Without a doubt, meeting readers is one of my favorite aspects of being an author. As a writer, I spend a good six to eight hours a day staring at my laptop screen, fabricating conversations with fictional characters in my head – fictional characters who become very real to me over time. I share in all of their struggles and can often be found weeping at the end of my books when the time comes to lay these stories and the characters’ lives to rest. Writing can be isolating; until I have a solid draft complete, I don’t let slip any of the particulars of the book, but keep it to myself. The indecision and self-doubt that goes on inside a writer’s head is paralyzing at times, while the joy at figuring out a killer twist or some thorny plot issue is an indescribable high. And yet, for the most part while writing a book, I experience all of this in solitude. The highs, the lows, the excitement, the fears.
That said, when the time finally comes to share my novels with the world, there’s no greater joy for me than hearing how much a reader enjoyed my book, or was moved by a certain character’s struggles, how they cried at the end when so-and-so died, or felt blindsided by a surprise ending. When I finally take a book that I’ve been working on – sequestered in my office for months on end – and share with readers, it makes it all worth it.
I’ve had so many wonderful interactions with readers over the years. It’s hard to choose a most memorable, though a few stand out. There’s a lovely group of Texas ladies who invited me to attend a book club with them via Skype. We had such a fun, interactive conversation, and a few months later when I visited Dallas on book tour, they came to see me in person. Such a thrill that was for me! At a bookstore in Winnetka, Illinois, I met a delightful man and his wife, who were so kind, so generous, so engaging; we keep in touch to this day. When they spot copies of my books while traveling, they send photographs of them to me.
One of the most amazing connections I’ve made, however, comes from a woman in Spain who reached out to me via email shortly before The Good Girl (Una Buena Chica) released earlier this year. She had read an article about me and the upcoming release, and my name struck a chord with her. She found my email address on my website and sent me a note. It just so happens that back in the early 1990s when she and I were both in middle school, we were pen pals for our foreign language programs. How amazing to be reunited over twenty years later thanks to The Good Girl!
I learn so much from my readers. They’re always so honest and expressive about what they love (or don’t love) in my novels. Together we lament over the death of certain characters; we get angry over the negligence and abuse of others; we fall in love with the likes of Colin and Alex. Readers are forthcoming. They show up with lists of words and ask why I chose those to use. They tell me their favorite of my books, and they ask for mine. By the end of book signings or book club sessions, I often feel like, instead of having just met these readers, that I’ve known them for years and years. It’s remarkable the way books have a habit of bringing people together. I get the palpable sense that they’re rooting for mine and my books’ success.
I have been so touched by the kindness and generosity of readers. It means everything to me. The positive interactions I’ve had are truly endless, and the negative are few. I could never express into words how important, how vital readers are to me, but every single email I receive or handwritten letter, or tweet or Facebook post, or even a kind, engaged smile during a book signing – they mean the world to me. Authors are nothing without their readers and I’m so very grateful for mine.
Mary Kubica is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of THE GOOD GIRL, PRETTY BABY and DON’T YOU CRY. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in History and American Literature, and lives outside of Chicago with her husband and two children, where she enjoys photography, gardening and caring for the animals at a local shelter. Her first novel THE GOOD GIRL received a Strand Critics Nomination for Best First Novel and was a nominee in the Goodreads Choice Awards in Debut Goodreads Author and in Mystery & Thriller for 2014. She is currently working on her next novel.
You can connect with Mary Kubica at the following places:
Books by Mary Kubica
Thank you, Mary, for joining us today and sharing how important your readers are to you. TNC Readers: If you have not yet had the pleasure of reading one of Mary’s novels, we urge you to not wait another second!
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