A couple of months ago I was helping the librarian at my child’s school when a seventh grade girl rushed up.
“Please help me find a book,” she said. “I have to read it!”
Delighted at her enthusiasm, I asked the name of the book.
“Send Me A Sign,” she said. “I don’t remember the author.”
“Tiffany Schmidt,” I said. “She’s a really great person.”
“You know her? Wow!”
While we located the book she told me that all the other girls in seventh grade had read Send Me A Sign and said it was great. After we found it she was so excited she hugged the book.
I think a lot about writing. Quite possibly I only think about my children
more. Character, plot, sub plot, storyboarding, all of it including my old enemy, grammar. But what about the end product, the book itself? What about this great clump of words makes someone so excited they hug it and spend hours reading it?
What do we, as writers, give back? Do we make stories that resonate with people? Show them new worlds? Show them that other people understand what they are going through? Annoy them until they hurl the book across the room?
We give them all that and more.
One Saturday at the end of February I took my older child to the release party for Tiffany Schmidt’s latest book Bright Before Sunrise. I left our younger child at home with a baby sitter. The baby sitter was interested to hear that we were going to a release party and mentioned how much she loves to read.
We discussed books for a while. At the release party, on impulse, I bought her a copy of the book and Tiffany kindly signed it.
I saw the babysitter’s mother Monday. To my surprise, she gave me a thank you note from her daughter. Apparently her daughter had read the entire book the day before, handed it to a friend to read and was searching for other books written by Tiffany. Again I saw the ripples, saw how a book affected a life so strongly.
That’s what really matters.