Today’s post by New York Times Bestselling Author, Karen White
Update: congrats to Glynis who was randomly chosen as our winner! Glynis has been notified via email.
In a couple of weeks, my fifteenth novel will be published. As with the previous fourteen, publication day is a Big Deal to me. I’ll have a big launch party, will hear a lot of congrats from friends and readers, and might even receive a bouquet of flowers from my agent. It’s even possible that my husband and/or other family members will stop for a moment and remember vaguely that I do something else besides their laundry. It’s a good day.
Writing books is what I love to do but it’s hard work. Yes—it’s work. I have to sit my rear end in a chair every day and pull words from the ether. Sometimes it can be fun, and sometimes it can be a lot like trying to put a sweater on a baby octopus. When asked what my favorite part about writing a book is, I only half-jokingly reply, “Typing THE END.”
But what makes it all worthwhile is hearing from readers. Hands down, that is my favorite part of this job. I love getting emails and letters from people who have been entertained, touched, and even inspired by my words. I cherish each and every one of these letters.
There are always, of course, the “other letters.” Now, being raised by a Southern Mama, I was always told that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. By and large, I’ve stuck fast to these words of wisdom (except when it came to my brothers) and they have never led me astray. Apparently, not everybody was taught this little gem as I was because of some unfortunate blip in their rearing. As my Southern Mama would say, “Bless their hearts.”
I can take criticism. Really. But it’s the emails that berate me for “pricing my e-books so high” (note to readers: I have nothing to do with this), or for capitalizing the word Realtor (I was right, actually), for allowing a married couple have “too many children—there are enough children in this world,” or even (and I’m serious here) for causing the fairies and elves to pluck at the reader’s shoulders and force her to place my book in a plastic bag surrounded by rocks and candles (really—I’m not making this up) that I begin to feel a little war-weary.
Growing up, I was the girl whose nose was buried in Nancy Drew books, and then Victoria Holt, and then just about anything written between two covers. Maybe because I didn’t have access to today’s ease of communication, but I don’t think I was ever once tempted to write to Carolyn Keene and say, “Every single one of your books takes place in the summer between Nancy’s high school graduation and college—yet each mystery takes several weeks to solve and there are fifty-six of them. How is this possible?”
I didn’t because I was mesmerized by the stories and the characters—so much so that I didn’t care about the little inconsistencies. The joy of reading to me has always been about being transported to another world, and another life. It still is.
So, as I approach the new release of one of my “babies” into the world, I know that I will receive lots of mail from readers and I look forward to every one of them. Because each one means that a reader cared enough about my story and characters to write to me. For that, I’m humbled and grateful. Even for those readers who want to tell me that I don’t have a clue how to use a comma.
In a few weeks I’m going to go on an extensive six-week book tour. The longest leg will be for three weeks straight without returning home. I love my family, but after living with them for a very long time I’ve come to realize that despite their other many stellar accomplishments, none of them know how to throw away trash, empty the dishwasher, wipe down the counters, sort through and file mail, or find the laundry room. I have visions of my house being featured on an episode of TLC’s HOARDERS in my absence. I know in the half hour before my return, they will do their best to make the house look like it did when I left so I won’t have the heart to criticize their efforts. They’ve been struggling without me for three weeks after all and it’s not their fault that their father’s genes have made them clutter-blind. Bless their hearts.
For Ava Whalen, a new marriage and a move to St. Simons Island means a new beginning. But what she doesn’t realize is that her marriage will take her on an unexpected journey into the deep recesses of her past that will transform her forever…
For as long as she can remember, Ava Whalen has struggled with a sense of not belonging, and now, at thirty-four, she still feels stymied by her family. Then she meets child psychologist Matthew Frazier, and thinks her days of loneliness are behind her. After a whirlwind romance, they impulsively elope, and Ava moves to Matthew’s ancestral home on St. Simons Island off the coast of Georgia.
But after the initial excitement, Ava is surprised to discover that true happiness continues to elude her. There is much she doesn’t know about Matthew, including the mysterious circumstances surrounding his first wife’s death. And her new home seems to hold as many mysteries and secrets as her new husband. Feeling adrift, Ava throws herself into uncovering Matthew’s family history and that of the island, not realizing that she has a connection of her own to this place—or that her obsession with the past could very well destroy her future.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the book, She Reads will receive a very small commission. These commissions help us pay for the site and the services we offer.
About Ariel Lawhon
Ariel Lawhon is the co-founder of She Reads, novelist, blogger, storyteller, and life-long reader. She lives in Texas with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). Ariel believes that Story is the shortest distance to the human heart.