Greetings, Readers! I hope the Americans among you are enjoying a wonderful holiday, and that the rest of you are blessed with delightful November weather. Everyone, I pray, is blessed with good things to eat and good people to eat them with in this turning of the year. That’s what holidays and cold snaps are for, after all. Glen and I are grateful to be luxuriating in all of the above.
Gratitude, in fact, is so beneficial for the body and the soul that I try to be mindful of my blessings every day. Some days, of course, the wheels fall off the bus and gratitude gets shoved aside. That’s life, unfortunately. But lately I’ve been feeling especially blessed and grateful. The reason is all of you.
There are masses of struggling writers working in obscurity. The number of J.K. Rowlings and Stephen Kings among us is minuscule. We don’t write because we want to be breakout stars. Truthfully, I’m not even sure that’s a desirable thing. We write because we can’t stop ourselves from writing. Once I’d written several revisions of The Space Between, I told my family I didn’t want fame and fortune, and certainly had zero expectations of either. My dream, I said—and here I pulled out a number that seemed unattainable—was to reach a couple hundred people. Strangers, who just happened to see the book and feel curious enough to read it. Never in a million years did I expect what has happened in the 14 months since the book’s publication: the paperbacks sold, the much greater number of e-books sold, the thousands of people downloading e-copies on giveaway days and the thousands of Kindle Unlimited pages read.
Sure, The Space Between doesn’t appeal to everyone. I knew that would be the case going in. It’s an intricate, quirky story, and hard to pigeonhole. But everyone who reads it is a hero to me. Even the ones who detest me for writing it and wish me in Hell.
By gosh, I have readers. I still can’t believe it.
Even more incredible? People have been asking me when Book 2, The Realm Below, will be released. Because they’re excited to read it. (It’s coming in January!)
One of them is my wonderful sister-in-law, Glen’s sister Denise. A few days ago she called me, and after we caught up on family stuff, our conversation turned to The Realm Below. Denise has the only existing copy of TRB’s first draft, taking it with her every time she’s moved for the past 7 or 8 years. Besides me, she was the first person to read it. She told me she’s been wanting to read it again in anticipation of its upcoming release (in January! Did I mention that?). When I protested, slightly horrified, she reassured me that she would wait for the real thing to come out. The problem is, Denise’s copy comes in at a bare-bones 51,000 words. The finished manuscript today is 128,000. That first draft does not even hold half of the story.
Then she said, “How’s Book 3 coming? You must have it mostly written by now.”
She was kidding. I think. The fact is, I still have work to do on TRB so that it can be properly formatted for print and e-book. When I told her I hadn’t started writing Book 3 yet, she said, “Okay, but you already know where it’s going, don’t you?”
Well, kind of, but I don’t know nearly as much as I’d like to. However, after talking to Denise, I feel much easier in my mind about it. Her belief fills me with confidence. There’s a reason that this is The Space Between’s dedication:
The Realm Below owes just as much to Denise’s years of faith and continuing encouragement as the first book does. And thanks to The Daughter’s in-depth (and persnickety) developmental edit, it’s a really good read. Katie didn’t let me slide on anything.
Neither book (Oh my gosh, I’ve written two books!) would have been possible without the aid of my wonderful editors and publicist at The Authors’ Assistant, who all helped me avoid shooting myself in the foot. Thank you, Mindy Reed, Danylle Salinas and Danielle Hartman Acee! And a big thank-you to my artist Heidi Dorey! Her marvelous covers keep drawing people in and making them want to read.
Then there’s my website designer, Sherry Scott of Resource Connection. My site needed updating to accommodate information about the new book (coming in January!). If you take a look at the updated Home page and Novels pages on susanrooke.net, you’ll see Sherry’s crisp, superbly professional work. She’s a resource, all right. Thank you, Sherry!
There’s another important step before The Realm Below’s release: advance reviews. I am hugely grateful to the terrific authors (whose names I can’t yet reveal) who soon will be reading the book. You know who you are!
I am so blessed to have all of you in my life. Readers. Believers. Keepers of the faith. Thank you all. For everything. Happy Thanksgiving!