As cool as it is being an author signing books and meeting readers, it's just as cool to meet all those great authors I fan over. Heck, I now have a print copy of Bend signed and the book was banned by Amazon even though it made USA today Bestseller list in 3 days.
I don't think my husband was thrilled I came home with more books, even though I pretty much sold out and didn't have to bring home my OWN books. You see, I've been collecting romance novels since the 70s. My collection is huge and filled with the greats~Jackie Collins, Kathleen Woodiwiss, Laura London, even a lot of Harlequin romance~past and present. Underneath it all I'm just a fan girl who sometimes writes.
Last week I got a whole bunch of reader mail, and a couple of them stood out to me. One said: "I love your books. They are not like other romance novels. Everything I read seems like it's the same story, same characters with only the names changed over and over again. I never know what's going to happen in one of your books and I love that about you."
Then there was one from the unhappy with Susan crowd: "Have you ever read a romance novel? Do you even know what they are? This is not romance. There was no happy. No HEA. I hate your characters, I hate your story. I hate you." Well, that woke me up and was a little harsh, but the farther I go down this publishing road I have come to accept a simple truth. I will always have extreme reactions my readers. That's one thing I've learned from my reviews and my mail. I tell a story to make you feel, it's a risky proposition every time I hit release, because I am sharing something this granny has learned on her very long journey through life about love and about the beauty of our imperfection.
While I love the greats of romance--I cried when my husband moved them to the pretty shelves he built in the garage(dang it, they deserve to always be in the house)--I don't want to even try to create work like them. They are the greats, the pioneers of their romance style. I want to be the pioneer of my own way of sharing love, and it's enough that I get on a shelf here and there in someone's house, that people come to get books signed by me even though I've never made list on USA Today, NYT or the Wallstreet Journal, and the possibility that I may end up in a reader's forever collection, not because I write a story the way everyone else does, but because I write a story the way I do.
You get one trip through life. Believe me it's freaking short. I will forever be the girl~scratch that, I should probably say granny~from the beach doing all things my way.
As ever I wish you Peace.