Dear Readers, Well, it's finally time.
The book I can't shut up about (and I am sure you're sick of hearing about), Proof of Angels, is finally seeing the light of day. On November 4, 2014--exactly three years from the release of my first novel Proof of Heaven--Proof of Angels will finally be out there in the world.
And while I am well aware that comparing writing to childbirth is both an overstatement and a cliché, I can't help but feel that it is indeed akin to birth. Only, unlike a baby, who everyone is obligated by social customs to compliment and tell the parents how wonderful and beautiful she or he is upon her arrival, a book is fair game. Fresh meat. People actually find it great sport to reach out to the said "parent" (um, writer) and say quite awful things. Readers (myself included) are a bitch to please. They want more, they'll say. They expected more of their favorite author. They hoped for better writing, a better plot. They want characters to act a certain way. Say certain things. They also want a very particular ending. (Usually not the one that has been written.) As a reader, I gripe about this a lot! He had to go and kill Gatsby! F. Scott Fitzgerald, you've ruined everything! (Only he didn't. And eventually I got over it.) In many cases, readers want an entirely different genre altogether. Giving a book over to critical readers is like handing a person your baby and saying, "See how lovely she is. How amazing she is! You have no idea the labor it took to get her here!" And having that person hand her back and say, "Meh. I only like puppies." Or "I really wish she had red hair and green eyes."
OK, I can't work with that. What I got is a brunette, blue-eyed baby. What I got is Proof of Angels. A labor of love. My love. It is something that I have to admit is going to be hard to let go of. Because once it is out of my hands and into your dear readers', it's all about you. Yes, this book is all about you. The characters. The story. Even the ending. It's yours. I give it to you. I tried my best. I fell in love with each character and worked and worked (and worked some more) to make it feel as real and alive on paper as it was in my own head and heart. And now it's yours. I hope you like it.
And I know I sound awfully melodramatic. I know not to make too much about the whole writing thing. I am real about what I do for a living. I write. I am aware writing isn't the most important gig in town. I am not finding the cure for cancer. Or taking care of sick people. I am no nurse, doctor, or even like my father, a firefighter. Like my dad, Sean, the main character of Proof of Angels, walked fearlessly into burning buildings. He risked his own life so that others may live. That is something else. That is hard work. That is courage. That is real. Those people are the real angels. I know my place in the world. It is not a grand one. It is a simple one. It is this: To write, to entertain, and maybe, on a good day, to connect with someone else out there who feels the way I feel and who has been where I have been, so that we both feel a little less alone, a little less frightened in this big, scary, and sometimes dark world we live in. I hope my books can be a light, even if only a flicker, that is just enough to show the way out for someone trapped in the dark.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to get to write. I am so grateful for all the talented people who helped me and encouraged me along the way, especially many of you readers who took the time out of your day to write to me after Proof of Heaven was released to tell me how the characters in my little book encouraged and inspired you. So many of you have experienced such tremendous loss and suffering, and yet are able (to steal F. Scott Fitzgerald's supposed "terrible" ending) "to beat on" despite it all. Your faith, hope, and courage inspired me every day. You were in so many ways my inspiration for writing this book, which is all about second chances, the preciousness of this life, and all the angels here on earth who protect us, love us, guard us, and inspire us every day so that we may continue on even when it is so very difficult. Even when we don't want to. Even when we don't think anyone else cares or that we don't matter. I hope this book gives you a little bit of proof that people do care and you do matter. Every single one of us matters. We're all proof. All the proof you'll ever need. Proof of angels.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I hope to see many of you on Nov. 6th at Joseph-Beth Booksellers at 7 p.m.! And if you're in a book club and want me to Skype or call in, please don't hesitate to contact me and we'll set something up. I love meeting and talking with all of you.