Being an author of mystery novels can be lonesome, stressful, aggravating, and plain hard work. But the benefits FAR outweigh the negatives, and one of the best parts of this life is interacting with our readers. So today, we’re talking about our favorite fan moments we’ve had over the years.
I am beyond thrilled and grateful when readers just come up and say “Hi, I think I know you!” I especially love it when they talk about my characters as if they’re real people. (Maybe they are?) Especially Dorothy’s nemesis, Gladys Rumway, and the ever-precocious Juliette-Margot. I get lots of spin-off story suggestions for both of them, and much sympathy for my sleuth Dorothy who has to deal with that loudmouth Gladys.
My favorite moments are when I get an email or message saying my books brought a bright spot to someone’s difficult days. A couple of years ago, I got this message from a reader: “I am 76 years old and my husband is 77. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 4 years ago and I am his caregiver. Little by little he is ‘leaving me’ after 55+ years of marriage. My cozy mystery books are my ‘escape’ every night. I try to read for an hour each night before turning off the light and going to sleep. Thank you for writing wonderful books I had trouble putting away and going to sleep.” This message moved me so much I turned it into a graphic I titled, “Why I Write.”
And meeting the readers and bloggers at conferences! What a fabulous experience. I love the Author-Reader Connections at Left Coast Crime. I’ve become friends with readers I met through these events. In fact, I needlepoint every chance I get with reader Ruth Behling on the Saturdays she works at Needlehearts, a nearby shop. I’m a fan of all of YOU, readers, reviewers, and bloggers!
I love, LOVE interacting with my readers, so any chance I get to do so is a favorite time for me. But if I had to choose my most favorite of the favorites, it would have to be at Malice Domestic back in 2016, when the first book in my Sally Solari series, Dying for a Taste, had just been published. There I was, having just sat on my very first ever panel, now sitting at my very first ever book signing table, and lo and behold, someone actually came up to me with a copy of my book they’d just purchased, and ASKED ME TO SIGN IT! Wow. What a fabulous feeling.
And to make it an even better story, I do believe that first purchaser/asker-for-a-signature was none other than our pal and wonderful blogger/reviewer, Mark Baker! (Two days later, Mark and I ended up in the same Metro car on our way to the airport and got to further chat–another lovely author-reader moment.)
There aren’t enough exclamation points to express the excitement and gratitude I feel when I hear from a reader. There have been some lovely moments, but my favorite is when a reader sent me a book bag embroidered with my name, as well as that of the series. It was so incredibly kind, and that book bag has gone on many on adventure with me (just like the books within).
Every gushing email I get from a reader makes me positively gooey—the ones that say my books helped them get through the darkest times in their lives, or just that I gave them a giggle, or that they want to hang out with my characters, or that my ending surprised them. But my very favorite note from a reader was an actual letter written by an actual kid (I know this because he handed it directly to me) after he’d read my very first book published, a middle grade historical fiction. “I didn’t like to read until I read your book.” If I did nothing else in my career, I could happily point to that as one of my proudest achievements.
Cozy mystery readers are the best! Tammy B. made a special drink recipe (“Mimi Lee Fluffs Up A Clue”) for my Sassy Cat series. Risa R. asked me to sign several iPad covers over the years. And guess what? She actually frames them and puts them on her wall. At Malice Domestic last year, I met up with Angela Maria Hart of the Cozy Mystery Book Club. She interviewed me with her amazing recording equipment, complimented my work, and offered me a thoughtful gift bag. Thank you, fans, for showering us with love and making us feel like movie stars!
Readers, drop us a note in the comments below!