Sitting here, in shock, surrounded by pain that only a loss could bring. I seem to only be able to stop crying for just a second. It’s just enough time to wipe my eyes and see clearly enough to finish this sentence. Then the tears spring up again and cloud up my vision as I begin the next sentence. Either way, I’m going to get through this even if my face is drenched by the time I finish this letter. There are a few things that I must get off my chest. Wherever you are, you will get this message.
A little over a year ago, I saw your contest for writers who were looking to be published. I had entered many other writing contests and had been rejected. Unfortunately, I didn’t write the “ideal” YA genre novel. While werewolves, vampires, ghosts and other paranormal and mythical creatures were dominating the YA genre, you were looking for something different. You were looking for something with heart and that had a realistic message.
Just when I was about to give up on my dream of being a published author, you called me on the telephone. You said, “I get it. This is about real life. This is about giving hope to others who feel hopeless. We’re going to make a difference in this world with this book. I believe in you. You have to believe, too.”
You could never know how much your words meant to me. That was the beginning of this amazing journey that I am on with my novel right now. If you hadn’t believed in me, I don’t think anyone would have known about “Her”. You’ve not only helped me, but you contributed to helping every single person who has been filled with hope by this book. You are responsible for distributing it to the world. I am forever grateful to you.
You were a talented author. I learned what it was like to “think like an author” from you. You once told me, “It’s not what you write that will get people interested. It’s how you tell the story. You have to make your audience feel something.” Then you said something no one had ever said to me before. You said, “When I read your story, you made me feel something inexpiable. I don’t even know where to begin.” Little did I know, that wouldn’t be the last time someone would say that, after reading my novel. You started something there!
Now, because of you, I know how to take that as a compliment. It’s a mission accomplished. It’s like the quote that we both enjoyed by the late Dr. Mya Angelou. She said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” You helped me to appreciate that our stories must make people feel SOMETHING. Whether it is happiness, anger, joy, sadness, love, peace, hope…it’s better than nothing at all. That way, our audience will always remember how they felt. And they’ll remember the author who wrote the novel that made them feel that way.
You had a good eye for beauty and other people’s talent. I’ll always be grateful for the chance you took on me. I was just an unknown writer who was trying. I was like everyone else with a dream.
Your belief in all things good had a magical effect on my confidence. You helped me to see that all things are possible despite what may seem to be happening. You told me to be patient, know that it will happen, and allow myself to learn and become wiser. I’m a better author because you believed in me. I’m a published author because you supported me and took a chance on me when no one knew who I was. I learned to believe…but I just can’t believe that you’re gone…
I look forward to continuing this journey that you helped paved the way for. Because of you, I’m an author. I’m not just a writer. I won’t take your advice lightly. Nor will I waste the opportunity that you gave me. I promise. No matter how hard things get on the journey, I promise you that I won’t stop until it’s over. Thank you for believing in me.