One of the greatest pleasures of being a writer is hearing from readers who have enjoyed your books. Many (and probably most) writers read and reply to their reader mail personally. I do, at any rate. However, I often have to let the mail stack up until I find a free moment to respond. Snail mail is the hardest to stay on top of. I don’t get as much of it as I do email, but since I put it in a To Do stack, it isn’t in my face the way the unanswered emails are. Therefore, I let that pile grow before I take an afternoon or a full day to reply.
Because of the type of books I write — books that tap into the emotions, often times dealing with tough life situations (alcoholism, marriage in crisis, war, family secrets) — some of my mail can be emotional to read. Readers often share things from their personal lives, and the stories they share can be heartbreaking. I’m often asked to pray for them which I am always honored to do.
Over the past few days, I was busy replying to reader emails. I had several from recent readers of my 2005 release, The Victory Club, a novel set on the homefront during WWII. One of the readers had fought in the Pacific and survived Iwo Jima. Another shared memories of her family while her father fought overseas. Since I wrote this book as my way of honoring our military who put themselves in harm’s way and their families who sacrifice so much while their loved ones are away from home, it’s nice that it is still being found and enjoyed by readers.
Reader mail can be a great encouragement as I’m working on my next book. I always wrestle with doubt that I can pull the book together. I sometimes wonder if I have the talent required or the brain cells left to make sense of it all. That is particularly true at the moment as I try to finish a massive rewrite. So reading these emails from people who have enjoyed my books lifted my spirits and increased my resolve to make this book the very best that I possibly can.
Later this week, I mean to tackle the out of control stack of snail mail — and I hope that not too many of them have moved and have an expired forwarding address.