Happy Hour: Time Spent with Readers
This afternoon I met with teacher Colleen Roth and five delightful readers. Months ago Colleen asked when she could share Odin’s Promise with a group of students. It was only natural to invite her to use advance reading copies with her group to pilot the use of my study guide. For the past few weeks Lily, Emma, Megan, Elliot, and Ryan have been reading Odin’s Promise with Mrs. Roth, discussing the book, responding in notes and book talks, and making connections with their own lives. Colleen sent me brief updates as they went along to let me know they were enjoying it, which allowed me to uncross my fingers. (It’s hard to get any work done with fingers crossed!)
Writing is a solitary process, internal and reflective. Only later does it involve critique partners and beta readers. Eventually a manuscript makes its way to an editor’s desk. That’s a lot of people to satisfy along the way to publication.
When it comes right down to it, though, there are only two people I write for: myself and the reader.
This was the first true test of Odin’s Promise.
This afternoon I met with the group to share some background on the book and answer questions. I heard they were nervous about meeting me, but they couldn’t possibly have been as nervous as I was! It turned out nerves were unnecessary on either side, since we seemed to hit it off from the start.
Writers do have interactions with readers, but not with all readers and not often face to face. Visiting with Lily, Emma, Megan, Elliot and Ryan, hearing their interest and enthusiasm for the characters and story, is an experience I’ll never forget. They’ve given me permission to share the reviews they wrote, and I will do that here in the next few days. I’ll even post some photos of the originals with their signatures so you know I’m not making it all up!
I hope that Odin’s Promise finds many friends in schools in the years to come, but this was the first time through the doors. Being new in school can be difficult, especially when you’re from another time and place in history. Even though I’ve spent my life in schools, as a student and as teacher, this was my first trip through the doors as an author. I’m so grateful to these bright and eager school readers for the warm welcome they gave to Odin and and Mari in the last few weeks, and to me today. Then, just when I thought my grin couldn’t get any bigger, this happened:
Tusen takk fra mitt hjerte: A thousand thanks from my heart!