In the nearly 20 years I have been writing full time, I have received some fascinating letters and emails in regards to my novels. Two stand out particularly.
I haven’t asked permission of the letter writers – in at least one case, it was so long ago that my contact information is no longer valid. So these two examples are essentially paraphrased with names and other personal information excised.
The first was from a woman who had met me on a plane during a major book tour for The Secrets of Jin-shei, a novel which involves a sisterhood. She speaks poignantly about how my book made her reflect on her own experiences.
An then she added:
You sat in front of me and eventually, like people who travel, often do, we began to talk. You said you were an author and showed me the cover of the book you had published. You were on your way to a book signing.
Though you did talk to me for most of the trip and even gave me your card, it was the cover of your book that, strangely, remained in my mind. So, that when I went to the library and saw that cover amongst the other books, I remembered it. I didn’t remember you had written it; I remembered the cover…I found your picture on the back and it all fell into place.
So, I started reading the book and that’s when the sadness came. Here in my hands was a book about sisterhood, a mirror reflecting the deep friendships I’ve had with several women, including the teenager I made my mother take into our home as my foster sister… your book helped me remember….and understand that.
The rest is far too personal for me to quote here without her permission. But I was greatly touched by her letter.
The second also involves The Secrets of Jin-shei. It was much shorter and rather… unusual.
I have never read any of your books, and up to today had not heard of them. However, last night I had a dream that clearly showed me the name “Jin-shei”.
After researching the name on the internet, all I could find related to it was your book. Could you possibly share with me the actual historical significance of this name? Does it have an English translation? Is it merely a name you created?…Your book sounds interesting…
I hope he did read it and did find it interesting. After all, his own dream had led him there.