They Like It!

One of the hardest things an author can do, I think, is turning their work over to a friend.  It is hard enough to face rejection from strangers, but when it is a possibility from those one likes and respects, then the stuff gets real!

I let a friend of mine read my books because she has a connection to the publishing world through an agent.  I thought if she liked them, she may be able to pass them along to her contact.

I waited on pins and needles for several weeks.  I have a few people to whom I have sent the first book and have never heard back any feedback, but when I ask, they say they just haven’t read it yet.  But, this time, when I asked, my friend promised she would read it the next day.

I was thrilled beyond belief when the Facebook Messenger app started pinging and I read her first reviews.  She wasn’t even done and she felt the need to let me know that she was thoroughly enjoying it, forgetting that it was a friend who wrote it and how she was so involved with the characters and the storyline that she was even reading at stoplights.  My heart swelled with joy when I realized that yet another test reader was liking my work!

She is in the process of beginning the second book, A Twist of Faith.  In some cases, this book is my favorite, because it deals with the history of my home state.  I feel a connection with it deeply and vividly visualize the landscape before my eyes.  Another test reader read it and said that she could envision exactly what my brain had pictured when she described it.  But, on the other hand, my first book, A Good Kind of Crazy, is my favorite, because I can see the scenes before my eyes with that book, as well, and it there are more elements of “me” in that story than the second one.  If I had to really choose which one was my favorite, I don’t think I could.

I am grateful for my test readers because they come from different experiences and backgrounds and when I get positive feedback from all who have read my books, it truly makes me feel as though I have struck gold.  As I write, I see the events laid out so clearly, it is like I am watching a movie playing in my head.  I see the scenery, the people, the clothing.  The facial expressions of each character is always present in my mind. I truly understand why my favorite professor while I was obtaining my geography degree at the University of Nevada, Reno was always going on about the importance of a good sense of place.  Sense of place is what allows our minds fill in the blanks between the words on a page and the scenes in our heads.  The feedback I have gotten is that people are able to envision what I did, and it feels amazing.  Several times test readers have told me that they could see the two books as movies.  I can’t imagine how thrilled I would be to see my work come to live on screen!  I wonder if everyone else’s visions would match my own.

Everyone likes to get atta girls, but for me, it is more than that.  To get the confirmation that people are so invested in my stories that they can’t put them down makes me know that my goal has been achieved.  Books should offer an escape:  The reader should feel like they are watching everything unfold before them and get lost in the characters and their lives.  I know for myself, I cried when both books were finished because I felt the loss of the characters occupying my mind very deeply.  I want my readers to feel that way, too.  I want them to be so invested that they are feeling the shock of having to return to reality when they reach the end.

I am grateful for my test readers and the feedback and suggestions they give me.  But, when so much of it has been truly positive, I can’t help but feel like I am on to something!

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