Dining on feedback

Even famous writers need appreciative readers. Joseph Conrad, author of Heart of Darkness, once said to his wife after she made what she believed were helpful comments on one of his drafts: “I don’t want your criticism, I want your praise.”

Of all the people who’ve so far read Fantasy in Florence, the highest praise has come from a friend who enjoyed the last chapter best. “It’s a love story,” she said. “I cried at the end.”

What author could hope for anything more!

As a writer, I also work hard to get things right, so it has been a pleasure to hear from many of the Florentines I interviewed for the book. This comment from jewelry designer Angela Caputi was typical. “I’m sure that this book will have a lot of success because you wrote it with a lot of humor and sympathy,” she said. “I recognize myself very much.”

Reviewers have been kind, too. “Rod diarised their stay in a highly readable account, recording their impressions and personal growth as the months passed,” wrote Harriet Zaidman in the Winnipeg Free Press. “Unlike Peter Mayle, whose wry wit created caricatures in A Year in Provence, McQueen tries to understand his new friends and lets them explain how their surroundings shaped them.”

I’d be happy to hear more. Ciao.

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