September 7th, 2011


best readers ever.

Jim C. Hines (whose utterly terrific Goblin & Princess (um, not together, although now I kinda want him to write a Goblin & Princess story) serieses you should read if you haven’t already) has done an interesting post about the differences between his and his alternate-universe-self Jane C. Hines’s careers.

The upshot of it–though you should go read, because it’s an interesting post in and of itself and the comments are at least as interesting–is that Jane’s had a much harder time of it, career-wise, than Jim has, because he has the societal advantage of being a white male. The examples in his post are taken from and informed by real experiences by writers of both genders, and it’s worth taking a look at. Furthermore, what I’m about to say obviously does not invalidate the basic problems he’s highlighting in his post, but–

Seriously, either I’m the most fortunate female writer in the world, with the most unbelievably awesome reader base, or I’m doing something terribly wrong. I do not receive death threats. I do not catch shit for my weight, my opinions, my stories, my politics, my gender, my anything, frankly.

I know my friends do. I know people who are reduced to tears by the hate mail they get. Me, what I get is–in six years of publication, I’ve had, let’s see, one woman take me to task for using the word “fuck” in the Strongbox Chronicles, one very long letter written by a crazy lady, the details of which I genuinely no longer recall, one man who conflated me with Joanne Walker and thought we were soulmates, but who went away without a fuss when I explained the boundaries, and a handful of condescending comments from people who mostly didn’t intend to be condescending.

Is it because I write under CE Murphy? Maybe, though as I’ve said before, writing under my initials had *nothing* to do with disguising my gender and everything to do with 1. not liking to be called “Catherine” by anybody except Ron Perlman & understanding that people tend to call you by the name on the cover of the book, and 2. not thinking “Catie” was particularly grown-up enough for adult novels. When a friend suggested using my initials, I thought “Brilliant!” It was like two years after my first book came out that somebody first asked if I’d used my initials to disguise my gender, and I was flabbergasted. The idea never crossed my mind. I’m still flabbergasted, for that matter.

Is it because my blog is, well, pretty boring? Very possibly. It’s not high-traffic, issue-oriented* or the revelation of an on-going train wreck of a life. Perhaps the hateful people can’t be bothered with me because I’m not individually interesting enough.

Is it that I don’t read reviews and therefore miss out on loathing? Possibly, but hell, that’s just *sensible*, people, and what Jim and others are talking about is email landing in their box, not stuff they’ve sought out.

Is it because my characters don’t hit controversial buttons? Nobody’s ever shrieked about Billy, nobody called Belinda a slut, nobody ever…okay, really, my characters aren’t enormously controversial, I don’t think. I don’t think I have much of an Agenda in my writing. Perhaps I should be tackling Topics instead of just telling stories?

Really, I do not know how I am spared this, except for having the greatest readers in the world, but I tell you what, I’m grateful as hell that I am spared it. So, y’know, thank you. Thank you all for being awesome.

*I sometimes wish I could do a more issue-oriented blog. I watch people who do and I’m impressed and wonder how the hell they find time. And then I remember I’ve been publishing an average of 300,000 words a year for the past six years, and I realize I’m just choosing to spend my time differently, and I’m obviously okay with that.

(x-posted from the essential kit)