Pub Rants

The Power Of Books

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STATUS: I don’t know why but regardless of how much I accomplish on Friday, Monday morning is about catching up on emails and what’s happening for the rest of the week.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? WINDSWEPT by Bryan Ferry

My author Shanna Swendson got the coolest email from a social worker last week. Apparently, Shanna’s ENCHANTED INC. series helped a stroke victim. The social worker had gotten a call from a woman who had been caring for her elderly mother. This caller’s mom had recently suffered a stroke that had caused the mother to lose her sight and the ability to use the left-hand side of her body. The daughter was really worried because after the stroke, her mother had become depressed and unresponsive.

Then one day the daughter picked up the first book in Shanna’s series, Enchanted, Inc., and begun reading it aloud to her mom. Part way through the story, her mother starting perking up, paying attention, and became animated enough to ask about what happened next. The daughter reported to the social worker that her mom’s outlook since has totally brightened.

How cool is that? As Shanna says, “it’s not exactly a miracle cure, but it’s still touching to realize you’ve had that kind of impact on someone.”

I imagine it’s emails like this that inspire writers to write.

22 Responses

  1. Kasie West said:

    You imagined right. Last week you wrote about the world’s best paid authors and how unlikely having that much success as an author, monetarily speaking, was. But to me, this story was even more motivating than the dollar signs I saw last week. This story could (and if we keep persevering, should) happen to any of us. Thanks for the inspiration to help me write today. Now, I need to get off the Internet and get back to work. 🙂

  2. Maughta said:

    Shanna’s books are awesome. I recommend them to all of my urban fantasy/chicklit/young adult readers at the library and everyone enjoys them.

  3. Sarah said:

    My grandfather called me one day near the end of his life (he died at 98) to tell me how much a book I’d written meant to him. He was practically deaf at that point, so I mostly listened while he told me how the book had set him thinking about his life, and it made him happy. I settled for shouting “I love you too Grandpa!” into the phone. That one phone call made it all worth it.

  4. Elissa M said:

    Wow. That is way cool. I certainly don’t write with the idea I might impact someone’s life that way, but I can’t think of anything (including money and prizes) that would make me feel better about my work. Good for Shanna.

  5. JES said:

    Whoa! I know you don’t usually do follow-ups in the comments, but I’d love to know if this surprised the social worker — if being read to is a common, well, palliative for stroke?

  6. Joanne said:

    This is also a great example of the power of the internet. Email is so accessible, allowing the social worker to communicate easily with the author. She might not have taken the time to do so if she had to write a letter, envelope, mail it, etc, and the author would never have known. What a communication device …

  7. melissablue13 said:

    You are correct in your assumption. The first fan mail I received–not from a family member, friend, or writing associate–I printed out and placed on my wall near my writing area. Some day you just can’t find the point to put words to a page. Some days it really does feel like you are throwing your words into a black hole.

    But then you get some fan-mail.

  8. Angie said:

    That’s an awesome story, seriously. If I got an e-mail like that, I’d be walking six inches off the ground for at least a week. 😀


  9. Becky said:

    I love to read inspiring books. A book that I just finished reading, which inspired me greatly is “Recovering Charles,” by Jason Wright. It is a great heart warming story that centers around the events of Hurricane Katrina. I can’t even fathom what those poor people had to go through. I just want to say to Shanna… good work in making a difference in this person’s life! I haven’t ever read any of your books, but am certainly going to look into them now!

  10. AC Gaughen said:

    As a writer, I think that it’s true, that’s the ultimate inspiration and recompense, more so than the billions of dollars to the select few writers you blogged about last week. (Not that I’d turn down the billions.)

    And, incidentally, I’m totally going to read that series now. Thanks!

  11. Ryan Field said:

    After all the hard work and worry and everything else, this is the kind of thing that really does make it worth while.

    Thanks for posting that.

  12. Dawn Firelight said:

    From a reader’s perspective:

    The first time I got onto the internet (at the grand ol’ age of 18), the first thing I did was send a fan message to a writer whose novels I loved. I had been suffering severe depressive episodes and there were days when her books were the only thing that pulled me from the brink of suicide. I explained that in my message and thanked her for it.

    The writer later wrote back to say that letters like mine were the type that all writers dreamed of receiving. That was the first time in my life someone I admired, an idol, a WRITER, actually noticed my existence! That was also the first time in my life I realised that ‘celebrities’ 😉 are human too. I was so thrilled, I printed out her reply (with my original letter) and stuck it in my journal. I still have it and someday, I will use it to show my kids the kind of miracles a single individual can accomplish.