Words to Melt an Author’s Heart


My twenty-two-year-old niece, Chelsea, recently visited us at the lake and she left with copies of Disappearing in Plain Sight and The Light Never Lies tucked under her arm.

We then began a wonderful exchange (via text messaging on Facebook) as she worked her way through both novels and shared her impressions. I love nothing more than getting down to the nitty-gritty of discussing the characters with a reader and finding out how the story makes that reader feel. As the texting continued, I had to have Chelsea adopt the shorthand that my editor and I use. DPS = Disappearing in Plain Sight. LNL = The Light Never Lies and LM = Lisa-Marie.

It’s a real treat for me to share (with permission from my beautiful niece) our texting conversation from last night.

Chelsea: Well I have finished LNL and I LOVED it!! My favourite . . . so far. I found myself getting teary eyed at the good-byes and hoping that Justin would change his mind and go back to LM and so happy that Beulah and Bethany are getting married!! Seriously I need that third book soon!! LOL.

Me: Wow – you are one of my fastest readers. I’m so glad you enjoyed DPS & LNL. I think both books are totally suited to your age group. But, then again, older women love them, too, though they tend to identify more with Izzy than LM. Did you start to get a better impression of Izzy after LNL? I remember you said you didn’t like her too much after DPS.

Chelsea: I had a hard time with Izzy in the first book but after the second one I caught myself wishing I could be like her. She’s so wise and gentle and really cares about people. I wasn’t very happy with Liam for a bit there – LOL. I love how you write – the way you tell one side of the story then go to someone else’s view. I felt like I was watching a TV show because of how you were able to switch things up like that.

Me: You’ve really gotten to the core of what matters to me about my writing – showing both sides of things – trying to get people to understand that life isn’t black or white – right or wrong. Circumstances matter.

Chelsea: It’s funny . . . because I’ve been to the lake I feel a connection to the story. It’s like I know what you mean and how the people feel . . . I actually felt like I was part of the story. I got so into it. It got me thinking of how I want my life to be and how I want it to end up. I can’t wait for the third one! What’s the title do you have an idea yet? I think it’s so awesome that you are writing books. I tell everyone that my Grama June and my Auntie Fran are writers! It makes me happy.

Me: That is one of the great benefits I have as a writer – living here. I was able to use this place as a basic template for all the places in the book and then just embellish my heart out. I didn’t have to start from scratch or create a world to put my people in. Micah Camp started in my mind as a dream that there could be something more for kids who didn’t have all the advantages – something that could help them get a jump start on adult life. I feel like crying because you enjoyed the books so much. It means a lot to me. All I really want to do with my writing is make people feel things and think. The third book is called Chasing Down the Night. I am well into the first draft, which means lots of work to go. The whole story is in my head, though. I feel pretty stuffed with all these people and their issues some days.

Chelsea: Awesome. I can hardly wait.

Me: I know I’ve won over a reader for sure with you. Thanks also for spreading the word about the books. Feel free to lend them out to others. If you don’t get them back, I can always get you another set. Love you. Bye for now.

Chelsea: Sounds good. Yep, I will spread the word! Love you too. Bye

A fan like this makes all the agony of bringing a full-length novel (or two or three or four) to life well-worth the effort. And when she is also a beautiful, talented and funny niece who I’ve been close to since the day she was born – well, I better end this post before I dissolve into a pool of tears.

The pensive writer - Bruce Witzel photo

12 comments on “Words to Melt an Author’s Heart

  1. This is SO wonderful! Your books brought me the same insights and feelings and a love for this beautiful place I haven’t seen but feel like I’ve been to. I look forward to reading Chasing Down the Night!

    • Thanks, Angela. Your words of how you gained insight and love the setting mean a lot. I feel like I’m on the right track with writing. I’m putting in long days to get the first draft complete – then I’ll shelf it for a wee bit to get my breath and then onto 2nd draft and editing. What a process but so worthwhile.

  2. How wonderful to have some support in your own family! Kudos, but you deserve it! I have loved both books and await the third.

  3. Your niece is a wise woman, Fran. Unlike Chelsea, I haven’t been to the lake, but I felt a strong connection due to your innate ability to make the setting another character…you do it so well.

    • Oh, Jill . . . thanks. Chelsea is certainly a wise young woman, in so many ways (not just for loving my books – LOL) and I’m a mighty proud auntie. The power of setting is something a really work out, so to get praised for that aspect of my writing makes me happy dance all over the room.

  4. Gallivanta says:

    That’s so lovely. And it really must be fun to be able to say there is writer in the family.

    • In our pride, both of us, it almost feels as though we are channeling forward this wonderful ambition that my mom had to be a published author. She worked at her craft in the days when the only game in town was traditional publishing and the file of rejection slips she had was proof of how hard it was to get through the door. I’m glad that self-publishing has flung the window open and that my stories have gotten through.

  5. dex says:

    Thanks for sharing this. How very encouraging. 🙂

  6. Gwen Stephens says:

    Love this ! How great to have such a meaningful exchange with a young family member. I have to agree with Chelsea’s statement – I love how you write.

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