On the Backlist: A Scattered Life by Karen McQuestion

A Scattered Life is proof positive that self-publishing is not always the mire of horrifying drivel its cracked up to be.

Karen McQuestion is a fun, talented writer who shopped her manuscripts around, but just couldn’t get her foot in the traditional publishing door. This can happen for a number of reasons, but knowing, as I do, a couple of hardworking aspiring novelists, I know exactly just how disheartening it is. McQuestion decided she’d try just sneaking a few digital versions of her books up on Amazon.com, not telling anyone really, thinking she could pull them back down without embarrassment if nothing happened. Instead, they took off, and A Scattered Life was picked up by Amazon Publishing and optioned for a movie adaptation. Moral? Success can really start anywhere.

The novel, itself, is pretty good. It’s far and away better than most of the books generally found in the self-pub category, and plenty published by the big houses. The book is thoughtful and interesting. It’s quiet. The crux of the book is the relationship between Skyla, free-spirited wife of straight-laced and repressive Thomas, and the chaotic family who move in next door. McQuestion focuses on character, and she writes people and relationships well. I found myself caught up in Skyla and Roxanne’s lives and interested to see what would happen next. I just wanted a little more. No complaints though, really–on the whole, it was a better book than anything I had read in a while.

This one’s so close to being 4 stars it can taste them. TV-appropriate language.


3.5 Stars

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