I love letters. Whether it’s an e-mail forwarded from my editor or a Good morning! note written by my wife and placed beside a fresh pot of coffee before leaving for work, I love ’em. (And if you don’t understand the title of this post, or how it relates, I’m sorry…but I like it!)
Let’s start with my wife. On most days, I’m the first to wake up because my job starts earlier. On other days, we carpool so she can squeeze in a workout before work (which sounds like self-inflicted torture to me). But on Friday, I slept in because I didn’t have to work. At least, not in my day job (the one with the regular paychecks). In order to spend more time on my second novel, I’m taking some personal leave from the library. During the next four weeks, I’ll have four-day weekends. And to help inspire me for Day 1 of my new schedule, my wife left me one of the most beautiful notes I’ve ever read. I’m not going to tell you everything it said (because tears have a way of messing up my keyboard), but it included lines like “Just take a deep breath and let yourself do what you do best…write :-)” and “...trust yourself…” and “P.S. Here's coffee for you.” And even though I woke up later than I’d planned, the coffee was still warm!
Now, onto the e-mail. When the Thirteen Reasons Why galleys went out recently, they included a letter from my editor on the first page. She also included her e-mail address in case anyone wanted to share their thoughts. Well, someone did. And once again, I’m not going to repeat everything it said for the same reason as mentioned above (let's just say that when I showed it to our head children’s librarian, she started crying). Here are a couple snippets: “I found myself trying to read faster, to find out what was going on, while at the same time trying to read slower so that it would last longer” and “…it reminded me of why I love reading.”
So what does that kind of letter do to a debut novelist? For one thing, it makes it a heckuva lot more stressful to write Book 2!