Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Guest Blogger: Kristy Kiernan

I am so excited about this very special guest post from Kristy Kiernan, one of my favorite author "friends." She has a wonderful new book coming out next week called BETWEEN FRIENDS that I had the pleasure of reading a few days ago. I thought the book was fantastic, and you can read more about my thoughts here.

I just love her guest post since it deals with a side of authors and writing that I don't often think about -- reader feedback. I hope you'll enjoy reading Ms. Kiernan's take on the importance of feedback. And if you happen to read BETWEEN FRIENDS and love it (like I did), then please let her know!

Well, I feel like I'm seeing an old friend after too long apart! Hello, Booking Mama--er, Julie!

(Confidential aside to Booking Mama readers: I'm slightly less nervous about Julie reading BETWEEN FRIENDS than I was when she read MATTERS OF FAITH, a book that dealt heavily with a child with food allergies…but only slightly!)

One of the unforeseen benefits of being a writer of contemporary fiction has been learning about my readers.

With Catching Genius I heard from parents and grandparents of gifted children, violinists, and sisters, so many sisters! One memorable e-mail was from a woman in her fifties who was estranged from her sister. They lived five miles apart and hadn't spoken in over a decade. Their first contact would be the copy of Catching Genius she was preparing to mail. (No pressure!)

For Matters of Faith I heard, loud and clear, from parents of children with food allergies. I heard from mothers whose children were searching for faith, and even from a Florida fisherman who wanted to know exactly where Grandmother Tobias lived, but it was the food allergy families that touched me and made me realize how books can bring people together. My favorite was the woman who ordered fifteen at once to give out to the people involved in caring for her children, both of whom had severe food allergies. I also heard from a grandmother who told me that she was one of those people who believed that too much was being made of the allergies her granddaughter suffered from, but that Matters of Faith made her understand.

And now Between Friends is coming out.

A provocative new novel about birth, death, and the stuff in between, from the award-winning author of Catching Genius.

Thanks to modern reproductive technology-and the gift of her friend Cora's eggs-Ali Gutierrez is the mother of a fourteen-year-old daughter. Now, yearning for a second child, Ali asks Cora's permission to use another of the frozen embryos that have been stored away in anticipation of this decision. But Cora has a secret that could not only change Ali's plans for the future, but tear apart her life right now.

And, where once I was nervous about sales and industry reviews, these days I think more about the real people who are reading my books, the people who are living with the issues I write about every day.

Between Friends covers a lot of ground: in-vitro fertilization, teen sexuality, women's friendships, marriage, polycystic kidney disease, genetic testing, dialysis, organ donation.

And I admit that I am nervous about the e-mails I know I'll start to get after April 6th. I know they're not all going to praise the book. Some will likely even chastise me for the random swear word, or for writing a character they didn't like, or for not writing four hundred more pages. But some, oh, some will make me call my friends to read them out loud in wonder, some will make me laugh, and some, I know, some will make me cry.

I think I'm prepared for the e-mails and letters this time, but I know I'll still be affected by them, and I wouldn't trade it for the world. I hope everyone enjoys Between Friends, and I hope that if you do, you consider letting me know.

Thanks, Julie, for letting me hang out with your readers today. It's always a pleasure.

A huge thanks to Kristy Kiernan for writing this guest post! I know she is extremely busy with her new book BETWEEN FRIENDS coming out next week.


Sandy Nawrot said...

How wonderful that you have a friendship with this woman...she sounds like someone you would want to do lunch with! I can't even imagine the feedback (good and bad) that you get when you write about topics that spark emotion. I can't wait to hear about her new one!

Unknown said...

Thank you, Julie, for Sharing Kristy Kiernan with us! I have not yet read any of her/your books...but I think Between Friends would be perfect for my book club!

Great post!

Anonymous said...

OK, now I'm really excited to read Between Friends. Thanks for sharing with us, Kristy, and Julie. I glad that Kristy encourages readers to give her feedback, but I know it must be a bit like putting your little one out there to face the world. :-)

CamilleKimball said...

First, for anyone who hasn't discovered Kristy's work, this was your lucky day! You will swear she has lived the life of any character she writes, she's that good. Second, on reader feedback, in my experience, yes, it is frequently very emotional. In my case, I often get readers who want to help the crime victims and that makes me feel it was all worthwhile. The most memorable may be the two sisters who approached me in pursuit of justice for their murdered brother. They thought it might be the same killer. Gulp.

A Sudden Shot: the Phoenix Serial Shooter

bermudaonion said...

It sounds like her writing really speaks to her readers!

Florinda said...

I have review copies of Between Friends and Matters of Faith on my shelf (Kristy and I made contact via another blogger's introduction on Twitter), and I'm reading another novel with a surrogacy element right now. I like to pair books when I can, so I think Between Friends is moving up the TBR stack.

Great post!

Kristy Kiernan said...

It was an honor to be here today, Julie--thank you, and everyone who left a comment. DO let me know how you enjoy the book!