It’s always a thrill to welcome an author back to the blog because it makes me feel as if Suspense Your Disbelief might be becoming the kind of community I always dreamed of having. Even–especially–when I was standing on the cold outside, knocking to get in. You can read Dorothy’s first Moment here, and I was tickled recently to learn of one more connection reflected here on the blog. Dorothy’s novel of historical suspense was avidly–and deservedly–praised by another Momenter and favorite author of mine, Steve Rigolosi (whose Moment you can find here).
Maybe the writing world is less a building whose door you must bang down, and more of a home, all of us readers and writers and hopers and dreamers intersecting in lives that are connected by a web of words. I like to think so anyway. And so I suspect, to read this Moment, does Dorothy.
Since its initial release in Canada, my first novel The Witch of Babylon has been out now for a little over a year and this month I’m celebrating its American debut. It’s been a year filled with blog writing, social networking, nail biting in advance of the reviews, watching those Amazon numbers, public speaking events, attending conferences and literary festivals. A whole new world has opened up and if there are times when one feels swamped, it’s a phenomenal experience. Not many things in our writing life can match the thrill of walking into a bookstore and seeing your novel sitting with its literary companions on a table labelled “books you should have read by now” or ending up on a bestseller’s list.
But the true “Made It Moment” this year has been meeting readers whether it be through a very thoughtful email, in person at a signing or event or, as happened to me a couple of days ago, a chance meeting in a store. Yards of ink have been spilled about how to get in touch with the people who are the ultimate “deciders” of your work, who cast a yes vote by putting their hard earned money on the line. Meeting your readers though, directly engaging with people who’ve taken time to read your work, is a real privilege.
The Witch of Babylon is an antiquity thriller set in contemporary times with a lot of historical content about the Assyrian empire in the 7th century BC. Assyrians first swept out of western deserts 4,000 years ago to make Mesopotamia their home and the Assyrian people, predominantly the Christian minority in Iraq, are still a vibrant community today. It was a touching moment this summer then, to receive an email from an Assyrian gentleman living in the U.S. who was overjoyed to find a book written about his people. And that remains the best “Made It Moment” for me, hearing from a reader for whom my book made a difference.
D.J. (Dorothy) McIntosh is a Toronto based writer of novels and short mystery fiction. She’s a member of the Canadian Society for Mesopotamian Studies and a strong advocate for press freedom. She supports Pen Canada, the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders.