Monday, January 02, 2012

What Do Readers Mean to an Author? EVERYTHING! by Diane Kelly





When I first began writing a decade ago, I did it for selfish reasons. My children were young then, but finally old enough to give me a few minutes to myself on occasion. Though I loved being a wife and mother (and still do), I felt as if my personal identity had been consumed by my roles as “mommy” and “wife” and “dog walker/litter box cleaner.” Writing was my escape not only into another place, but also into another identity as I lived vicariously through my heroines. At that time, becoming a published novelist seemed like a pipe dream, so giving any thought to people who might read my work would have felt presumptuous. Who was I to think someone might actually want to read the silly stories I’d written?

Over the ensuing years, I became more serious about my writing. I took creative writing classes, attended meetings and conferences hosted by writers organizations, and read virtually every book about writing and publishing that I could get my hands on. I entered dozens of writing contests, my heart breaking early on when my work scored low, but later soaring when my work began earning fairly consistent high scores. Somewhere along the line, that “pipe dream” evolved into a goal. I was bound and determined that one day my books would appear on bookstore shelves.

My debut novel came out two months ago and the time since has been an exciting whirlwind of activity - my first reviews, my first book signing, my first “guest appearance” at a book club. It’s all been so much fun! But my favorite part by far has been connecting with readers. It puts me on cloud nine when someone who has read my book tells me how much they enjoyed it. I realize now that, though I began writing for my own reasons, what will keep me writing is my readers and that wonderful feeling of connecting to other people through my stories.

What is it about a book that really makes you feel a connection to the story or the author? Is it the characters? The themes? The action? The author’s voice? A combination of these factors? Something else entirely?

Join in the conversation today and you’ll be entered not only in a drawing for a $25 Barnes & Noble e-giftcard to be given away at 9:00 pm central time tonight, but you’ll also be entered in a drawing for our grand prize of the winner’s choice of a Nook Color or Kindle Fire (or equivalent value giftcard to Barnes & Noble or Amazon). Details are on the sidebar. Be sure to email me at diane@dianekelly.com if you’ve referred a commenter or with the link to your blog, tweet, or Facebook note regarding our contest so I can make sure you receive your extra entries.

Thanks for visiting us here at Killer Fiction, and good luck in our contest!

Diane Kelly is the author of the Death & Taxes romantic mystery series. Her debut novel - Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure - is in bookstores now. Book #2 - Death, Taxes, and a Skinny No-Whip Latte - will be release on March 1st and is available for pre-order. Visit Diane and read excerpts at www.dianekelly.com

33 comments:

Elisa Beatty said...

Whoo-hoo! I got here first!

It's so fabulous, Diane, that your dream is coming true! I've got Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure waiting in my Kindle folder...I'm looking forward to it!

Absolutely, finding time in a crazy mommy life to write is critical for me. It's not EASY, but it does make me so, so happy!

krisgils33 said...

I think all authors are amazing. I could never (and don't really want to!!) write a book, but I love, love, love to read them! When an author tells about their writing process and the amount of blood, sweat, and tears that went into a book that I really love is so awe inspiring! And it makes me appreciate it all the more. :-)

Cheryl said...

Congratulations on your debut book! The two things that really connect me to a story are the author's voice and said author's ability to create characters who are real to me and in whom I make an emotional investment, caring about the outcome.

Mo said...

Congrats on your publishing success! I own your first book and I have your second on pre-order. Reading for me is way to relax after work and escape the stresses of everyday life. The interaction of the characters and, through that, the author’s voice is the draw for me. I love to travel places and meet fun people from the comfort of my rocking chair.

Cynthia Justlin said...

Diane, it's so great to see readers connecting with your book! What a great milestone!

Characters top the list of what draw me to a book. They have to be compelling. But, I also think an author's voice and the way they make those characters come alive is key. Compelling characters can only go so far.

Kathy Ivan said...

I've watched Diane grow as a writer over the years, seen the highs and lows, and it's been a joy and a pleasure to get to read her work. Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure is really a hoot!

Congratlations on perservering and achieving your goals, Diane.

Thomas / Richard Morgan said...

For me, the bond between author and reader is best exemplified by author Dean Koontz. Not only does the man post his address in every book, but he has responded to every letter I've ever written him -- and he's one of the wittiest letter writers I've ever encountered. It's always a joy when you can tell that a writer truly loves the readers.

petite said...

Congratulations and best wishes on having your dream come true and being happy and successful. A writer deserves accolades for putting so much time, effort and strength into what they believe. I read to escape and books provide me with wonderful characters, plots and depth. Many thanks.

traveler said...

I envy your talent and ability. A reader gets to enjoy all your writing and the memorable stories are treasured. Congratulations on your wonderful success and lifetime wish.

Kristi said...

I think it's both a combination of the author and the characters. If the author can't write a good character then it's not going to bring me into the story.

To me there's nothing better than a book that makes me fall in love the people in it.

