Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Writing a book that people want to read

In the early days of writing White Shadow, a historical novel, I remember wondering if there would be anyone interested in reading about a revolution in a faraway African country. It didn’t matter really, because I was going to write it anyway.

Mozambique is a country that doesn’t get much press.  In 2004 when I had a chance to live there for a while, I had to look it up to see where it was. All I knew was that at one time it had been the poorest country in the world.

White Shadow came out a few months ago. With some trepidation and after several years of writing and rewriting, I finally let loose of it, for better or worse. I hadn’t realized how downright scary it was to send it out into the world, but I knew I had to do it.

Much to my surprise, people are actually reading it. Several of them have taken the time to call or write. They let me know that they were interested to learn about the traumatic end to the colonial era in a country they knew nothing about. One reader said that during those days she was so consumed with raising children and returning to graduate school as a young widow that she knew nothing of what was going on in much of Africa in the 1960s and 70s.

Perhaps the story appeals because it is a human drama focused on the lives of a couple of incredible people caught up in a changing world that demanded much of them. Maybe it doesn’t matter that the story takes place in a faraway country they know little about.

Whatever it is, I have been pleasantly surprised at the response to the story.  Those little checks from Amazon keep coming and it has found a spot in several local outlets.

I’m now at work on a book about running, a long-time passion of mine. And I’m wondering who in the world will be interested in reading it.  But I’m writing it anyway.

Sometimes I think this business of applying words to the page is a difficult and silly endeavor that takes hold of you and won’t let go.


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