“I don’t know how you do it. The book is already great and it’s only the beginning,” the email said. Suddenly, my brain kicked over and started to hum.
I imagine that there are authors who hold their just-launched book in their hands and feel nothing but elation. Sadly, I am not one of those.
Oh, don’t get me wrong—I’m delighted by the look and feel of my latest novel, Well In Time, that launched in mid-January. I love the subject matter and have fond memories of writing this book and of the hours of research and travel that it entailed. I think it’s a fun, exciting and thought-provoking read and I’m delighted to share it with my readers.
However, until I get some feel for how readers are responding to it, I’m in a state of suspended animation. At least my brain is. I walk around looking like a regular human being, but my head is blank. People talk to me and I guess I actually respond. Later, however, I remember nothing.
The other day, for example, I had to ask my husband,”What is the name of those plants I grow in pots on the porch, that bloom all summer?” He shot me a leery look and asked cautiously, “You mean—geraniums?” Ah yes! That was the word that was currently evading my witlessness.
So it was with vast relief that I received emails from the first readers of Well In Time, who apparently started galloping through the book from the moment the postman delivered it. The reviews are excellent! I took my first deep breath in weeks.
One person wrote, “Well in Time arrived this afternoon. I grabbed an afghan and the cat and headed for the couch. You surely know how to draw the reader in! In my reading, Calypso and Hill have just made it through the mountain. I love the ‘rebirth’ of Hill. The whole action is incredible. It doesn’t stop! I want to get back to the book but wanted to say THANK YOU for this pleasure.”
“I devoured it, and then I walked around in a haze for a couple of days, as one does after really entering the world of a book. You have (among other things) an incredible ability to create a sense of place. I hope someday you will write a novel that is all set in France. The details you choose to describe speak to my deep hunger to be there. Although the plot was finished, I didn’t want to let Calypso’s new home go,” another email said.
“You create characters that I can’t ignore,” someone else wrote. “And settings that I feel I can move around in. I am totally hooked on this book, and I’m not even a hundred pages into it. Just had to let you know.”
“I feel abandoned!” another reader wrote. “I had become so entwined in the lives of your characters, when the pages ran out, I felt as though their lives had left me behind. Now I believe I’ve come to my senses enough to congratulate you on what I consider to be an achievement of opalescent beauty. You are a phenomenal story stirrer. Aside from picking up embers of FIESTA OF SMOKE and tucking them beneath the WELL IN TIME, kindling new fire and brewing up another soup of enlightenment, you have expanded and deepened a new constellation of stories in such a way as to have elicited the sensation of astral travel in me. I was eagerly flying all over the globe and back and forth in Time. What a trip. And, educational, too. Also, romantically enthralling as I was made to cry for Calypso and Javier and their necessary separations, and unexpected reunions. Not to forget Hill, and all the other pivotal beings ancient to now.”
The spell is broken. I’m a thinking, breathing, emoting human being again. And Well In Time is launched, out there in the world making its way on its own, and doing it quite nicely, without any worry on my part, at all. I think I’ll go out and water the…ah…geraniums.
Suzan Still is the author of several works, including the newly released Well in Time.