So, for those of you who have visited my trilogy website (www.huahuqui.com) you will know that a team in Bulgaria called Respect Studios developed the 3D imagery of the clone known as V. When I devised this creature, based on the ancient descriptions of a race that brought civilization to humans (read the site to see the collection of strange facts), I had a very clear idea in my head. Certain attributes had to be included: the gills, the neotenous body, etc. However, it was always the face of the V that was most important. Almost every reader fell in love with the animal, and thus bringing him to life was tricky. How to make this giant salamander... cute.
Enter Denis and his team. Somehow they made the amphibian have a face that drew you in. A cute, warm, and intelligent face. It was perfect. What's more, they got it right first time.
It was a feat that I didn't think they could replicate.
I was wrong.
By the end of book 2, Huaquero, you the readers are aware of another clone: Six. Combining human DNA with that of the original Huahuqui clone, the US military manage to produce a monster. One that is confused and scared with it's own existence. One that has irreversibly bonded with a human. One that they cannot hope to control.
In my head, this new clone had to resemble V, but be distinct. And scary. The deranged and angry result of humans' meddling with the fabric of life. When I approached the guys at Respect Studios, they were again happy to help. I am a small publishing imprint, and the money they generate from me is quite honestly peanuts compared with their other projects. But they helped me anyway.
The result, after two or three short emails of discussion, was amazing. Somehow they had kept the essence of V, but made Six quite terrifying. It looks sick, ill. Like it was never meant to be. And it knows it. Just how I imagined it.
So, I repeat. Respect Studios deserves respect. They have awesome talent, and I would recommend them to anyone with graphics project.
So, it happened. Actually it happened twice within a week. It was always going to. I thought I was ready, but I wasn't. Two bad reviews of Huahuqui. Did it hurt? Of course. Did I retaliate and rebut the reviews? No. I did, however, ask one of the reviewers (as I was able) why they gave it such a bad review. The reviewer was honest and open, which I appreciated. The crux of the bad review centred mainly on two themes; themes that have popped up from other reviewers but not caused them to rate the book so poorly.
Theme one: the main character swears too much and is wholly unlikable. Indeed! He is meant to be! While I completely understand some people's aversion to this character - I even have an online beta-reader who hates him! - for me this is the point. Such a visceral reaction is, by definition, good writing, no? The fact that this person is the 'hero' in my books may be what grates. A bad guy that you hate is OK, but not a hero. But again, that's always been my point with these books. They are about his journey, more than anything. The storyline, while written in the omnipresent, is really the world from his point of view. What is interesting, is that if the readers were to read the sequel, Huaquero, and the last book Huaca (when it's released), they would actually see the character grow. But of course, it seems that I have done such a good job of making the main character so obtrusive that some cannot stomach him.
Theme two: Religion bashing. Again this is a point that I can understand. The first book intentionally sets out to do two things: tear down Christian dogma, but also current scientific dogma regarding the evolution of the human race. What is interesting to me, is that the religious people become offended with the book's poke at Christianity, but never mention the fact that book absolutely destroys current scientific dogma! They become fixated on vehemntly defending their religion. With this in mind, I find it quite ironic that these same people cite my religious character who becomes over emotional and ultimately destructive when defending her beliefs as 'unrealistic'. What's more, I have not had single scientist complain that I challenge current archeological evidence...
The bottom line for me is this: everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, and for that reason I do not condemn these reviewers. Not at all. What I have come to learn is that I will never be a best seller, because a good proportion of people will either hate the pseudo-hero and his general asshole-ry, or they will be offended by the jibe at religion. However, I never set out to be a best seller. In fact, I quite like being a little bit controversial and underground.
So, for those of you who don't like my books for the above reasons, I thank you for picking it up at all. It is appreciated. And I whole-heartedly apologise if I have offended.
For all those of you who do like my books, you're part of an exclusive club. Welcome…