By Laura Bradford
If you could mount a camera inside just about any writer during the single digit days leading up to their latest release, I would imagine you'd see a real push/pull in terms of emotion--excitement that their latest creation is almost in the hands of readers, and worry that their latest creation is almost in the hands of readers.
For months, we sit at a keyboard creating and interacting with characters who become real to us. Their lives twist, we twist with them. They suffer a loss, we feel it along with them. And then there's the world in which they live, a world that becomes as real to us as the actual room we're sitting in as we write. Eventually, we reach the end and we ship our creation off to be critiqued by our editor, hoping they like what we've done and sighing with relief when they do.
For some writers, that's the end of the journey. They write to write. For others (like myself), we write for our readers. We want them to like the twist we made, we want them to cheer a particular character's triumph or mourn the loss of another. Because (like us) they care about this world and these people we've written into being.
And then the reviews come in...
The good ones make us smile, but the bad ones cut to the core. It is, in some ways, like sending your child off to school only to find out they didn't fit in. You hurt for them. You hurt for yourself.
Everything about this book is special to me. The disease it portrays (I have M.S., too), the lessons the character learns (lessons we all should learn regardless of what may ail us), and the person I dedicated the book to--my own personal hero during a tough time in my own life.
I know the criticism will come. It always does. But I'm hoping that they are few and far between (a hope all writers share, I'm sure).
So on Tuesday, I'll be trying to go about my day like any other day--working on my latest creation. But I'll be crossing my fingers, too. Hoping that readers, who take the chance on STORYBOOK DAD, love the story as much as I do and that maybe, just maybe, it makes a difference to someone at just the right time.
**You can find STORYBOOK DAD wherever the Harlequin American line is sold (Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Target, all online venues, etc). The book goes on sale October 12th and is only available in stores for a month.