I'm not going to pretend I'm some big-shot highfalutin author who gets so much fan mail I need an assistant to handle it all. I do get a pretty steady diet of email that comes in from readers, however. Usually short messages letting me know they enjoyed one of my books. So far no death threats or demands for apologies or retractions (knock on wood).
I love getting email from readers. It's why I practically beg at the end of my books for readers to reach out and say hello. I've gotten messages from literally all over the world and from people of all ages. From teens to seniors. I love it. It's probably the most rewarding thing I've found about writing and the single biggest source of inspiration I have. Sure, the royalty checks are nice, but if I never got a review or heard a peep from folks reading my stuff I think I would have lost interest by now and moved on to model planes or something.
This morning I fired up my trusty pal Thunderbird and received one of the nicest and most touching messages I've even gotten from a reader. It's from a woman named Laura from the UK and I asked if it was okay to share here.
Dear Mr Brumm,
I recently read your novel windigo soul and thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm always slightly ashamed to admit that I picked it up when it was on a free day especially as it was a good book worth the money. However, have to thank you for your generosity as otherwise I would likely never have read it.
I have severe nerve damage to the point that pretty much all I can do is use a computer, and keyboard use is limited. I tend to read rather voraciously. You see, for ten years now, I have been restricted in movement after I twisted and ankle that quickly spread up my entire leg and put me in a wheelchair and I have now been confined to bed for 8 years. My condition means I have to have lights low, curtains blacked out and drawn, absolutely no draft (windows and doors shut, even waving a hand slowly over me hurts). I am not telling you this for pity, but because I want you to understand how isolated I am, for all I know the world outside of this house with the exception of my mother is gone.
So I read to escape, but it is a bit like medication. If you are taking a pain killer for along time eventually your body will adapt to the dose then you need more to get the same relief you were getting when you started the dose (I hope that makes sense). The same goes for fiction, but I think age is a part of this process too. A first any book will transport you to another world, but the more you read the more you notice "this is the same plot type as that other book" kind of thing and it takes something more to get that real escapism.
Your book gave me that. For a lovely while I was in a dystopian land with a group of people willing them to succeed. For some reason I enjoy dystopian fiction more than rainbows and unicorns where everybody is happy, I guess that is because life hasn't had as many medical rainbows and unicorns as I would like so I can relate more. I admit I enjoyed the first half, up to the escape attempt the most, seeing the culture, but that isn't to say I didn't enjoy the rest, and by the time the characters were going back in for the rescue I was right back in that world.
So I would like to thank you for great writing and for giving me a chance to escape thee four walls for a while. I wish I could say I will be buying more of your work in the future, but unless it goes on the free offers that won't be possible with what the government thinks is a suitable amount for disabled people to live on, and I wouldn't wish to deceive you.
I wish you all the luck in the world with your writing, you deserve it.
When I started writing years ago I never thought I would receive a message like this. I read it three times in a row and kept double-checking the name to make sure she didn't send it to me by mistake. Laura, I am truly humbled and honored that I was able to provide a little distraction in your life and I'm sorry you have to endure such pain. I don't know what else to say besides thank you.
Over the years I've read some really great books that temporarily took over my life for the short while I got to enjoy them. Ever pick up a book that you couldn't stop thinking about long after you've finished? How about when you decide to call it a night and realize you burned through a few more chapter and somehow an hour just passed? Great books can have such a powerful ability to absorb you into their world and inspire your imagination. That's the intangible quality I strive for in each of my books. If only I could guarantee it for every reader I really would be a highfalutin author.
Since we're on the topic of Windigo Soul, I'm elbow deep in a re-write for the second edition. As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, I'm not happy with the original novella and hope to polish it into a proper page-turner. Hopefully it'll hit the shelves before the year ends.