One of the highlights of my writing career is being the Writer in Residence at Jules Besch Stationers in Truro, Massachusetts. The shop, situated in what was originally a schoolhouse dating back to the 1800s, is a charming two-story structure filled with nooks and crannies containing anything and everything a writer could ever want or need.
The owner, Michael Tuck, is a curator of fine paper products, from stationery to writing paper to individual sheets of handcrafted paper and so much more. His love for any antique relating to writing is seen throughout the store by the amazing assortment of bookends, desks, inkwells, and paper knives, among other things.
The mystery writer in me has duly noted those handsome paper knives, which I am sure will be the murder weapon in one of my books.
I confess that I love being a writer because I am at heart someone who loves solitude. Give me a rainy day with no one around, other than maybe my dog, a keyboard or book, and I am in heaven. But writers need feedback, be it praise or criticism, to remain sharp at their craft. Meeting readers at the store who openly share their reactions to
my books has been a privilege, not that it’s all complimentary. I love when a reader comments, “I loved the part when …” because I honestly have no idea what they will say. Sometimes it matches a part of the book I particularly loved writing. Other times, it will be something I don’t even remember writing.
I also value the occasional criticism I receive, which is usually expressed gently and respectfully because no one wants to dis a writer in person. But I valued those who told me about an occasional typo. “Don’t worry. I find them in all the bestsellers. The big publishing houses are the worst offenders.” Somewhat consoled, I still rush to find my error and to email my copyeditor. When someone suggested my protagonist, a former meteorologist, should have been more alert to an oncoming hurricane, I took note to smarten Sabrina up.
One of the main reasons I write is to give to readers the same joy I experienced reading the books of others. Meeting readers who thank me for writing the books they have read and enjoyed is the best gratification for me as a writer, although I would still like to make the NY Times top ten list. While I’m waiting, being Writer in Residence at Jules Besch is perfect.