Dear Bitches, Smart Authors Podcast

64. Readers, Authors, Expectations, and Reactions - Plus What’s Coming Up Next Week

Jane and Sarah take a topic suggestion from Angie James and discuss reader expectation and author obligations or responsibilities – if there are any. We also talk about reader reaction to certain books (and we avoid spoilers outright so do not fear!) and possible reasons why those reactions happen.

We also discuss heroes, sexual attraction and the hindbrain – a warning, we do have a short discussion about assault. Plus, we talk about what's coming up on our sites next week.

Here are some of the books we discuss in this week's podcast:


Book DD Barant Book Charlaine Harris - Dead Ever After #13 Book Roth - Allegiant - Divergent 3 Book Kinked - Thea Harrison


And here's more information about the Target iPad trade in. Jane also put out a request for FB likes, so here's the DA Facebook page, if you're feeling clicky!


Book Striking DistanceBerkley Sensation, our podcast sponsor, would like you to know about Pamela Clare’s STRIKING DISTANCE, an all-new and sexy action romance. On sale now!  

TV reporter Laura Nilsson, known as the “Baghdad Babe,” spent eighteen months in an Al-Qaeda compound after being kidnapped live on the air. Two years later, she’s still wondering why.

No mission in Javier Corbray’s fourteen years as a Navy SEAL affected him the way Laura’s rescue did. No woman had stirred his protective instincts the way she did. And he wants her more than he’s ever wanted anyone.

As Laura and Javier’s passion ignites, so does Laura’s need to discover the mystery of her past. Especially when she learns that her abduction was not random—and that she’s still a target for a killer with an impenetrable motive. Now Javier will have to rely on his skills to keep the woman he loves from being struck down before she dares uncover the truth.

Be sure to pick up Pamela Clare’s romantic action thriller STRIKING DISTANCE today! On sale wherever books are sold.  





The music this week was provided by Sassy Outwater. This song is called “Room 215″ and it's by the Peatbog Faeries from their CD Dust. You can find them at their website, or at iTunes.

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Thanks for listening!

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  1. 1
    infinitieh says:

    Yeah, If I want to read about real life, I’d read nonfiction.

  2. 2
    Laila Blake says:

    Another great podcast :).

    It’s odd about reader reactions, I didn’t mind the tragedy of the Allegiant ending, but I HATED why it happened. And wow, how do I say this without spoiling it too much… I thought that when Tris made a choice to do something pretty much evil and against what she stood for in the entire series, the tragic ending had to happen. BUT BUT BUT she didn’t have to – because clearly there were other ways to solve it. And I hated that she was kind of destroyed twice for me. *shrugs*

    But yeah, I don’t think that it’s fair to somehow blame readers when you build a romance arch and a hero arch throughout a series, and then don’t bring it to fruition. That is an obvious set-up. I don’t mind crying over books sometimes, and no, I don’t read just for a happy ending—but that doesn’t mean I like being tricked into thinking there will be one, only to then be dropped like that.
    On the other hand though… you know, I’ve read reader comments who think somehow getting a character pregnant in the last book is betraying readers, etc. Or also the idea that the character has to end up with a certain person… different people will love different relationships, that’s the risk you take with love triangles (or squares etc.) but the reader takes that risk as much as the author, I’d say.
    I mean, I still am sore about the fact that in Gilmore Girls Lorelai ended up with Luke. For me that felt all wrong and I hated it, but most people liked it and that’s the risk I take.


    Also: Thanks for the comments on abusive heroes. Necessary to be said over and over again until people finally get it.

  3. 3
    LaineyT says:

    Yikes!…I’ve got Allegiance on hold with my library and now I am very afraid. O.o

    Loved the discussion around the expectation for HEA’s.  If a Regency Romance suddenly had the lead character die at the end of the story I’d be pretty peeved. LOL

    But for those novels outside the romance genre, I strongly agreed with Jane’s comment that a non-Happy Ending is acceptable if the author writes it well enough that it makes sense (even if I might wish it were otherwise).  It brings to mind certain books by Guy Gavriel Kay, who is not a romance author but has romance in his novels.  Not all of his books have HEA’s for all the H/H’s and yet somehow I find the stories all the more poignant and powerful.  In fact, the Fionavar Tapestry is one of my favourite series largely because of the devastating losses that occur.  After all tragedy certainly has it’s place in romantic tales (see Romeo & Juliet). 

  4. 4
    sandyl says:

    A classic example of readers unhappy with an author’s ending is Thomas Hardy’s Return of the Native. His Victorian readers were so angry that he was wrote a second ending for them.

    I enjoyed the discussion about author responsibility. One thread that you didn’t touch on is when authors write to meet readers expectations and the books becoming rather boring. There is one very popular series that I continue to read even though I know that basically I am simply visiting the characters. There is not much conflict or much character growth. Even the names of the bad guys and the dialogue is similar. And there is no theme that connects the various plot lines. The books resolves but there is no resolution.

    I don’t look for hypothesis in what I am reading, but I do look for a theme. Why are these characters going through this conflict? Some of the books I’ve picked up lack a theme.  I guess a theme (no matter the genre) is what connects the book to my life.

  5. 5
    CK says:

    @Laila: You are not the only one. At one point in that last season, I gave up and stopped watching I was so irritated. DH (also a fan of the show) said I was taking it to personally and I’d come back to see how it ended, but I was done. There’s bad writing and there’s lazy writing. I can put up with the former but the later? Nope.

    I definitely think there’s a place for tragedy even in a romantic series without doing the sparks, but not if the series is about one couple. I remember the twitter panic when Ilona Andrews joked that a HEA was not guaranteed for the Kate Daniels series. But in long series with multiple couples fighting in some type of war? I definitely think there’s room for tragedy if done right.

  6. 6
    Julie says:

    Nothing to do with romance, but after listening to the latest podcast this fantasy reader has to wonder if GRRM is only still alive because readers want to make sure he ends the series, but clearly not because of how he treats characters (die, much?).

    Everything to do with romance, I’d just like to say I love you gals, the never-ending topics you come up with and the camaraderie(?) between the two of you. :)

  7. 7
    Vicki says:

    Finally listening to the podcast and just want to say: as a pediatrician, I do not think of stay-at-home moms as desperate/unhappy. I am happy to answer their questions (or the questions of mom who work outside the home) and do not believe they come to see me just to get out of the house. I am, however, imagining doing something mean to the author who wrote that.

  8. 8
    Sarah says:

    I’m way behind on my podcast listening, so I’m just now getting to this episode…

    But, I wanted to drop in and say how much I enjoyed your thoughts on the reader expectations issue—this has really gotten my hackles up, and the more I think about it, and the more the conversation continues to grow and be a bit divisive (especially in the YA world—wowzers), the more bothered I am by authors telling readers they’re reading “incorrectly.”

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