Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Supreme Joy of Writing

There are at least a dozen reasons I could think of right off the top of my head for why I so love writing. And, more specifically, why I love writing this particular story: my saga of happily-ever-after revolving around the Darcys and their friends. I love the adventure of crafting words into paragraphs into chapters. I love the research into history. I love the thrill of inspiration and epiphany as scenes appear by magic into my head. I love the rush of pride when I read those scenes perfectly conveyed on paper. I love the challenge of overcoming the hurdles. I love dwelling with these characters I have created and given life. I love what they teach me about love and life and history. I love the professional accolades and confirmation for a job well done. And that is just scratching the surface.

Yet, for me there is no doubt that the best part is when my written words touch someone. When I hear from a reader and they relate to me with great thankfulness how my story brought them joy or laughter or merely a smile, I swell with uncontainable happiness. I never set out to change the world, win Pulitzers, write the next mega-blockbuster, or be on Oprah. I only desire to entertain, to bring warmth and light into a ofttimes dreary world. Nothing fancy. So even when the response is just: “I liked your book. Thanks.” I am overjoyed. Then there are the ones who LOVE it, who use CAPITOL letters and lots of exclamation points!!! And once in a while there is the truly profound email from someone who was blown away or given hope through a difficult situation. I would like to share some recent letters with you. These are all real, (although I will not use the person’s name), and for me make any difficulty or stress worth it.

“Your books are what got me through the last few months, it sounds weird, but reading about such a couple and learning about that type of relationship in another way helped me realize that there was hope that there was something better out there…. your books helped me get through some of the last months of my marriage. I re-read your books often, praying that my relationship with what I thought was my Mr. Darcy, could be fixed or evolve into something different. Your books give me hope for the future. I always felt that Austen's books were the ultimate love stories, full of misunderstanding and winding pathways, but that love ultimately conquered…..you create a world, where one can forget their problems and have a glimpse into a world and a life that we all wished we possessed in some way or another.”

“As both a Jane Austin and Pride and Prejudice fan, I was curious to read your novel. I couldn't put it down! I absolutely fell in love with Mr. Darcy. I am re-reading it again a second time and cannot wait till your next novel comes out.”

“Loved the book! I am so mad; I want the next one now! I can't wait until it comes out. Of all the continuations that I have read, this BY FAR has been my favorite. I have all my girlfriends (teachers) around the lunch table running out to get a copy! It was a fun and wonderfully romantic book, and we Darcy lovers can't get enough!” from a history and English teacher

“I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease 4 years again and since have just been trying to get through life not enjoy it. I used to love to read, but no longer had any interest and hardly felt good enough anyway. Your book pulled it back into my life. I could not put it down once I picked it up. I have already read it twice. I loved how you stayed honest to the characters but at the same time took it to your style of writing. I just want to say that I loved the book and was actually disappointed when I found out the book had only been published this year because that means I have to wait that much longer for the next one. Based off the excerpt in the book, I will love it just as much as I loved this one. Thanks for the book and bringing some joy back to me!!!” from a 17 year old fan

“Awesome! Finally someone has taken on this wonderful task of 'what happens to the Darcy's after the marriage'. Thank you. The book jumped out at me while I was shopping at Target--and yes everything else I needed to shop for no longer mattered. I rushed home to read it--and stayed up until 4AM reading. I did not want to put it down.”

“I have just finished this wonderful book! I have to tell you and I absolutely.... love... love.... LOVED it!!!! I love the way you wrote it and brought out the Lizzy and Mr. Darcy I have in my head. I cried, I laughed and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.”

“Four years ago I lost my beloved husband of 36 wonderful happy years. I was 19 when we married and I was never happier than when we were in the same room, space, bed, car, tub...you get the idea. Each page of your novels made me stop and remember my ___. It made me both happy and sad. But I also smiled as I said to myself, “This is how it was for me and I got to feel all those emotions again.” THANK YOU! You see some people just don't understand true deep love. YOU DO... IN YOUR OWN LIFE AND IN YOUR WRITING and you are sharing and giving.”

