Friday, November 18, 2005

Reader Letters

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.

8 comments:

Hope said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Hope Wilbanks said...

Very true! I've been struggling lately with the "Who do I think I am trying to do this?" syndrome. I have been fighting this voice for a while. Some days I feel like just giving up, giving in and agreeing with it. And then there are those days that I get an email from someone saying, "EXCELLENT! You can tell that it all comes from your heart. It is very personal and revealing and easy to read..." (a literal quote). So why is it so hard for ME to believe it myself?? :)

Lynette Eason said...

Ha. One of those comments sounded like a Dee Henderson email. Smile.

I'm picky too simply because I seem to have this annoying knack for being able to predict stories. My husband refuses to go to the movies with me anymore...even when I promise to keep my mouth shut! He says the smug look on my face drives him nuts. Oh well. Anyway, there are a few authors that I read simply because of writing style, voice, and I know it's going to be a great even if I figure it out on page 47. That said, I must say Eyes of Elisha had me guessing to the end. I read it when it first came out and voila! Surprise! I was hooked. Instant BC fan. hehehe.

I'm reading Robert Whitlow right now...Life Support and Life Everlasting. It's kind of predictable, but I REALLY am enjoying the story, regardless.

So anyway, I can relate to those who read Dead of Night. My perspective on prayer changed after reading that story and I've been a christian since I was 8 years old, am married to a minister...and I pray on a daily basis! So, there ya go. Thanks for writing what you write and being the servant that you are...smile.

Blessings,
Lynette Eason

Stuart said...

Well even though I haven't managed to get to read one of your books yet, this blog has been a daily stop for me and a great source of inspiration and encouragement. Thanks for taking the time to let us all get a glimpse at your writing life & thoughts. :)

Pammer said...

congrats on making your wordcount!! Woohoo! You got it goin' on!

Hugs,
Pammer :0)

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Congrats on the word count. I can relate! You are such a great source of knowledge and inspiration for all of us. I just hope I can write as well as you one of these days.

I gave you credit in today's post for the link for that Gender Genie, that's cool, I've given it a permanent spot on om writers tools list.

C.J. Darlington said...

It is amazing what one word of encouragement will do for someone, especially a writer. This reminds me to always make an effort to let an author know when I enjoy a particular book. We remember a kind word or simply a smile, sometimes for years.

Dineen A. Miller said...

Brandilyn, these letters are precious! What affirmation. God is so good. Thanks for sharing some of your treasures. God bless!