I’ve been meaning to write on this subject for some time now, and the just-announced passing of novelist Maeve Binchy has prompted me to do it today. Binchy was a marvelous storyteller. In fact, in our writing book, Damn the Rejections, Full Speed Ahead: The Bumpy Road to Getting Published, author Maralys Wills dissects a compelling scene from Tara Road. A couple are at dinner at a local restaurant and the wife hesitantly begins to tell the husband she thinks it is time they have another child. The husband jumps to the conclusion the wife knows that his mistress is pregnant. Binchy works this scene like a master, building tension and drama, captivating the reader and making you feel like you’re at that table with them.
But the purpose of this post is to encourage all of you readers who’ve been inspired and touched and have wept and laughed because an author wrote a book that engaged your own imagination. For that’s the difference between reading a book and watching a film. With a book, you’re in something of a partnership with the author, sharing the story together. The writer provides the bones, the storyline, the characters, and the settings. But your own creative mind brings the story to life, adding the details and feelings that your own life experiences fuel. What a synergy!
As a publisher, I’m surprised how reluctant readers are to reach out to authors. From experience, I can tell you that authors are thrilled to hear from their readers, and especially how their books have touched another.
Lisa Gioia-Acres is a fan of Maeve Binchy, and recently she told me why. Lisa details her personal experience reaching out to Ms. Binchy on her blog This Gioia’s Chronicles. It is a special story.
Now, Stephen King and his coterie of mega-bestselling author friends may not answer you directly, or send your ten Euro banknote back. I’m sure they hear from legions of fans. But writers of most of the books you’ve liked are easily reached these days when most all of them have their own websites or blogs. You can send them an email or make a comment. Or send a note to their publisher and it will be passed on to them.
You thank the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker in the course of each day. Why not let the person who’s given you hours and hours of reading pleasure know that you’ve appreciated their work? I’m off to write some notes myself!