In Great Thoughts’ Valentines’ Series, today Mary Kay Andrews joins us with a Valentine to her readers. Mary Kay’s newest book, The Weekenders is one of my favorites. Summer reading always kicks off with a Mary Kay Andrews novel.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
So she turns to her island friends for help and support, but it turns out that each of them has their own secrets, and the clock is ticking as the mystery deepens…in a murderous way. Cocktail parties aside, Riley must find a way to investigate the secrets of Belle Island, the husband she might not really know, and the summer that could change everything.
Told with Mary Kay Andrews’ trademark blend of humor and warmth, and with characters and a setting that you can’t help but fall for, The Weekenders is the perfect summer escape.
A Valentine to my Readers by Mary Kay Andrews
Roses are nice, chocolates are fine, but nothing is sweeter than these readers of mine!
Because I write about women, and their lives and times and failures and triumphs, and of course, their affairs of the heart, I think that Valentine’s Day is the perfect occasion to tell my fans how much their loyalty and friendship mean to me.
Writing can be such a lonely, solitary profession, so, for an extrovert like me, sometimes being locked up alone with just my laptop and imagination seems like cruel and unusual punishment. To really get at the story I’m working on, I have to abandon my everyday life, and burrow down deep into story. Often that means, literally, physically running away from home and family and into the world of the book.
I try to lock myself away from reality, so that I can focus on wrestling with the demons of plot and characterization. But I allow myself the indulgence of social media. Because I need the interaction and feedback—and yes, the instant gratification they give me in the form of encouragement and moral support.
More than that, my generous readers share their stories with me, sometimes unwittingly providing me with the perfect anecdote, insight or motivation for my plot. I vividly remember when I was writing LADIES’ NIGHT, asking my Facebook followers to tell me about acts of revenge perpetrated in the name of love. The stories they told were by turn hilarious, heartbreaking and, at times, hair-raising! More than one of those incidents inspired events in the finished novel. When I was writing SPRING FEVER, a novel about a second chance at love, I asked readers how they knew they were really over a man. My favorite response? “I knew I was over him when I woke up under another man.” I still think that would be the perfect song title for Shania Twain.
My readers let me know what touches them, and I am so profoundly moved and thankful for their sweet messages. One reader told me that during her mother’s last days in hospice, every night she would sit by her mom’s bedside, in a mostly darkened room, reading a chapter a night from HISSY FIT, one of my more outrageous books, and they would chuckle together and forget, for a moment, the disease that was robbing her mother of life.
Finally, in addition to their moral support, my readers are there for me when it matters the most—when I publish a new book. They let me know that they’ve pre-ordered the book so that it will arrive on my pub date. (And count toward that all-important push to the bestseller list.) They travel for hours to come to my annual book launch parties, with sisters, mothers, daughters, friends (even husbands) in tow. They champion my books in vital ways, like posting positive online reviews on Goodreads or Amazon.com. And they show up at signings in far-flung bookstores where I think I don’t know a soul—until they step forward and say “remember me? I’m Penny from Pennsylvania. Or Annie from Alabama, or Paul from Raleigh.” And suddenly it’s a fan family reunion, complete with a basket of garden-fresh tomatoes or homemade cookies. That’s the sweetest valentine of all for an author—a friendly face, and an outstretched book—ready to be signed. So thanks, y’all, for always being you, and always being true. Xoxo MKA