I’ve been writing my favorite authors since I was sixteen. I don’t remember if it was a writing teacher or a book on writing which said to start conversations with your writing heroes, but I took the advice to heart. Ever since, I’ve been writing, emailing, or messaging my favorite writers. I’ve heard from a few, and a few have not answered, but the bulk of the responses are encouraging and caring. Recently in a conversation with two writer buddies, I brought up the topic. Thanks to Stacey Oberle and Christina Weigand for joining me in this writing adventure!
Darlene: Hey. Have you ever emailed your favorite writer?
Stacey: I haven’t! I met James Patterson once, though, and very awkwardly said, “You’re my favorite author!” He smiled and said, “Well you’re my favorite reader.”
Darlene: Aww! That’s so cool! I love it when that happens. Readings and things are so far in between though. One of my favorite things to do is reach out to other writers via mail and email. Do you think other writers might be curious about that?
Stacey: I would imagine other writers would be curious about it, but if they’re anything like me, their introverted personalities would be daunted by the idea. I like the idea of handwriting mail, but I would be hesitant, as though it might be the equivalent of being one of a million fan letters that wouldn’t actually get read by the recipient.
Darlene: I’m with you on the introversion! I’d rather write in my cave than anything. I think it’s a shocker when you send mail and actually get responses. Lol. When I was younger and mail was a thing I’d get tons of letters. I’ve got them in a box somewhere. In the last few years it’s been more email and messaging than anything – and it still shocks me when I get email, but I love it – they’re always inspiring and encouraging. And you’d think because they’re so busy they wouldn’t answer their mail, or they’d have someone else do it for them, right? Some are like that, but most of the ones I send out get an answer – even if it’s just “thanks for reading and the support!”
Stacey: It definitely sounds worth getting out of my comfort zone and reaching out. How do you start those conversations?
Chris: Wow I can so relate to the introversion thing. Let me hide in my lair most of the time and I am a happy camper. Fortunately though as a writer I do have to reach out to other people. Most of my contact is through email or messaging. In some ways FaceBook and other social media has been a good thing because I don’t have to leave the lair to reach out. Starting a conversation; I generally look for something or someone that I have in common with the person I want to make contact with. So when I get up the courage then I use that information and offer them something like a visit to website to promote their books or talk about a shared passion.
Darlene: Right?! I was always curious about how writers get in touch with people – they’re always so busy…you’d think they wouldn’t have time to talk, but I’ve gotten tons of responses. I started by saying how much I love their work…and I truly do – I always want to be honest when I start a conversation. But when I started seriously thinking about writing and the writing life, I changed how I approached writing. I kept telling writers how much I loved their work, and you know it’s music to a writer’s ears, but I also wanted to get their insight about the writing life. I never got an email back from some writers…and I bet one writer in particular [I’m not going to say who] thinks I’m slightly annoying, but every time I sent a letter out in the universe, it was the start of a conversation.
Chris: So true. I try to take it beyond the writing though and tap into other interests that they have, but that is because my website isn’t just about the books but about their lives beyond the books; what makes them tick, what things are they passionate about, what drives them to write. I think those things drive what we write and without those things we wouldn’t be writers. So I guess to summarize I want my readers to see the whole writer.
Darlene: Totally! It’s kind of strange sometimes [and cool] to think of writers as people instead of the person behind the book. I think my favorite writers to communicate with talk about more than writing on their sites – they’re very personable. We’re all here because we love writing and reading and reading and writing [in whatever order you choose]. With that in mind, I’ve got a challenge for y’all. I challenge you to email your five favorite authors. Let them know what your favorite work of theirs is and why it inspires you. It’s up to you if y’all want to ask a question. Ooh, word of advice: before you ask a question, see if they’ve answered one similar to it online – I have had a few writers tell me the same question was asked before. They didn’t mind responding again, but I think they’d like to talk about something different every now and then.
Stacey: Challenge accepted! Maybe I’ll start with just one or two, but you’ve piqued my curiosity. I love reading about why and how other writers write, so the idea of having (and being the one to start) a conversation is exciting, especially a conversation with a favorite writer whom I particularly admire. Thank you for the advice and for the push!
Darlene: Thank you both for hanging out with me during this blogging experiment! DarWrites readers – I challenge you too! Go write five of your favorite writers an email – and don’t be surprised if you get a response!
Stacey Oberle is a mentor, teacher, writer, and mother of three awesome girls. In her off-time she enjoys chugging coffee and writing epic poetry.
Darlene Reilley is a writer who aims to hit a Venn diagram target centering on archaeology, romance, and science fiction. Her goal in life is to write 100 epic books that change the lives of her readers. Her favorite color is Capri blue and she prefers a cup of coffee with sugar and soy.
Christina Weigand is a writer with more characters in her head than she knows what to do with. Her mission is sharing the Word of God with readers of every age. Her favorite color is purple and she loves drinking tea while writing.