I have something a little different for my blog post today, something that caught me off-guard at 4am on a chilly Monday morning. In a way, I’m still processing it slowly, my mind has been a blur for the past two days, mainly because of the emotional heft behind a personal, heart-felt email I received from a reader. I’m not one to share my emotions often – after all, a horror author’s mind works slightly differently – but it felt right to do so here.
Before I continue, some context.
Several weeks ago, I offered to send my books (Charlotte, All or Nothing, The Customer Is Always… and Whispers – Volume 1: A Collection) to an avid reader. The reason? She loved two of them, dropped me two kind reviews, and aims to get around to the others at some point. She has supported my work for some time. The person in question – who will remain anonymous during this post – is very busy, but an avid reader, a massive horror fan, one who truly treasures their reading time.
During multiple discussions, I’ve discovered a life rife with tragedy and rippled with torment, including a troubled childhood. Since a young age, she has found solace in her books and because of my writing, I have been fortunate enough to connect with this woman, been lucky enough to share book recommendations and literature discussion.
She has a massive passion for horror so, to this end, I have no problem sending free, signed books to people who respect the genre, people who qualify horror reading as a hobby.
Anyway, fast forward several weeks – to Monday morning – and I received an email from this person. I sat down, I read it, I nearly cried. Yes, me, tears nearly fell from my cold, dead, horror-scribing eyes. I have no shame in admitting this. After composing myself, I replied slowly, taking it in, a little unsure of what to say, speechless in some instances. The reader had taken the time to email me about a poignant moment in her life and make me aware of how my writing has affected her, for the positive good.
The power of the written word can affect people in different ways. For this reason, she was more than happy for me to blog about this email, to share her heart-felt communication, one that will remain with me forever. As you are about to read, it provided an elderly man with a few hours of precious joy. Readers and authors, PLEASE read this, this is one of the reasons we do what we do.
Anyway, without further ado. Here is the email in her own words.
I was showing my dad your books you sent me tonight as he was a huge horror fan for a long time and we shared our Stephen King and James Herbert books. My dad is 70 in November, recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s and is here visiting us “whilst he can” from Australia.
He rang me 6 weeks ago to say he had Parkinson’s and also that he was coming over as didn’t know if or when he might again. Bittersweet. I cried for days reading about the decline with Parkinson’s. Awful.
He has not read for years, finds it hard. He picked up Charlotte and I told him I loved it. I just said how good and creepy it was, next thing I think he’s just browsing it then realised he was reading it! At the dinner table after dinner. He started reading, right there, he’s still going at 11:33pm! He’s loving it and he’s a critical man so that’s high praise and he’s enjoying his discovery of the novella which is easier for him to finish.
It brought tears to my eyes as I now know new Stephen King books I’ve sent him he’s never read and he so loved his books. So, sometimes a book reaches people in powerful ways. I was loving watching him engrossed with his glass of red wine.
Thank you for sending me books, or this moment would never have come. Those books were meant to come here!
Twice I said “what do you think Dad?” And he said “yeah it’s really good” which for him is a five star review. My Dads bookcase introduced me to horror as a teen, scared myself silly reading Cujo – asking Dad to look under the bed every night for months in case a rabid dog was under there. There were so many. Some fantasy too – the entire Chronicles of Thomas Covenent, The Unbeliever.
My dad has always been super active and to see his hands trembling holding the book to read was just so emotional. I felt like Dad and I really connected. As you say the power of the written word helped my dad escape for hours away from Parkinson’s and all his other worries. He leaves on Thursday and I’m going to be a bloody mess. I want my dad to stay.
He’s not on Goodreads or Amazon so there will be no stars or review but you’ve made a top bloke rediscover his love of horror books and reading and that’s like gold to me. Keep writing!
I don’t really know what to say. I started writing books for fun, mainly because its been a dream for many years. To have this impact on someone, one person who uses books to escape their life just for a few hours, is absolutely phenomenal. I have since contacted the reader and I have organised a batch of books to be sent to Australia – to her father so he can have his own copies.
Authors, you know why we write, if it’s appreciated by just one person, if we know we’ve made a person happy, given them some joy and entertainment, then we’ve succeeded. Readers will also know the power of a good book, one that gives you an escape, some solace, for a few hours a day.
So, that was my Monday morning. If I never do anything else in my writing career from this moment forward, this email from the heart will always be a very proud, amazing moment for me.