by Lisa Schroeder
When I first started writing for kids and teens years ago, it was all a dream, what it would be like.
I imagined what it would be like to walk into a book store and see a book I'd written with my name on it, sitting on the shelves. What a feeling, I thought.
I imagined book signings where I'd sign books for people who happened to wander by, not realizing that it doesn't really work that way. Ha! How incredible to have people wanting my autograph, I thought.
Yeah, there were lots of things I imagined. What I didn't imagine were the e-mails and letters from fans.
Over the years, I have received many, many notes from readers. Some make me cry, when they share the loss of someone they loved, like the 12 year old girl who lost her dad in Iraq when he stepped on a bomb. My earlier books about love and loss, healing and hope, seem to help some teens. And for that I'm thankful.
Some notes make me smile, like the one I got from a 13 year old girl who said she hated to read, but they had to do this "stupid thing" in school where they had to read 4 books every semester, and her teacher handed her I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME and said, "Read it." And then she went on to tell me how she got in trouble in math class because she was reading the book instead of listening to the math teacher.
And some notes, well, they make me do both - cry and smile. Like this one:
Today my daughter Stephanie, who is 14 years old, read your entire novel from cover to cover.
She could not put it down and even read it through dinner. While this may not seem like a big deal, this was in fact somewhat of a miracle to me. You see, Stephanie does not enjoy reading. She has been dealing with dyslexia from 2nd grade on. She is a studious student and has developed many workarounds to deal with school, including being impeccably organized and has become the hardest worker I have ever known.
Reading comes with difficulty and takes up a tremendous amount of energy for her. We've tried books on tape and several styles, different genre, but nothing really "lit her fire."
Today was the very first time she actually told me she was really enjoying reading and she was giving me a play by play of what was happening in the novel. She even asked for me to look you up and see what other books you had written - so we have purchased some more. She really enjoys your style of writing and for our small family all the way on the east coast - I wanted you to know of the miracle that occurred in my living room today.
When I get notes like that one, I feel so honored to be able to call myself an author. This business can be crazy sometimes. We worry about reviews, about sales numbers, about being skipped by the chains and on and on.
In the end, I have to remember these readers, whose lives were changed for the better because of something I've written.
I never imagined letters from readers when I dreamed of being an author years ago. But they are the very best part of this job.
Thank you Lisa for sharing that with us!