Readers of this blog have mentioned a couple of times since the Ask an Author feature was launched how they love finding out more about the people who write books that change their lives. They have been sending in questions so many questions that, once we have increased the pool of participating writers, the feature will be published weekly. If you are an author who wants to be added to this list or a reader with a question, it would be a pleasure to hear from you at saharsblog (at) gmail (dot) com!
Writing is a powerful force that can have a great effect on readers. This Feature’s Question asks our authors: Have you ever heard back from a reader whose heart was deeply moved by your writing? How did that effect you as a writer?
Another great question, Sahar. I’ve been lucky enough to have received lots of positive feedback from readers, but for many writers it’s the initial reviews that stick in your mind. Not long after my first book, Battle of the Birds, was released, I received an email from the parent of an eight-and-a-half year old who we’ll call B. B’s dad said while B was only eight, his reading age was 12-13 years, so the family had found it difficult to locate books which extended and engaged him, while not being too mature in theme. B’s dad had written down B’s reaction to Battle of the Birds:
B: “It was awesome. When you read it you’re, like, what happens next? It really does make you think about how it would feel for you if it happened to you. For me it would feel very, very awesome. It’s super-entertaining. Unputdownable.”
Dad: “Is it like any other books you’ve read?”
B: “No. It’s different.”
Dad: “Would you like to read another book like that?”
B: “Love to.”
Out of the mouths’ of babes: there’s nothing like validation from a child-reader to inspire a writer to keep writing. Happily, other readers liked the story too, because the book went on to make Dominion Post’s Top 10 Books for Children of 2011, as well as New Zealand’s Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Youth Novel.
I have had several readers that say “Wake Up! Based on a True Story of Abuse and Betrayal” has changed something for them. There is one in particular who it hit home so much for that she had been coming up with different ways to expand the exposure to it because she believes there is an important message that needs heard ( this is exactly why I wrote it).
I have had feedbacks and few reviews. All feedbacks and reviews so far have been encouraging. However, from the feedbacks I get, I have come to understand that my stories are mainly for entertainment. Some readers tell me it made them forget about their worries, some say it made their day. Others say it was interesting. Mostly, my readers ask for a sequel.
When I get such feedbacks, it makes me happy and motivated to write more. My novella, Trapped- The Underworld, was initially a short story. Due to request from some of my ardent readers, I expanded the work into a three part novella and although I’m yet to release the third part, so far they are happy with it.
While I’ve only been publishing a short time, I’ve had a few such responses from readers about my work. My novella, Burn, in particular. I’ve had readers say they were brought to tears by this story, that it was beautiful and moved them in ways they hadn’t expected. It’s always wonderful to hear that someone has connected so deeply with my work, and I hope that I can continue to do that. It’s that kind of thing that makes me feel like a story has been a success, if even one reader feels like that about it.
I have a reader named Lauren whose Facebook page is listed as an Entertainment Website named Lauren’s Book & Media Club. She wrote, “I love your book because it opened my eyes to a whole new world. I didn’t know much about drugs and addiction.” I felt fullfilled and as if I had served my purpose to bring forth more awareness. Lauren and I stayed in touch and had many meaningful conversations. She kept me abreast of her progression throughout the reading of my novel, writing, “My husband caught me crying and Oh Geez, you’re making me cry, at work, in the break room, too!”
No, but I had a friend of a family member read my book without expecting much and was shocked that it was like reading some of her favorite authors. We don’t expect someone we know to be amazing. Heh. It certainly felt good to surprise someone! I actually do have a very good team behind me to polish my work. I always say that my artist, editor, and formatter are amazing. Thus, any flaws the book may have rest solely on my shoulders!
I was moved to tears by a personal message from an older southern man who said he isn’t an emotional person and rarely moves to the right or left of his emotions. Things just don’t “get to him”, he said. He fell into my book, the southern flavor and the characters so strongly that he had to put it down and “take a break” because his emotions got the best of him. His daughter told me that she had never heard him utter any words even close to that and that my book still sits on the side-table, open to the page where he left it, waiting for his return. I was proud, indeed. Deeply moved to my core. THAT is why we do it- to reach even ONE person on that level is an accomplishment and a success.
Image credit: Chad Mauger.