Just got home from the annual
ACFW conference—had a spectacular time—and enjoyed meeting a legend of Christian
Fiction, Frank Peretti. Frank was warm, funny, humble, and utterly approachable.
A friend asked if I was nervous when I talked to him. I said I wasn't.
Five years ago? Yes, significant anxiety would have pinged through my stomach. Not so much these days. Here's what changed:
At twelve years old I had two dreams: Play in the NFL and be an author.
To me, athletes and authors were gods. Some floated higher than others, but none touched the ground like we humans. So in the mid-nineties, when a friend of mine said he had gotten to know a number of well-known authors, I was astounded.
“How did you do it?”
“I wrote to them. They wrote back. Some of them became friends and ended up staying at my house when they came to town.”
I replied with a witty comment along the lines of, “Oh wow, uh … wow, that’s so cool.”
I couldn’t imagine doing what he'd done. Never considered writing to one of my favorite authors. Didn’t think they’d ever respond and didn’t think they’d care what their writing had done for me.
I thought all authors were either having coffee with other authors, or tucked away in their attic writing rooms contemplating great spiritual truths and composing pithy prose—on a plane far too high to stoop down and consort with mortals.
Then my first novel was published and I had a bit of success. I started getting e-mails. Nervous readers began introducing themselves. I published a few more books. More readers wanted to shake my hand, more e-mails filled my in-box.
(I thought it was a bit ludicrous. Me? Really? My wife didn’t think it ludicrous. She used the word comical.)
Then I started meeting many of my writing heroes and became close friends with a few of them. In a flash of not so blinding insight, I realized my new friends were humans just like me, with doubts, fears, dreams, sorrows, and joys.
Put another way, all the authors I know love hearing from (and meeting) readers. One of the reasons we write is to make an impact on our readers. Entertain them. Provoke them. Make them smile, cry, think deep, see life in a different way, see them restored, get a dash of hope, be set free …
When readers tell us we’ve done one of those things? It’s life!
Talk to me. Have you ever hesitated to e-mail a favorite author or introduce yourself in person? What held you back? If you didn’t hesitate, have you been surprised at how human most authors are?
If you’re a published author, what has it been like getting e-mails from readers and meeting readers in person?
James L. Rubart is the best-selling and Christy award winning author of ROOMS, BOOK OF DAYS, THE CHAIR, SOUL’S GATE, and MEMORY’S DOOR. During the day he runs Barefoot Marketing which helps businesses and authors make more coin of the realm. In his free time he dirt bikes, hikes, golfs, takes photos, and occasionally does sleight of hand. No, he doesn’t sleep much. He lives with his amazing wife and two sons in the Pacific Northwest and still thinks he’s young enough to water ski like a madman. More at http://jameslrubart.com/