So Today I am introducing you all to Cassandra Rose Clarke, author of The Assassin’s Curse and The Pirate’s Wish. She has written you all a post about how the internet has affected her life and her career as a writer! It’s such a lovely feeling to be able to introduce you all to her! Hope you enjoy the post as much as I did!
Internet; Then & Now
I remember the first time I logged on to the Internet.
I was twelve years old, sitting in the computer room at the house of a family friend with said family friend’s son. We were trying to entertain ourselves before dinner, and after playing MYST for a little while, he dialed up his modem and showed me the website for the Victoria Zoo, where I did volunteer work.
Honestly? It was pretty underwhelming. I would never have imagined, that summer evening in 1995, that twenty years later the Internet would be instrumental in my success as a writer.
The Internet of 2013 is a much different affair than what my friend showed me back in 1995. At some point when I was in college, blogs and social media flowered, and the Internet became a true social community, not just for a select group of hardcore nerds but for everyone. I’d always known that, to a degree, but it wasn’t until I was published that I realized the full extent of that community.
For example, four years ago I’d never even heard of book blogs.
And yet it was book blogs that picked up on my debut, The Assassin’s Curse. Book blogs who talked about it, who invited me to share interviews and guest posts. Word spread, and people from all over the world—Malaysia and Finland and Brazil and Venezuela—not only heard about my book (which is cool enough), but read it, too! Someone in Japan, on the complete opposite side of the world, read my book! That’s astonishing. And it only happened because of the Internet and its insistence on bringing humanity into one enormous conversation.
The Internet provides innovative ways for me, as an author, to reach readers. I don’t just have to attend conversations or host readings in my hometown anymore, and there’s a level of creativity present in book blogs specifically that I really enjoy—character interviews, for example, which are such a charming way to talk about my book without sounding like an overly enthusiastic salesperson. Blogs have also allowed me to detail what I imagine the movie version of my books would look like (something I daydream about anyway), to write backgrounds for my characters, and to think critically about my favorite movie musical.
But the Internet isn’t just about bringing me to readers, it’s also about bringing readers to readers, and that’s something special. Have you been to Archive of Our Own lately? The Books & Literature section is crammed with fanfic for such diverse works as The Yiddish Policeman’s Union, Ulysses, and the Robot books by Isaac Asimov. And what is fanfic if not a way of bringing readers together? There’s nothing more exciting than scrolling through the AO3 fandom list and finding that one book you’ve read and loved and thought were the only person who had done so—yet here’s someone else, sharing their thoughts about the book in one of the most creative and entertaining ways on Earth.
I realize fanfic existed before the Internet, but the Internet has made it so widely accessible that it’s become a new sort of literary criticism (and film criticism, and TV criticism, and comics criticism). It’s a literary criticism that’s not limited to just a small number of book, or that’s practiced by a small subset of the population. It’s open to everybody and everything, and it can engender some fascinating conversations about the way we read books and interpret characters and story lines.
And actually, book blogs do the same thing. Book blogs take literary analysis out of the classroom and, like fanfic, bring insight and clarity to genres and authors that might never get discussed in academia. Bloggers are blending two seemingly disparate experiences into something new and exciting and very, very fun.
The static web sites of the mid-90’s Internet might not have impressed my twelve-year-old self, but thirty-year-old me is delighted by the blogs and fanfic and the worldwide conversation of the Internet today.
Thank you so much for this lovely post Cassandra! What do you think about it all? Do you think the world has changed for better or worse with the internet? Let us know!