I've received a couple of reviews, both of which mention the same thing, with regards to Panic. Now I should say up front, I don't believe in responding to reviews. Good, bad or meh. Once the book is out there, people should feel free to review and discuss it however they see fit, without fear that I'm gonna jump all over them. Hell, I'm grateful that anyone is bothered enough to read, let alone take the time to review. It's why I'm not active on sites like Goodreads or LibraryThing, and why I don't respond to Amazon reviews. Those are reader spaces as far as I'm concerned.
As it happens the reviews in question are both fine - balanced and intelligent and thought-provoking, so all I would do is thank those reviewers anyway, but I am bound by my own rules no matter what. Much like Batman, if Batman spent his days sitting at a computer smoking cigarettes and eating Doritos. Er...I digress. Note to self: comparing yourself to Batman can only end badly. Stop it.
Wait, does this constitute responding? Sigh. The life of a crime-fighting superhero is so confusing.
Anyway both reviews mention the same thing: the lack of a trigger warning for Panic.
At this point I must confess: this is the first time I've even encountered the phrase trigger warning (I had to look it up). Essentially, there are a couple of scenes in Panic that might upset readers. I know exactly which scenes the reviewers are talking about - though neither mention them specifically. I know because they were draining and uncomfortable scenes to write. I considered dropping them entirely, but in the end the scenes simply had to stay, for what they revealed about two major characters, and the way one of those characters in particular would evolve as the story goes on across the series.
So now I'm conflicted. I want to horrify and even disgust the reader. I'm writing horror here, and I don't want it to be watered down or sanitised. One of the central themes of Wildfire Chronicles is that civilization, once stripped away, will reveal some monstrous characteristics in certain people. I want the reader to be shocked by events - I figure that is pretty much the holy grail for horror writing.
But I don't want to upset people. That to me seems very different altogether. It's food for thought, certainly, and I will contemplate adding a warning to my books very seriously.
Now I must go: the batphone is ringing.