Ellen here, and I am so happy to welcome back my dear friend, the wonderful author Annette Dashofy. Annette’s post today both inspired and moved me to tears. I’m sure you’ll have the same reaction to it…
Why We Write
Every so often, the question comes up: Why do we write? The answer varies from one author to another. Writing is an outlet for the voices inside our heads. The alternative might be a padded room for some of us! We’re natural-born storytellers and need to get the tales onto the page. For others, we simply can’t not write.
One thing’s for certain. For 99.99% of us, it’s not for the money! Even if you’re one of the lucky few who earns more than you spend and can even pay a few bills with your royalty checks, you still need to love writing to keep doing it.
For me, all that is true. But years ago I also discovered a deeper reason.
Back in the late spring of 2015, I’d just come off the high of being nominated for the Agatha Award for Best Debut Novel followed by the letdown of not winning. Yes, it’s absolutely true that the nomination is a huge honor, but I will be candid here. I was bummed. At the time, I figured I’d never get another shot at a nomination. I allowed myself to privately wallow in my own self pity for a while.
I was in the midst of licking my wounds when I received an email from a woman I didn’t know but who lived only 20 or so miles away. She’d purchased Circle of Influence (that Agatha nominated debut) as a Mother’s Day gift for her mom to read while undergoing chemo treatments. The daughter wanted to thank me for writing the book because it helped distract her mom during those treatments.
I broke down and wept. Then I wrote back and asked where and when her mom was having her next chemo. I went to the hospital and tracked them down.
I was simply a local author with a single title out, but they treated me like a rock star. I posed for a photo with the mother. I signed her book. I sat and chatted with both her and her daughter.
And in that moment, I didn’t need an award. That day was my award.
A few months later, the daughter wrote me again. Her mom had passed away, but they’d never forgotten my visit.
A few years later, I learned the daughter too had died.
I still cry when I think of them, but I smile too. Those two special women gave me the gift of knowing the true reason I write.
I write for my readers.
(P.S. I’ve since been nominated four more times for Best Contemporary Novel, and it truly is an honor.)
Fellow writers, have you ever had a reader reach out to you with a touching story about how your book affected them? And dear readers, do you have any go-to books or authors who help get you through the bad days?
ABOUT FATAL REUNION: As Monongahela County’s new coroner Zoe Chambers-Adams gears up for a third day searching for a missing woman, she receives the news she’s been dreading: a body has been found. What she discovers at the scene leaves no doubt—the missing woman was violently murdered. Worse, the manner of death mirrors the Monongahela Strangler case that terrorized the county when Zoe was in high school. Those murders stopped, but the case was never satisfactorily solved. And with people arriving in town for Zoe’s twentieth high school reunion, the memories of those scary days return with a vengeance.
But Zoe’s new husband, Vance Township Police Chief Pete Adams, sees the murder differently. His investigation reveals two feuding families and a forbidden relationship between their children. The homicide appears to be a crime of passion, until Pete’s relentless digging unearths a link between his prime suspect and Zoe’s serial-killer. Suddenly, with the predator threatening to strike someone near and dear to both Zoe and Pete, they must race to uncover the truth and catch a madman before another innocent victim is brutally murdered.
BIO: Annette Dashofy is the USA Today best-selling author of twelve novels including the Zoe Chambers mystery series about a paramedic turned county coroner in rural Pennsylvania’s tight-knit Vance Township. The eleventh book in the series, Fatal Reunion, is available now in digital and is coming soon in paperback. Annette and her husband live on ten acres of what was her grandfather’s dairy farm in Washington County, PA, with their very spoiled cat, Kensi.