I was all set to blog this morning about another 5 hour "tree watch" I sweated through yesterday. Don't worry, for those who love the occasional whacked out Christmas tree story, it's coming. But today, it's a shout out to readers.
I didn't know I was going to write this blog until I opened my email this morning. There was a letter waiting for me from a father who had bought my new middle grade novel for his son. He said: "I am writing to let you know my son has not put 'Dragon Wishes' down since we purchased it. He is fascinated with the characters and the story. I have not seen him this excited about a book that was not 'Star Wars'. "
For all readers out there who ever wondered whether authors read your letters and whether those letters make a difference, as an author, I can say without a moment's hesitation, they do! And how they do!
This letter put the sun in an entirely stressful day today. I'm in edits on the last 30 pages of my young adult novel, so tired, I feel like I really am in labor and delivery all over again. And then I got this letter. The best part of the whole thing is that a child is reading my work, and is inspired by it. I mean, comparing it to Star Wars? Is there any greater honor? Just between you and me, I used to lay awake at night trying to move rocks with my mind. I used to put one in my bed next to my hand. Sometimes I'd lift it up, sort of to give it a head start with the whole levitating thing. I never did move that rock - other than with my hand - but I lost a lot of sleep trying. That's the effect that Star Wars had on me.
And now my writing might actually be having this effect on a reader? I can hardly believe it.
So thanks, Dad, for letting me know. Thanks to every reader who's ever sent me a picture, letter, email, the works, especially kids. I hang up pictures in my office. They inspire me. I read all of the letters, and some, I keep in a special file. They are amazing. I can't say it often enough.
Here's one of my favorites, copied verbatim from the No. 2 pencil handwritten letter I received:
Dear Mriss Nyikos"I'm really happy you were here. I liked the books Squirt the Squid, Shelby the lemoin shark and Dizzy. Squirt is very cute and funny. Shelby is.....well, I forgot, but dizzy is a heck of a story. I think the book Dizzy is the beast. Im working on a book about Salmon. I hope you come back soon. Your friend TommyP.S. Lemon sharks kill us in freenzezs
Thanks kids. Thanks parents. Thanks readers! I appreciate your words. Here's a heartfelt shout out to you!
I review books that surprise me, jar me, make me think. They are books I've bought, borrowed from the library, or been given as a gift. I do accept ARCs, but will only review a book if it moves me. It's about the writing. If I'm moved, I pass it on in a review.