Guess what—I made my daily page count yesterday. Whoohaw!
When times get tough in writing, one thing I do is read some of my recent fan letters. I tell you, these wonderful people who take the time to write and encourage me are gifts from God. They have no idea how their words can uplift my soul. I know I’m not alone in this. My author pals who write regularly receive letters too, and like me, they feel greatly encouraged. They could all quote wonderful letters they’ve received. Here are a few from the tops of my files:
On Dead of Night:
“I so appreciate your books. Not only am I surprised at ‘who done it’, but the books are so intelligently written . . . I especially appreciate how Annie’s character has grown from not believing to becoming a believer and how her faith has seen her through some horrible times. When Annie was in prayer in the latest book, and not actually feeling better after her prayer, I could understand that feeling.”
I read Dead of Night at a time in my life that I neeed to realize the importance of prayer in my personal life . . . [This reader follows with the story of current struggles she is facing.] After reading your book, I felt an overwhelming urge to pray, just as Annie did. After spending an entire morning talking to God, I felt a wonderful peace wash over me. God’s grace is sufficient. He will get us through this . . .”
“I read Dead of Night and was strongly impressed with your message about prayer. I had been praying for months (years, in some instances) about some significant life issues and had come to the point of discouragement because nothing seeming to be happening. Then I read your book—a great story, by the way—and was encouraged to ‘Pray Until Something Happens.’ I’m going to put that saying where I can see it every day, to remind me to stick with it.”
“ . . . The best part of the book was the way you depicted the realistic spiritual struggles we go through with your PUSH sermon. I was especially impacted by the verse you quoted from Acts: ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?’ I prayed that God would work through me in a way that the demons would learn my name. I realize, as Annie did, that such ‘name recognition’ carries with it a much greater intensity for the battle . . .”
Note: These readers are referring to the “Pray Until Something Happens (PUSH) sermon that is quoted in Dead of Night. This sermon was preached by my amazingly gifted pastor, Paul Sheppard, at the multi-cultural Abundant Life Christian Fellowship church in Mountainview, California. Pastor Paul preached this two-part sermon while I was writing Dead of Night. When I heard the sermon, I knew it was perfect for the book, and felt the preaching of it was God’s timing for my story. You can read about Paul Sheppard and his ministry at: http://www.pastorpaul.net/. The PUSH sermon (highly, highly recommended!) can be ordered at: http://www.enduringtruth.org/storedetail.asp?sku=289.
“My name is _____, and I was assigned to review Dead of Night for ______[a secular Web site]. I really enjoyed reading this book. It was definitely a surprise. My view on inspirational suspense has changed.”
On other books:
“I stayed up late last night finishing Stain of Guilt. Have you ever considered a career designing rollercoasters?”
[A reader’s heart-poured-out story about trials he’s been facing.] . . . “But I never gave up on God. And I’ve made it through. One escape I love is reading. If I can truly get into a book and give the characters faces and voices in my imagination, I have a real winner on my hands. I am always able to do this with all of your books. It NEVER fails. I especially love your Hidden Faces series . . .”
“Okay, I need you to promise you won’t tell the cops. And if you do, I’ll deny it. I just finished reading Brink of Death—while DRIVING HOME. I couldn’t WAIT to see what happened. I thought, ‘This is a long, straight deserted stretch of road. Do you suppose I could . . .’ I am ashamed of myself. I could have killed a raccoon. Next time I’ll take a cab.”
[Written to Zondervan, which forwarded it to me.] “I felt Brink of Death was just exceptional. It MUST be, as I read it ALL last night, finishing this morning. I had not read anything from this author before, but I shall be looking for her from now on.”
“I just wanted to thank you so much for your inspiring books. I am facing brain surgery for an aneurysm and your books have helped me reinforce my strength in God. He is my rock, and I lean on Him and praise Him every day.”
“. . . I just finished Dread Champion at 4 a.m. I LOVED this book, and Eyes of Elisha . . .” [Reader follows with the story of her own writing struggles—how she’d laid down the pen years ago and was afraid to take it up again because she feared disappointing God. After some e-mails back and forth between us, this author began writing again.]
“I’m nearing the end of Eyes of Elisha and need to tell you what a great book it is. You did a superb job in every aspect. I just wouldn’t know where to start. I’m very picky about what I read, and pickier about what I enjoy reading (the problem with being a writer), but you make me stop reading like a writer and start reading like a fan.” [Wow, loved this letter, as I really respect this author’s fiction.]
And so they go. Great encouragement when I am down. Occasionally I’ll get negative letters, but they’re so rare—probably 100 or more to 1. I attribute this to people’s kindness. In general, Christians tend to take the time to write and encourage, not batter someone over the head if they didn’t like the book. For that, I’m grateful. The writing life is hard enough without being told how I’ve disappointed someone.
Have a great weekend, BGs.