Of course those of us who write for publication want the prize–to know that others will read our words and–possibly–will find meaning in them. We may never be famous, in fact it’s unlikely most of us will be, at least outside our own area. It’s also highly unlikely we’ll make much money. But occasionally a reader will speak up on line or in person with words of appreciation and praise, and that makes all the difference. We have reached out and connected with one, two, a dozen, a hundred, maybe even a thousand readers or more.
What fun. Here’s an email from someone who lives in New Jersey, and another from South Carolina. Look! Kentucky, Texas, Arizona, Oregon. Oh, my gosh, here’s an email from Australia. Really? I have a reader there? How did that . . . ? Oh, well, never mind . . . Australia?
When I first read about the Readers’ Map of Arkansas in a newsletter from Nightbird Books in Fayetteville, Arkansas, I wasn’t quite sure I understood what it was. Then I learned the map was for sale at Nightbird, and saw a tiny picture of it. Names completely covered an outline map of the state–what a terrific idea. I have long felt Arkansas produces more than its share of rightly famous authors. And, of course, no matter how favorably mystery readers familiar with my series may view my novels (even someone from Australia) Radine wouldn’t be on the map with Maya Angelou, John Grisham, Charlaine Harris, Dee Brown, Helen Gurley Brown, Eldridge Cleaver . . . more, and more, and of course the Porter and Pulitzer Prize winners. I thought of so many names I would recognize and praise. Then I forgot about the map and went on with current writing projects in my office.
Until I got another newsletter about the map from Nightbird, and my husband was curious enough to search until he found a list of authors. “You’re here,” he said.
I left my office and walked down the hall to his. Seeing is believing. (I’m sure you already knew what was coming.)
I am still stunned, but of course I bought a map. It’s stuck on the back of the closet door in my office.
I was proud enough to highlight my name.