I just received this from Hugh, a friend in Canada, who is currently in the middle of reading Crossways. I think it may constitute genuine fan mail even though we do know each other personally. Hugh McMillan is a very fine bass player, part of Canadian supergroup Spirit of the West and often accompanies singer-songwriter James Keelaghan on UK tours (which is how we met).
Hugh says: “Egads! That’s some of the best surreality and suspense I’ve come across. Had to take a break after Ben came to in the “High Dependency Unit” to catch my mental breath. Riding a dragon indeed, and what happened to his implant… Crowder makes my skin crawl. The characters are deep and varied, the settings continually palpable. The description of Ben’s unaided navigational intuition … Geez!! What a read. Ok. I can now proceed. Thank you for heeding your urge to write. Wow.”
While I’m always happy to repost (and crow about) recommendations and nice reviews, I’m posting this for other reasons. Writers write in isolation. We’re often one or two books ahead of where you’re reading because of the length of time the publishing process takes. Unlike musicians (and I sang professionally with Artisan for twenty years, so I know this first-hand) we don’t get applause and instant feedback from an audience. so getting something like this, unrequested and out of the blue, is lovely.
The writing process can be difficult, gruelling, even. If nothing else, sometimes it’s sheer bloody slog. (Yes, I know, we have no one to blame but ourselves…) There’s a lot of self-doubt involved and moments when you’re sure you’ve just written the worst piece of crap ever. So to suddenly getting a little email with nothing but this in it is a huge boost.
I am very lucky not to be one of those people with the black dog of depression sniffing at my heels, but all writers suffer from self-doubt on occasions. It comes with the territory. (And if we didn’t then that might also be bad for other reasons.)
So if you like a book, tell the author.
And then tell your friends, post reviews and chat about it on social media. You are the lifeblood of the publishing industry. Without readers there would be no writers.