothing—you live, you die, and that’s it—have approached me with hope in their eyes, and sometimes tears, because the book affected them in such a way where they now feel they aren’t alone in the Universe. For some of them, too, there is now something more than just a mundane existence of life that ceases after death.
I never dreamt Restless in Peace would ever have that effect, but am truly grateful and humbled by these types of responses.
Y: Could you now share with us the title of your book and how we can get it?
Mariah: Yes, definitely, and I so appreciate this opportunity to chat with you and all of your readers, Y.
My book is entitled “Restless in Peace: A Psychic Mortician’s Encounters With Those Who Refuse to Rest”, published through Llewellyn Worldwide Publishing.
It can be purchased directly from Llewellyn and through many other locations, including Amazon and Barnes and Noble, available either in the paperback version or e-versions on Kindle and Nook.
Y: Mariah, thanks again for having taken the time to answer these questions.
Mariah: Thank you once again.