Photos by Hamlin Grange
One of the most enjoyable experiences I have as a writer of a newly published book is hearing from readers. It happened with my first book, A Good Home: I got hundreds of notes and cards from readers.
This time, a new thing happened: readers started emailing me while still reading the book. Bloggers whom I knew and many readers whom I didn’t, wrote as they finished a chapter or part (the book has 3 parts).
I love it!
I also love the surprises involved.
Jeanne at Still A Dreamer posted a beautiful remembrance of her dad’s garden.
I savoured every flower, every memory she described. Then, at the end of her post, came a surprise connection to An Honest House. A smile warmed my soul. I was glad that reading about our farmhouse gardens had triggered Jeanne’s happy memories.
But when – over just 2 days — readers in 3 different countries wrote to praise “all the great food” in An Honest House, I was stunned.
The only great cook in this house is my husband. Could I really have written so much about food? It sent me scurrying to reread my own book.
Eureka! There it was, dozens of mentions:
Food growing and being harvested from the garden.
Food cooking on the stove or fresh-baked from the oven.
Pots of jelly burbling.
And there it was:
The joy of making apple pies, apple crepes and jellies – from our own rare apples.
The delight that comes from knowing that almost every ingredient in a meal has come from one’s own garden.
Family and friends having supper — cooked by our resident chef.
And, of course, the hilarity that follows my guests’ discovery that I’ve ruined yet another simple dish.
Running gag among family and friends:
Me: Hi there. Will you please come over for supper?
Them: Ah…hmm… who’s doing the cooking?
I learned that sometimes, what you think you are writing and what the reader is getting may be not exactly the same. I knew that I wanted to infuse this (sometimes painful) book with my family’s gratitude and joy in life’s simple pleasures. But it took my readers to tell me how much I’d written about food.
So: ever wanted to write to an author whose book you enjoyed?
Do it. You might tell them something they didn’t know.