Wednesday, 14 January 2015
Close Reader Encounters!
Here is a picture of me at a book signing for The Housemaid's Daughter, but lately the world of facebook, blogs and online book clubs like Goodreads is bringing farflung author and reader into close proximity - digitally - despite the physical distance between us.
I have had numerous online conversations with readers from all over the world.
And what do they say?
Very often, they want to tell me they've enjoyed the book, or wish to share an anecdote that mirrors an incident I've described. But the most insistent communications come from those who want to find out what happened, or will happen in life-beyond-the-book, to a particular character - especially when I have chosen leave his/her fate to the reader's imagination.
Ada's daughter, Dawn, leads a short, brilliant life before she dies of an unspecified disease. Many readers have contacted me, desperate to know if their suspicions about her life and untimely death are correct. Likewise with Phil, who is Ada's best friend and the young son of Cathleen and Edward Harrington. What really happened to him, they want to know, when he leaned out of the window of Cradock House to watch Ada hanging washing on the line...
Even Ada wonders...
Why did God take Phil so soon? When there was such a long world ahead of him? And why had he not called out to me in the garden below?
While I'm happy to share many aspects of the book's background, some things need to be kept a secret! After all, if there was no mystery, a character would be too easy to understand. And it would take away that delicious uncertainty, that frisson that keeps us all awake at night...
Did he really do such-and-such?