~ By Heather Lire
So how many of you thought this about connecting with your readers on social media? Admit it, most of you. While I think this is important there is another connection that I think is so much more important, that of connecting with our readers through our stories.
Long before I was an author I was a reader. One of my earliest memories was walking with my mom to the bookmobile. That was how we got library books living out in the country back in the day. The first book I remember reading on my own was The Boxcar Children, and while I wasn’t an orphan nor did I live in a boxcar but I connected those children to the point that more than thirty years later I still remember almost everything about that book.
As a reader the thing I love most is to make a connection with the characters I’m reading. Because I read across the genre I can appreciate how those authors who write Future, Fantasy and Paranormal can make us connect with characters who live in a world completely different from our own, a world full of witches, vampires, faeries and shifters or changelings. Or those authors who sweep us back in time to Regency England, the Scottish Highlands, and the American West. Then there are the erotic authors who make us feel like we are the ones tied up and being worked over by a sexy Dom. Let’s not forget those authors who write about everyday people living right now.
These all important connections are vital to authors. It’s these connections that allow the readers to connect with us, and to demand more books from us. They also make the readers seethe with anger when we do something to a character they don’t like. Or if we wait to long to give them the character they are desperate to know more about.
When I was doing my undergrad in Languages and Literature I had to take a lot of literature classes in my languages. One of them was a Spanish Literature class that covered everything from poetry to plays and spanned five hundred years. One of our final papers we had to write was about a piece of literature from the book that really resonated with us and made a connection.
For me it was poem written in the 15th Century. I’d never heard of the author, nor the work, but as soon as I read it I KNEW she was talking about the love connection I had with my husband. As we were going through a really rocky patch in our marriage it meant even more to me. So I wrote my ten page paper on this poem and how it spoke of love, especially that of a love between a husband and a wife.
My professor then chose five of the papers to share with the class. For the poetry section she chose mine. She then proceeded to read the poem and then my paper about it and my interpretation of it. She then invited the class to discuss it. It was at this point I discovered who the author was, she was nun and the poem was to her husband Christ, and that the entire class had viewed it as a religious piece. As the only non-Catholic in the room (my family hasn’t been Catholic since Henry kicked them out of England) I was able to make a different kind of connection with this piece of literature. One that no one else in the class did. I’ve since forgotten the name of the poem and the nun who wrote it, but I remember how it made me feel.
So why did I just share that story? Because you’re not going to get the same connection with your readers with every character or story. Some they are going to love, some they are going to hate. Regardless of the emotion you evoke in them, you have made a connection. One that the readers will remember. They might remember you have a character they despise BUT they loved your writing, or they could remember they loved your characters and your world.
Remember you can’t please everyone when it comes to your stories and characters, but when you make those all-important connections they make it so worth all the blood sweat and tears we pour into our stories.
Heather has traveled all over the world, speaks multiple languages, collects romance books like they’re going out of style, and has multiple book boyfriends. Ok, she hasn’t been all over the world, except in her mind. She does however speak multiple languages and collect romance books. Her long suffering husband and teenage sons roll their eyes at all her book boyfriends. When she’s not busy traveling the world in her mind she can be found at one of her sons many sporting events and on twitter, where she talks about what else romance books. She loves to hear what you think about her stories so please drop her a note and tell her.
The third book in her Holiday Vermont series A Holiday Christmas was recently released.
You can find Heather around the web: