As a kid, and then a young adult, and then a young woman, I used to dive into books to escape, not unlike the average reader. I was always on the hunt for a good story, a story I could not put down. Some of the books I read were good, others only average, and then there were those that touched me or moved me in such a way that I'll never forget them.
I hated the last twenty pages of those books. You know the feeling. When you're reading and it's so good, the story and the characters and the writing so fine, you don't want it to end. And then you get that awful feeling in your stomach when you notice there are only twenty pages left.
Right about then I would read as slow as I could go, savoring every sentence, not ready to say good-bye to the story or the characters. Then I'd close the book and immediately think about the author.
At that point, I would (and still do) read the book's Acknowledgments Page, trying to get a 'feel' for this person. I wanted to meet the author. I wanted to send him/her a note and tell them what their book had meant to me, but back before the internet existed that wasn't easy to do.
Thankfully that's not the case today.
ie., Yesterday I received the sweetest note from a seventy year old woman from Albany who borrowed her granddaughter's laptop to send me an email. She was writing to tell me how much she loved The Tin Box, although she complained about three swear words that offended her, and then we had a brief back-and-forth about how important it is for an author to write with 'realism' in mind vs. worrying about offending readers.
Some emails are pure gush, which is great because every author needs a certain amount of gush to keep going. Others complain about a scene a reader didn't like, or an ending that wasn't wrapped up enough for their taste, or they might point out a piece of dialogue they feel didn't ring true.
It's all good, though, because I learn from all of these comments. Better yet, because of cyberspace I'm accessible to readers, and genuinely open to whatever they might have to say.
Please keep those emails coming :)