I received an email yesterday from a friend of mine, Margaret Reyes Dempsey, thanking me for my friendship and the support I'd offered her over the past year and sending me a link to a recent post she'd made on her own blog. I will admit to getting a little choked up when I read the email and the blog post. What a nice and unexpected thing she did! (To see why I had this reaction, read her blog post at Conjuring My Muse.)
The thing is, but for her generosity and taking the time to reach out to me, I would have never met her. She first contacted me after seeing a blurb in our alumni magazine about my first novel, Tell No Lies. (We both attended Washington University in St. Louis at about the same time, though we never met). She wrote me, a complete stranger but for our Wash. U. connection, to offer her congratulations. She went on to buy my book, read it, and then tell all her friends about it. As she explains in more detail in her blog, we stayed in contact by email, and then also through Inked-In, an online social network for writers, artists and musicians started and run by Joseph Hayes and Jennifer Greenhill-Taylor. I won't go into much more detail, because Margaret has explained it all in her post, but suffice it to say, you never know when one small email to another will lead to a much deeper friendship. By the way, Margaret's first novel, The Benefactor, is being released this November.
Another example of this is the email I received from a reader in Scotland, shortly after Tell No Lies was released in the UK in February 2008. Nick Klepper wrote to me and told me how much he liked my novel. Nick is the author of two nonfiction books about Romania, and at the time, he was working on his first novel, Serendipity, a psychological thriller. We continued to correspond by email. This August, after my husband and I had made plans to vacation in Edinburgh with a group of friends (again, see Margaret's post above!), it dawned on me -- hey, Nick lives in Edinburgh. So I contacted him and invited him and his wife to join all of us for dinner one night. He, in turn, invited me to be his guest at a Society of Authors luncheon during the Edinburgh Book Festival. All this because he happened to write to me after reading my book . . .