I’m very excited – I’ve had two people finish AND enjoy my book Facing Up recently!
OK, this doesn’t sound like a huge success story, so I should clarify that neither of them have read a novel since high school, over 20 years ago, and they quite possibly didn’t finish the ones they were meant to be reading then 😉
So I’m honoured and impressed that they made the effort, and also that they liked the book and characters enough to hold their attention all the way through.
(Disclaimer: these two people happen to be my husband and a close friend, and they both read a lot of non-fiction, but hey, they still finished my book!)
When I wrote Facing Up, I did it with reluctant readers in mind. I wanted the lead character, Carly, to be a teenager that many could relate to – sulky, rebellious, irritable and stubborn. But I also wanted people to eventually empathise with her situation and feelings, and to cheer for her to make it through.
I also tried to make it an ‘easy’ read, albeit with flashbacks to illustrate the horrific car accident and other past events that are the cause of most of Carly’s problems. I tried not to overdo the writing style, although I do like to throw in more complex words every now and again. If you put them in the right context, often people will pick up their meaning by association. Or I hope they will look it up in a dictionary and learn a new word, if they enjoy the story enough!
Basically, I wanted reluctant readers (of any age) to be able to enjoy Facing Up without feeling like it was over-simplified.
English was no issue for me at school, but I really do empathise with those who struggle with the language, whether it’s their primary or secondary (or more) language. It’s a tough lingo and I’m glad it’s my native tongue! But also, I found mathematics and sports almost impossible at school, and I have nothing but sympathy for anyone who doesn’t have a natural ability in a particular area.
I do know that you can always improve in these areas, even if you may never excel in them, and I believe in patient, intuitive teaching, and lots of practice. Your lessons may not even come from a qualified teacher – you can sometimes learn so much from an experienced family member or friend who is patient, encouraging and persevering.
I recall my devastation when my horrible driving instructor told me during my first lesson that I would never be able to drive a manual. Thanks to my father and brother (see ‘patient, ‘encouraging’ and ‘persevering’), I’m still competently driving a manual car 24 years later!
So well done to my hubby and friend for their own perseverance with their reading; and I’ll keep their achievements as a reminder that I may have also achieved something with Facing Up 🙂