On Fans and Motivation
Writing a book is pretty sucky work. Writing seven of them is exponentially sucky. You don’t get to just give up mid-stream, as you’ve lured in some readers who want to know what happens next. But it turns out, at least for me, that the single biggest motivating factor for me in sitting my butt down in my chair and finishing my writing is having fans tell me what they think of the books they’ve read so far. Frankly, it’s a little addictive.
With Madrona Heroes, I’ve created a whole universe. But that universe resides in only two places at the beginning – on the pages, and in my head. And apparently, I’d like to be able to discuss events happening there with people other than myself or my characters. That’s where fans come in. And it doesn’t take that many for me to get pretty motivated.
There’s a family on the east coast who picked up my books while they were visiting Seattle. Mom, Dad, and two kids – a girl and a boy. Dad reads the books to the family on car trips and the like. But even better, Dad sends me feedback on what the parents and their kids are thinking all the way through. It’s fascinating! They have theories, all great whether they’re accurate or not, about why something happened, or what’s gonna happen. And my favorite is when they find little connections that I never intended to be there.
I work hard to have depth in the backstories of each person, place, and object in the Madrona Heroes universe. And they’ve even figured out some of the backstory that really is not even hinted at in the book. It just exists so I can create something that feels deep and textured and real. But they notice everything. So very cool.
The son in the family even made some awesome Madrona Heroes fan art of Zach and Binny. I’m posting it here with deep appreciation for the effort that went into it.
Anyway, for all you budding writers. You don’t need huge numbers of fans tweeting to you all day to get motivated, sometimes a family from New England sending you the occasional e-mail, and awesome fan art is all it takes. Thank you.