I hear you!
The notes you send have a huge impact on me. The most obvious instance occurred in June, soon after Sweet Salt Air came out. One reader said she thought the book started too slowly. I promptly turned to my work-in-progress, reread the opening with a critical eye, then switched Chapters 1 and 2 so that the reader learns the opening plot twist sooner. It wouldn’t have worked for Sweet Salt Air. But it did work here.
I’ve always loved communicating with readers. Way back, it was mostly by snail mail. Now it’s through Facebook and my website, and if I don’t answer, it’s usually because there was no question asked! Just the fact of your taking the time to write to me makes me feel good. The overwhelming response to my SPEEDY BD SURVEY of 8/6 was the best birthday gift I could have ever received! I thank you all for that.
There’s always more mail when a new book comes out, but some of the comments coming lately have been so cool that I want to share a few. To set the scene, take a look at the new cover photo on my Facebook page. Those Adirondack chairs? That crystal-clean lake and blue sky? Pines, day lilies, astilbes? Put these things together, and you have GETAWAY, which is what my books represent, which is why they come out in the summer.
You all get that. You mention where you sat while you were reading Sweet Salt Air. Front porch? Back porch? Bath tub filled with bubbles? Poolside? Beach? Generalizing here, what are some of the interesting places you’ve been while reading a book?
Some of you talk about seeing a particular spot and having the details of a book you were reading there rush back. Has that ever happened to you? It happens to me as a writer. When we’re driving through the New Hampshire lakes region and pass the road to the Rockywold-Deep Haven camp on Squam Lake, I’m back on its shore hearing my very first loon and feeling the conception of Lake News.
One of you sent a photo of your cat reading Sweet Salt Air when you set it down for a minute. Another sent a photo of a dragonfly taking a rest on the book, another of Sweet Salt Air nestled in seashells. Clearly, this particular book works with the great outdoors. Are you able, say, to read a book at a noisy pool or a sandy beach? Do certain books lend themselves to particular reading situations? Would you want to read this book in front of a fireplace?
Many book groups have read Sweet Salt Air but you don’t have to be in a book group to discuss it with others. Do you ever do this? Or do you like to hold your thoughts on a book close until you’ve properly digested them?
As I look back on your comments, though, the one that gets me really thinking is “beach read.” I asked about this in another recent SBDS, but would love to talk about it here. What is a beach read? Obviously we don’t have to be at the beach to read a beach read, but it’s a term that crops up every summer to describe books that take us out of our lives for a brief time. A beach read isn’t so dense that you don’t know what half the words mean. It isn’t so heavy that it casts a pall on your life for days. Rather, it leaves you with a sense of renewal.
At least, that’s how I define it. Do you agree, disagree, want to think about it more?
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I’m a big fan (how often have you heard tt?!) and currently enjoying Sweet Salt Air! Beach reads are for those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer! (I think that’s a song!)…
I have a question maybe you can help me with. I’m working on an autobiography with a dear friend and we’re nearing the end. I had contacted several small-type publishers as this is a piece for family members and close friends early-on in the process. In contacting these sites again, I find the numbers disconnected! That scared me in sending off all this hard work to someone who might go out of business.
Would your staff have any ideas on how to locate a small, publishing company? Much appreciate any suggestions.
JoAnne, thanks so much for your wonderful note. I wish, in response, that I could make suggestions about small publishers, but truly I do not know the names of any, much less ones to recommend. The best I can suggest is that you go into a book store, brows the shelves for books that are similar in genre to yours, and write down the names of their publishers. If you’re looking to self-publish, that’s another matter — and one I know even LESS about. I’m so sorry. Good luck with it, though. BD
Hello Barbara, First, I love your books! Second, I totally agree with your definition of a ‘beach read’. A book that I consider a ‘beach book’ is also a book that transports me to learn about a new place where I’ve never had the opportunity to travel but through the author’s descriptions, I can perfectly envision the setting as the characters evolve in the presentation of their story. For example, Lake News. 🙂 Part of my reaction/review on Goodreads shared, “This book is absolutely beautifully written – the vocabulary an artistic display and the story current beyond expectation….Thank goodness for vacations when we take the time to read outside of our normal comfort zones. There are unexpected treasures everywhere if you take the time to open the covers.” The reason this book was initially out of my comfort zone as I also explained in the review was due to the edition of the book that a friend had shared, “I’ve had this book on my reading pile for awhile and I kept setting it aside. For some reason, as the majority of my reading is at night before bedtime, I generally tend to shy away from hard cover and trade paperbacks due to the size and weight. But since it was vacation time, I decided to take this one with me and what a delightful reading surprise.” This to me is also a ‘beach book’. 🙂 Many thanks for a fabulous read!!
