On Hearing from Readers….
This week I did three presentations about my books. Since my psyche fills with dread in anticipation, I am always relieved when I can look back and say “did,” rather than “will be doing.” And these were lovely experiences for me, filled with readers who take my work seriously (always appreciated), most of whom had actually read the books, and who were interested in the characters presented. What a joy, to have the chance to talk about these inhabitants of the page, who are certainly real to me, with those who know who they are, with those who are interested in just why they made the decisions they did, how they managed to cope with life.
I’ve also heard from a few readers, a joy, since it definitely does not happen too often. One man – always a pleasant surprise when a man reads my books – noted that one of the characters in Echoes from the Alum Chine lived on Ensor Street. He wrote that his grandmother lived on Ensor Street and wondered if, perhaps, she had known him. Now isn’t that a delight for a writer to read! I thanked him for writing, and did not remind him that my John Abbott was fictional, and, who knows, perhaps his grandmother did know him.
Another reader wrote that she saw herself and her daughter in two of Echoes’ characters, and that it helped her understand her daughter’s feelings that her mother was always there for someone else, some worthy cause, but never there for her. I was touched when she wrote, humbled that she trusted me enough to share these deeply personal thoughts, and glad that the character could bring a sense of understanding and love into the real life of a reader.
In a week where working on the next book has been problematic, these lagniappes have strengthened a resolve to push on through. It also reminds me how comments to the author area appreciated, and I try to pass on my praise. It never hurts.
So this post is a thank you – to my readers, to my friends, to everyone who has taken my writing seriously. You mean the world to me.