Kristi

Lindsey Brookes said...

Congrats on having your dream of being published come true! Love yours pics on this blog, too!

Pamela said...

What hooks me is a combo of things - the theme, the author's voice, a well done story. I have your series on my to be read list - your theme intrigues me, especially since my mom had been in the tax prep business for over 10 years. Yeah, I know, not even close, but the taxes part made me stop and read the synposis. ;)

catslady said...

I truly enjoyed your first book and am looking forward to your second. It's wonderful when perserverance pays off! I think the author's voice is the most important because it's you the author who is doing it all. If I enjoy the characters, you can take me anywhere.

Virginia said...

Congrats on your debut book. I love reading new authors work and I will be looking for this book. Authors amaze me. They know how to take you to a different time and place and help you escape the real world. What connects me to a book is everything you mentioned combined, the characters the authors voice all of it is what makes a great book. Thanks for sharing your book with us today.

Sarah S. said...

It's definitely a combo of factors that hooks me on an author/series. Plus I have to be in the right frame of mind when I start reading a series if I will continue. Also I definitely think a book and an author is a success if after reading a book I keep wondering how those characters are faring after the end of the story. Congratulations and I can't wait for your next book.

Julie said...

Looking forward to some fantastic reads!

Barbara E. said...

I loved the post, and I'd like to congratulate you on the realization of your dream. I think it's a combination, but especially the characters. When I can think of these people as someone I might know or have run across, or even someone in my life, it makes the story come alive for me.

CrystalGB said...

Congratulations on your dream of being published coming true. For me it is a combination of all the factors that mentioned that makes me feel a connection to the story.
Crystal816[at]hotmail[dot]com

Rebekah E. said...

Congrats on your book. I think it is the author's voice and characters that really draw me into a book. I love when and author can paint a picture with their words so well that you can see it in your head.

Jana DeLeon said...

The first book is always different than all the rest. :)

Happy New Year, Diane, and may many more books follow this one!

Cynthia D'Alba said...

I absolutely HAVE to connect with the characters. I have to actually LIKE the characters. I've got quite a list of DNF because I didn't like, and thus didn't care, about the characters.

It's not the setting. It's not even the genre as I'll read contemporary, historical, paranormal, RS, cozy mystery...anything.

Sometimes it's not even the story as I've stayed with series that I thought the story might be weak, but I really like the characters.

So it's first and foremost...characters!

ps. Miss seeing and hearing from you as much as I got to last year!

Annie said...

I too had issues with naming my daughter. We settled on Medea Jean. Medea pronounced Mah dee ah

Annie said...

A writer becomes a secret pal that opens a door or window within my mind. Thank you for all my new friends.

Na said...

The best stories are those that I can connect with the characters. They are the ones that stay with me even when a story has ended. I love discovering those kind of stories and I hope authors never stop writing :) Congratulations on realizing your dream.

Cambonified(at)yahoo(dot)com

Jane said...

I do think it's a combination of all those factors. The characters are definitely the most important to me and I expect that connection to them to be the strongest. The author's voice is something that either works for you or not and you get to become a fan of certain authors because of that.

Dru said...

I'm so glad your dream is coming true. I love the first book and I can't wait to read the next book in this series.

Refhater said...

Congrats on reaching your goal! And Happy New Year to your and your family.

As for your question, I'd have to say "The Characters." I use reading as an escape from my normal hectic day to day life. If I can connect with the characters it's like I'm there with them in the story for those few moments. Far away from my full time job, family drama, child care, and bills that are past due.

Lynn Spratley said...

I enjoyed your blog entry! It's fun (?) to read about how an author came into being. The trials and tribulations aren't so great, but seeing the perseverance and the payoff is inspiring.
I most connect to authors when their characters catch my imagination. And I don't have a lot of patience, so those characters better start breathing pretty quickly! I can't wait to read your debut novel.

Theresa N. said...

To me it's a combination of everything, but the author's voice is the most important thing.
Theresa N
weceno(at)yahoo(dot)com

Cricket said...

I think it's the total package - all of it combines to draw me in and make me forget that the story I'm reading isn't my real life at all.

Congratulations on your debut! :)

Diane Kelly said...

Thanks so much to everyone who stopped by today! It was a lot of fun reading the comments!

The winner is Annie! Annie, please email me at diane@dianekelly.com so that I can send your e-giftcard to you. Congratulations!

Michele L. said...

Wow! Awesome contest! I am always amazed how the author transports me to another world where my worries are lifted and I don't have a care in the world. That is the test for me when an author truly is able to lose the reader in the story.

Many kudos on your book! That is amazing! Happy New Year!

Stacie said...

I identify with flawed characters. They seem more human to me. I don't want to read a romance about perfect people with perfect lives. Real life doesn't work that way. I am more empathetic with flawed characters. If the characters draw me in then I will love the story.

geishasmom73 AT yahoo DOT com