The ideal reader

Who is my ideal reader?

You! Of course. Thank you for reading this blog. I’m amazed that people, friends, relatives, even strangers, take the time to read these words. Thank you!

But second to that, who am I writing for?

I’ve come to realize that the answer to that question depends on which manuscript I’m working on. The project I’ve spent the most time on lately, Bone Girl, is written for a 12-year-old girl, probably in band, who just feels like she’ll never make the cool-kid list. She might be a little bit clumsy, perhaps a little awkward, but she’s got a heart of gold. She loves her parents, enjoys playing in the band, and hopes to be a horse vet when she grows up. With my mind’s eye, I see her sitting on her front porch swing, reading my book. I really love that image.

For my most recent project, The Celebration House, the ideal reader is someone else. This novel is targeted toward a woman much like a former patient of mine. Let’s call her Mary.

Mary was admitted to the hospital where I worked because of an accidental overdose. At the time, I remember thinking, how on earth can someone accidentally overdose? Now that my fifth decade is just over the horizon, I get it. Memory is a great thing; I sure miss mine.

Anyway, what was I talking about? Oh, yeah. Now I remember.

When I wheeled Mary out of the hospital where I was working, our small talk turned to books. Mary loved romance novels. Now, this genre doesn’t always get the respect that I feel it deserves. It’s looked down upon, much like band geeks. I asked her why she liked romance novels. She said reading them let her be somebody she could never be and let her do things she would never do. She had my heart.

So, Mary, as I type furiously to finish The Celebration House, I think of you. Well, after all, you’re my ideal reader.

Along with everyone else who just finished reading this sentence.

Hands and arms inside the cart, please. Next: Finish the book!

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