When I wrote Chatterbox I had an editor who went through the manuscript with me, word by word, line by line. It was an exhilarating process that took several months. After my work with him, I continued to revise and polish the manuscript. When I felt it was ready for outside eyes I enlisted the help of my sister. She is an avid and careful reader; she reads slowly savouring each word (as I do); and we love the same authors. I gave her a copy of Chatterbox and she began to read, phoning me frequently to provide feedback on continuity, comprehensiveness, and word choice. We were about midway through the book when her telephone calls stopped. I gave her some leeway, after all, it’s a lot to ask of someone, but after a few days I got antsy. “Just wondering how things are going,” I said in an anxious message on her machine. “I’m sorry,” she began when she returned my call. I readied myself for the expected excuses: work obligations, husband interference, quilting distractions. “I was reading a book,” she said. “And I couldn’t put it down!”
At first I was perplexed, a book? What book? And then miffed. She means she’s reading a book other than mine? “Your book!” she laughed. I was stunned. She explained that she got so engrossed in the story she forgot to take notes or formulate an opinion and she had to go back over the text.
Right then I discovered the greatest compliment a writer can receive. I’m almost ready to give her my next book. Have you read anything recently that you couldn’t put down?