Sunday, April 4, 2010
I am one of the lucky ones. I have a career that spans twenty-five years, and I’m still going strong. A quarter of a century! I can hardly believe it. Besides love of writing, the thing that stands out to me most is love of my fans.
In the early days of my career, I was so caught up in the whirlwind of book signings, lectures, conferences and deadlines that I saw my fans as a sea of smiling faces. Those were such heady times that often I could barely remember my own name, let alone those of my fans.
Then a wonderful thing happened. You started writing letters and sending cake recipes. You told me about your favorite characters and your children and your dogs. You told me about your dreams, your weddings, the births of your children and grandchildren. You took the time to share your lives with me.
Not only have I been blessed by getting to be privy to your lives, but you’ve blessed me with your generosity. You sent cards on my birthday. You compared my writing to the lyric beauty of Pat Conroy. PAT CONROY! One of my all time favorite authors! After I started writing the mystery series featuring an intrepid Elvis hound, you made a birthday cake for me in Wetumpka, Alabama – in the shape of a hound dog! You made an Elvis jungle room cake for a book party in Pensacola, Florida. You invited me to the Delta, and sent me a CD of yourself singing beautiful contemporary gospel songs. You invited me to a book party in Linn, Missouri, and every one of you dressed as one of my characters. You came to my house with soup and sympathy when I had bronchitis. You sent me a frantic email because you’d heard I was dead, and you begged me to say it wasn’t so.
Over the years, you became more than fans; you became friends.
There have been other beautiful, unexpected friendships, too – with fellow authors, booksellers, librarians, agents, editors. But today I’m not blogging about the other friendships that have grown out of my career. I’m blogging about my dear fans.
In the eighties, fan letters were sent to my publisher, who forwarded them to me. One of the most beautiful came from a woman in Brooklyn who had a special needs son. She’d just finished reading Touched By Angels, my simple little love story about a woman with her own special needs child, and the man who becomes hero to both. The mother in Brooklyn wrote that my book gave her hope. I cried when I read her letter. I cry when I think of it still.
Today email has made the world small. I get mail from fans in Italy and Germany and Africa. How wonderful! Still, I love getting the occasional letter delivered by parcel post. Yesterday a fan wrote to thank me for the “endless hours of entertainment,” I’d given to him and “countless readers.”
It’s my turn to say, thank you. Thank you for your loyalty and the endless pleasure your friendship has given me.
You can visit Peggy at http://www.peggywebb.com/