I have a confession: I love my reader emails. Writing a book isn't like performing a play. There's no one there to applaud. I can't look past the spotlight and see if all the seats are filled. Instead I wait six months for my publisher to tell me how many of you bought my books six months ago. I'm serious, that's how frequently authors get updates about their book sales and that's how delayed those updates are. So while I don't want you to write me unless you're genuinely moved to do so (not because you read this blog) I always take the messages that I do get to be good news.
But every once in a while one of you will write me an email that will actually bring tears to my eyes. I've heard from a mother of a mentally ill child, a woman whose husband is in Afghanistan, a guy whose friend was just diagnosed with AIDS and they've all written to thank me. They thanked me for making them laugh at a time when there wasn't much in their life to laugh about. If I was a politician I'd say that these emails are "humbling" but in truth they make me both grateful and proud. Sex, Murder And A Double Latte started out as a means of emotional escape, not for any particular reader but for me. I needed the escape. I needed to laugh. And now I'm grateful that I was able to turn that escape into a career and I'm proud that I was able to turn my personal escape into a refuge for others.
Then there are the emails I get from people who have read So Much For My Happy Ending. Those are the ones that elicit the most emotion from me. Those letters are almost always from people who have loved someone who is bipolar. Others are from people who are themselves bipolar and are just coming to grips with how they hurt the people closest to them while they were in their manic state and a few of those emails are from psychiatric nurses. In addition to all that I've gotten a significant number of emails from women who have recently been in emotionally abusive relationships with men who act a little crazy despite the fact that they haven't been diagnosed with anything. I've even heard from a woman who told me that after she read my book she broke off her relationship with her boyfriend because she realized that she wasn't helping anyone by staying in a bad situation. What strikes me most about these emails is that there are so many of them and yet So Much For My Happy Ending, which was barely publicized, didn't sell nearly as well as my other books. So that means a larger percentage of people who read that book wrote me than those who read the books in the Sophie series. And the one thing all those emails say is that in my book I have described their life. They tell me that the book gave them a new perspective on their situation. I've read a few online reviews that question the realism of the book but I don't get those complaints from those who have lived through similar situations. In fact most of those people assume that the book is a fictionalized memoir because, to quote more than one email, "no one could have written this so accurately without living it."
They're right. I did live it. Not all of it of course. The mother of my protagonist bears little resemblance to my own mother and my marriage lasted a lot longer than my protagonist's as well. But honestly I can't say that events in my own life didn't inspire that novel. My marriage ended seven years ago and in many ways I'm still recovering from it. My ex hasn't recovered at all. I'm constantly wondering if he will ever step off the path of self-destruction and save himself. But that's not the point of this post. My point is that your emails touch me. I know that there are times when it takes me forever to respond but I do read them all. Not only do they motivate me and inspire me but they actually give me a sense of validation. You are the reason that I continue to write the Sophie books and I hope that the next book makes you smile and makes you laugh and gives you the escape that we all occasionally need and you most definitely deserve.
Bestselling Author of:
SEX, MURDER AND A DOUBLE LATTE,
PASSION, BETRAYAL AND KILLER HIGHLIGHTS,
OBSESSION, DECEIT AND REALLY DARK CHOCOLATE
SO MUCH FOR MY HAPPY ENDING