Welcome, Insecure Writer's Support Group! Clicky clicky here to sign up for this amazing, supportive group.
This month I'm not insecure. I'm inspired.
Have you ever connected with a best-selling author? Until recently, I never had. I'd never sent an email or commented on their Facebook page.
My 17-year-old son and his required reading for AP U.S. History changed all that.
He was assigned to read Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. My son's plan was to skim through the book and write his essay. I was disappointed and told him how much I'd loved that story, and how he should give the book a chance.
Let me back up. Teens these days are required to read some of the most boring books EVER. No offense to long-dead writers, but their stories are not what interest today's teens. My son has morphed from a book lover to a book dreader, all within a span of three years of high school. Needless to say, he had no plans to enjoy this book. I urged him to at least read the first few chapters and see what he thought. Then I went to bed and left him to his homework.
He stayed up until the wee hours of the morning and finished the book. No joke. He loved this book even more than Hunger Games. After my sleep-deprived son left for school I logged on to Jamie Ford's web site and sent him a message about my son's experience and how much he loved the book.
My son had already tweeted about his love of the book. Jamie Ford retweeted. And he responded to my email within an hour. Since then we've had a nice email exchange about teens, books, and writing. He mailed us each a signed copy of his latest release, Songs of Willow Frost. He even agreed to a blog interview (more about that later). My son noticed that Jamie Ford was doing a library event close to home. Of course we had to go.
What's my take-away from all this? My son got a valuable lesson in giving books a chance. I got a valuable lesson in reaching out to authors, even those who top the best-seller list. They may respond and they may not. I also learned that all authors, whether new or multi-published, like to know when someone enjoys their book.
Jamie Ford inspired me. He took time to reach out to a teen reader. He took time to connect with another writer and answer questions. He's won two lifelong fans.
If you haven't yet read Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, I highly recommend you add it to your list. It's an amazing book that still lingers in my heart. And if you love a book, I recommend reaching out to the author and letting them know. Writers--even those at the top of their game--deserve to hear how much their work is appreciated.
Have you ever reached out to a best selling author? Did they respond or ignore you? How did that encourage or discourage you from reaching out again? Do you have teens who dread their required reading?
(my son's tweet)
(me, Jamie Ford, and my son)