“I found it to be outstanding! It was written beautifully, and it had me hooked right from the first chapter. You are a wonderful author who has truly inspired many around the world with your inspirational story about the marital life of the Darcys. I have absolutely no negative views toward your novel! It was absolutely enjoyable from start to finish. I found it very hard to come home from school to do my math work, because I so greatly wanted to read your book. I literally had to put it away where I could not see it just so I could focus properly on my homework! It truly has bewitched me!”

Can it get any better than that? I am blessed to have literally hundreds of positive messages between my forum, mail inbox, and review places to encourage me when the negativity rears. These are the people I write for. I am writing for the average lover of Austen, romance, or period dramas who appreciates a well-written story of hope, minimal angst, humor, and happiness. I thank each one of them for stepping forward to cheer me on. I thank the silent readers who hearten me by buying the book. And I thank Dominique, Deb, Danielle, and everyone else at Sourcebooks who is sticking firm in the resolve to get my novels out there so that more people can be touched.

Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy ~ Two Shall Become One is, for all intents and purposes, available now. Officially it is released on March 1, but can be found at some Targets, B&N, and online. With that date in mind, I am currently hosting a week long Launch Fete over at my website: The Darcy Saga. Daily offerings of fun and games focused on the Regency, Austen, Pride and Prejudice 2005, and my novel will culminate in a signed book giveaway. Come on over for the fun! I’ll be back here on March 2 to share the release with my Casablanca sisters and our followers with another signed book to be given away.

9 comments:

  1. Congratulations on all the great fan mail, Sharon. It's the best feeling in the world to hear from readers who were touched by our books. I still get them every week, even six months after LOS came out. You are right, the feeling is indescribable. Enjoy every minute!

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  2. I blogged last year that romance novels not only entertain, sometimes they make a difference.

    There's nothing better than a letter that tells us exactly what difference a book made. Thank you for sharing these notes with us.

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  3. Fun stuff, Sharon! Makes you feel like all the time you spent was worthwhile, doesn't it?

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  4. Wow, Sharon, what great feedback! (But you really wouldn't mind a call from Oprah, right? ;} )

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  5. What lovely letters! This really is what it's all about. Thanks for sharing!

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  6. Wow, Sharon. Fabulous fan mail. You deserve it. It makes it all worthwhile.

    Robin:)

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  7. Ohmigosh, Sharon, you are taking over from the paranormal authors. It's OUR job to bewitch!!! :) But your fan mail is terrific and I'm glad you shared it with us. Now...my recommendation is for the student who had to hide the book so she could get her homework done is make sure it's part of the curriculum! Everyone's happy! The student, the teacher, YOU! :) Need any more advice, I'm here. :) Or...off to work really!!! Super fun post and *sigh* I was going to go to the book store for your book tomorrow, but have to run my mother to the hospital again...so..Sunday for sure and then I won't be getting MY work done!!! But hey, it can be for research purposes. Have any wolves in your story???

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  8. You ladies are too terrific for words. I can't thank you enough for the continued support. We all all know how it helps.

    You are so right Marie, it is the best feeling in the world. I never tire of knowing, as MM says, that in even my meager way I am making a difference.

    And, no Judi, I guess I would not really mind that call from Oprah! Although I think I would die of fright before I ever made it on stage, so it is probably just as well if the call never comes!

    It is funny, Terry, but I left part of the girl's email out (it was very long), but she did say that originally she bought my book for a school report, thinking it was older since it was sitting next to P&P! I asked her if she was still going to use it and she said she had, but I have not heard back to know what grade she got! Still, very cool.

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  9. Sharon. congratulations on a book well received. I think that Mr. Darcy captured many a romantic sigh since Jane Austen originally wrote it. It takes a special skill to take something well read and established, and continue the story and continue it without outraged uproar at the nerve of the author. You do show how you can stay true to the characters and their world and yet put them in fresh situations. I know there are many books I read of that time period and wished there was more of their life after marriage. It’s a fun world to get lost in.

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