It wasn't Christmas or my birthday, but I got the most incredible present yesterday: a message from Ken Bruen in my CrimeSpace email telling me in lyrical terms how much he liked DEATH WILL GET YOU SOBER, which he'd just read. The first thing I said after "REALLY???" (who sez you can't screech in text?) was, "Is this a joke?"--just like the people who can't believe it's really Ed McMahon from Publishers Clearinghouse at their door with the check for $10,000,000.
After Ken reassured me, saying some more things about my book that made my heart flutter, he gave me his permission to tell the world. He even thought Daniel wouldn't slap my wrist if I posted this on the Forum rather than my own blog--what an optimist! (Don't worry, Daniel, I wouldn't dare.) I am completely bowled over by this praise from one of crime fiction's literary heroes. I think it's finally given me the confidence to believe I've written a good book.
To move from the particular to the general, what group of workers is as plagued by self-doubt as writers? Air traffic controllers and surgeons hold the power of life and death in their hands. If they felt about their ability to do their job the way writers do on any given day, they would never dare to get out of bed in the morning. When I read Ken's laudatory message to my husband, his first response was, "Now will you stop crying in the middle of the night?"
The flip side, of course, is that I am a writer. The evidence is not just the angst but also those piles of manuscript pages that miraculously become bound books with the power to make people all over the world think and laugh and cry and maybe even be inspired--whether to write their own stories or, in the case of my book, get clean and sober. Even better, I'm part of a community of writers--mystery writers, with their well deserved reputation for honesty about their struggles and generosity to their peers. Mystery or--hey, wait a minute: if Ken Bruen likes my book, I must be a crime fiction writer. My world just got a little bigger. Thank you, Ken!