We writers create characters who become part of the family, in my case, my daughters. If we are lucky enough to get published, they go off into the world, then, in most cases--disappear. I have some vague notion of how they are doing. I get the ocassional letter home in the form of a royalty check, but I don't really know how they are faring out there in the world with millions of other fictional characters. Are they making the kind of difference I'd hoped they would make?
Then a letter like this comes in . . .
"I recently read your novel, Hurt Go Happy. I read the novel to educate myself about books that were worthy of one of the American Library Association awards.
I felt a kinship with the main character, Joey Willis. Joey is isolated from the rest of the world by her inability to hear. I can hear, but can only communicate with people who can read my lips. Like Joey, I seem to always be on the periphery and your portrayal of her loneliness and apartness was spot-on.
I am a legally blind, ventilator-dependent quadriplegic. I do have the ability to speak out loud, but require someone to monitor my ventilator and adjust my tracheotomy tube. When I choose to speak I must be conscious of triggering the ventilator for every breath, and it's extremely taxing. LIke Joey opts out of hearing with her hearing aids, I opt out of speaking. It seems to be too much trouble.
I wanted to tell you the story touched me. Your writing style thoroughly engaged me and drives me to continue plugging away at writing books for chilren and my inspirational articles and essays for adults. Thank you for writing an entertaining and thought provoking tale."
Jessica Aday Kennedy
The Differently-Abled Writer & Speaker
Children's Author of Klutzy Kantor, Marta's Gargantuan Wings & Stella the Fire Farting Dragon.