It’s All About Readers

When I wrote the first one in my series ‘Why I Write’ back in January, I talked about readers.

Here’s some of what I said:

I also mention ‘readers eager for more’ and this is getting closer to what drives me on. It’s wonderful when readers get in touch to say how much they’ve enjoyed a book. Before ‘The Piano Player’s Son’ came out, I had a number of readers, who’d read ‘Unravelling’ contact me to ask when the next book was due and they couldn’t wait to read it. And it’s incredibly rewarding when I visit book groups and listen to their discussions – sometimes heated – about this or that character and their actions.

And my reason for mentioning that now is that last night I went to a book group who had just read ‘The Piano Player’s Son’ – and what a lovely evening it was! I struggled to find the venue and was very late, but everyone was very friendly and welcoming when I arrived. How nice to be greeted by smiling faces, wine and candles. And the best thing? We had a great discussion on the book.

Everyone had read and enjoyed it(!), and we talked about the different characters, their lives and conflicts, what motivates them, why they are the way they are. I found the various responses fascinating, and it was good to be with a group of people who talked about Eva, Rick, Isabel, George as if they were real people! It was Eva and Rick, the less sympathetic characters, who generated most comment.

I also loved the fact that so many of the group commented on the settings in the novel, particularly Ischia and Rick’s house in Rothbury in Northumberland. Both those places mean a lot to me, and I was pleased I’d managed to make the settings come alive for others.

Another interesting aspect for me was the reminder that every reader brings their own experiences and emotions to a book. A novel and its characters are born in the mind of the writer, but they only truly ‘live’ in the reader’s.

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