One of the secret delights of being the author of three standalone fantasy novels that differ in their protagonist, their emotional tenor, and their pacing is that a lot of readers will tell me which one they prefer. And (astonishingly), readers’ preferences seem to be pretty evenly divided among the three books. It makes me SO happy that each of my books is finding its right readers. But it also teaches me something about how writing relates to reading – something about how little control I have over my readers’ experience of reading. Every time a book is read by someone new, it becomes a different and unique book. One of the awesome things about being an author is watching my books become things I never expected or intended! That’s the power of a book. Books are more powerful than writers or readers. Maybe books are as powerful as writers and readers combined?
I bring this up because Jane, Unlimited is a book that contains five different stories in five different genres – or, we could say it contains five different stories in five different worlds. Mystery; spy; horror; sci-fi; fantasy. It’s early days, so I haven’t heard from a lot of readers yet. But early readers are telling me what they think – and as of a few days ago, each story has now been chosen as someone’s preferred story of the five.
As an author anxious to know how her new book is being received, this is comforting, but it’s also simply fascinating. It makes me think differently about the way we “judge” books; it reminds me how subjective it all is. It gives me permission to keep trying to write the best books I can, and write them my way. It releases me from the responsibility of imagining I’m somehow in control. It helps me let go. It reminds me again of the magic that happens when a reader touches a book.
Most of all, it makes me grateful. Thank you, dear readers, for opening my books and letting them have a try at your hearts and brains. I make no assumptions about how they’ll be received. It’s a gift regardless.
A reminder that my book tour for Jane, Unlimited starts Tuesday. Please note that folks in Rhinebeck, NY will have a special treat — I’ll be in conversation with my amazing editor, Kathy Dawson. If you’re near Cambridge, MA; Rhinebeck, NY; Nashville, TN; Fairfax, VA; Raleigh, NC; Asheville, NC; San Diego, CA; Oakland, CA; Haverford, PA; and Plainville, MA — or if you want to see authors Tui Sutherland, Stephanie Perkins, Aditi Khorana, or Kiersten White :o) — see my events page for more details.
Hope to see you there!