I am awestruck by readers. Truly, I am.
I get on DorothyL or one of the other mystery book lists I watch and occasionally heckle, and it never fails to amaze me how serious people are about their books. How devoted they are to their favorite authors. How involved they become with fictional chraracters.
I am not being at all sarcastic about that. It astonishes me that people read so many books. You see that especially at the end of one year and the beginning of another (recently enough that one might remember), when some of these lovely readers--in my mind they're all lovely--list the books they've read in the just-ending or just-having-ended year.
They are not kidding.
An author, even one like me who is contracted to produce at least one book each year (and doesn't at all mind doing so, for the record), works for weeks--months, really--crafting one little paperback that shows up on shelves on a Tuesday and hopes for some notice.
Someone comes along, picks up that book and decides to purchase (or borrow) it (from the library), takes it home, and either reads it at warp factor six or places it on what they unfailingly refer to as the TBR (to be read) pile, which is invariably described as enormous.
And then they read it. Probably in about two hours, judging from the reports. Now, I don't have a problem with someone Evelyn Wood-ing his/her way through my novel; yes, I spend time deciding on each word, but fast reading indicates to me that the person zipping on through is engaged, interested, and hoping to see how it all comes out in the end. That's gratifying.
They keep notes, too. I'm lucky if I can remember how old I was on January 1 by the time Halloween rolls around. These readers have detailed lists of each book read, author, publisher, plot line, characters, and how well the reader liked the book. They can quote chapter (literally) and verse (not so much) from my own work better than I can.
But within two days of my book's release, I'm already getting "when-does-the-next-one-come-out" emails. You say, "Well, you're in luck. The next book in the series is scheduled for November," and they reply, "WHAT? I have to wait NINE MONTHS?"
If we were all that impatient about everything, no baby would be born on time again.
When I was a boy, which doesn't seem like all that long ago until you learn arithmetic, I was admired and acknowledged in my family as a fast reader. I'd go through books like they were... books with big type and not that many pages. I gained that reputation and I relished it, moving on to "adult" novels (get your mind out of the gutter--we're talking books with no pictures) and polishing those off in a day or two because I couldn't wait to get to the end.
But I've got nothing on these mystery readers. Never was in their league. Two, three, four books--more--a week? I don't care if they're written by Dr. Seuss, that's a lot of books. I wouldn't even know where to keep them all, let alone when I'd read them.
So here's to you, voracious mystery readers! Not only do you keep me (sort of) employed and feed my ego, you have my admiration for stamina, interest, and perserverance. Not to mention talent. If I could write the way you read, I'd write at least a book a week, and take weekends off.
I am in awe of you.