Monday, March 15, 2010

Reader Letters

Writing is a ministry for me. Poise my hands over the keyboard and type. Spend hours thinking about the characters and plot. What will challenge readers? What will make for a page-turning, entertaining novel? What will readers connect with?

Usually, there's something I learn as I write each novel. I don't
always know ahead of time what that will be, but God never fails to teach me as I write in obedience.

Then I hit send on the manuscript, my editors help me whip it into shape and eventually it reaches readers. Sometimes I have no worries -- like A Promise Forged. What's not to like? A young heroine gets to play professional baseball during
World War Two. The hero is a rougher character at the beginning, but both grow as the book progresses. And it's just plain fun.

Then there are other books like A Promise Kept, which contain a
huge piece of my heart. Because that one has a small subplot dealing with miscarriage, I felt like I poured my heart out on the page, and then waited with bated breath to see how readers reacted. It was nerve-wrecking and it didn't help that I miscarried again in the weeks after it released.

Last week I received a batch of reader letters from my editor at Heartsong Presents. I love getting reader mail. Seeing what worked for readers and what might not have connected.

This time a special letter from one reader was included. She poured her heart out on the page, ministering to me with her experience after miscarriage and her road to healing. God's timing was so perfect since the due date of the baby we lost last summer was last week. I am so grateful for this woman risking her words on the page to reach out in love. And to God for His perfect timing.

So if you ever wonder if writing an author is well-received, know that it is. Writing is done in a cave. And unless you let us know how the writing is received, we have no idea. A book doesn't really become a book, after all, until it is interacted with by readers.


Timothy Fish said...

I agree, getting feedback from readers is the best part of writing. Sometimes we connect with readers in ways we really didn't expect. When I wrote Searching For Mom, my focus was on Sara and Ellen's relationship more than any other, but readers tend to mention the relationship between Sara and her dad when they write. I had one reader who mentioned that she connected with the story with Sara growing up in a single parent home because the reader's father had died when she was a young age. When I received that letter, I was just glad I hadn't messed it up, because I have no experience in a single parent family.

Julie said...

I know that the topic of miscarriage hits close to home for so many. I've had many friends and family heartbroken by it. Thanks for writing about such a tough subject.

Casey said...

Keep writing, Cara. God is in it. I pray for you continually. :)

Nicole O'Dell said...

God's timing certainly is wonderful!

You know I'm right there with you X 2. It's something a mom never quite gets over, but time does lessen the heartbreak.



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