Hello JoAnne, I am in the process of looking for a method to self-publish my Father’s poetry. It has been a dream of mine for a long, long time and I am finally at a point where I can pursue taking actions to make the dream a reality. I am looking for assistance as you are. At this time, I have a conference call set up next week with CreateSpace for a publishing consultation. CreateSpace is through Amazon. I’m also going to speak with several friends that have self-published fiction novels to learn through their experiences. A former coworker, Harriet Ottenstein published, “Memories of a Jewish Childhood (Volume 1) (Paperback)” – available on Amazon. I purchased a copy, wrote a review on Amazon but I haven’t had a chance to discuss her publishing experience. Best Wishes with your project!!
I published LOON COVE through CreateSpace in August of 2010. I’m now working on my second project and plan to use them again because they’ve refined their review process and it’s even easier than before. You can take a peek at the results by going to Amazon or my website. Good luck!
I loved the escape I found in Sweet Salt Air. That complete escape from my life into another life that is so enjoyable to read and easy to relate to is my perfect “beach read”.
I read it with my book club in July and since I liked it from the start, I asked my sister to read it with me. She loved the island in it too and could easily imagine herself walking down that road from Nicole’s house at night. We could feel the sea salt air, see the beach, and feel that quaint island community feeling. We loved it! We both said we could live on that island.
I finished the last 5-6 chapters on Galveston Island, although I really didn’t need the ocean view to add to the book. I actually took a picture of my view while reading it too. If you’d like to have a copy of that pic, let me know how I can send it to you.
Thanks for a great summer book! We can’t wait to read another.
I bought your book and saved it for my “up north at a cabin” summer vacation, which I just returned from yesterday. The reason I saved it is because I wanted it for one of my “beach reads’. To me, a beach read is a book that you just fall into, that is fun to read with some drama, but not so heavy that it leaves you depressed. One that you love the characters and don’t want it to end. Just a YUMMY book. You did not disappoint, it was a great book! And yes, I will think of it when I am back there next year. Just like certain scents bring back memories, when I go to a certain spot I remember reading the book I was reading the last time I was there. Thank you for your wonderful art- keep it up!!
Hi Barbara … Back somewhere in the early 2000’s I read “The Vineyard” and loved it so much it brought me back to reading after a lengthy hiatus. I wrote you about that and was thrilled when you published my letter on your website and sent me a t-shirt saying “Barbara Delinsky likes my writing” !!!
I’m saving “Sweet Salt Air” for our 2 weeks at Fort Myers Beach in October. We have a wonderful porch right on the beach which I think will be the perfect setting. I confess I buy books now on Kindle and it posed the question for me whether it is more appreciated by an author if we buy the actual books or the Kindle editions? Or does it even matter?
For Jo Anne Bishop, I wonder if she’s considering publishing her book on Amazon Kindle? That’s what I’m doing with a series of non-fiction I wrote (a view of life from our dog’s perspective). It’s a great option when getting published is just too great a challenge.
Looking forward to “Sweet Salt Air”!!! And thanks again for your wonderful fiction.
First, I want to thank you for being so wonderful to us while finally having the opportunity to meet you at the book signing at Innisfree Books at the Mills Falls Marketplace. It was truly a highlight of the summer! Sweet Salt Air was my “beach read” while at Seabrook Beach this year. For me a beach read is a book that is “light” enough to not be overwhelming to the psyche, but still has all the qualities to keep you glued to to it. Believeabilty of characters, subject matter relative to todays issues and, most of all, feeling like you are actually in the setting. Immersed among the sounds and scents of the story while still being aware of your current surroundings. Thank you for always taking me to “that place”!
To read Sweet Salt Air on the beach I traveled this summer 1500 miles. It was the best beach day ever.
My beach reads have to be long enough to last the week (I’m a speed reader so Harlequin’s are out); have great characters, great plot, and catch me at the get go! A lot to ask from a book. Lake News is a favorite, I keep reading and rereading it! The Vineyard is also a keeper. I have them both in hardcover, as I find my kindle is less readable on the beach. When I’m hanging out by the pool, however, I use the kindle with the Audible versions of my beach reads. Oddly enough the books I love in print, I love in audio book and keep listening to the same over and over. my one big exception is Janet Evanovitch – I can’t read her in print – the voice that I read with isn’t compatible. But when I listed to her audiobooks, with the right voice talent – and there is one that I don’t really care for – her books are so funny and captivating. Go figure!
I read Sweet Salt Air while swinging in the hammock of the porch of my family’s 125 year old cabin above Lake Canandaigua in Western NY. What a sweet read. I love all your books and wait for each new one with delight and much anticipation for the journey you will take me on. Many thanks for your talent and heart!
I absolutely relished reading Sweet Salt Air. It was a constant tantalization of my senses. It reminded me a little of another book you wrote- Flirting with Pete. I could read those books again and again. I love that genre of story. Please oh please keep them coming. I love your island stories, they truly are a luxury to read. I would comment more on specifics but don’t want to spoil it for anyone. If you have any other recommendations on any of your other books like those that I might have missed, I would love to read about them. I am still working through some of your older books but I read the newer ones as soon as they are out.
I wanted to tell you how the first book I read of yours made me a huge fan! It was An Accidental Woman and had been recommended by Oprah’s magazine. I loved it and was quite happily surprised to find that it had a prequel in Lake News. Coast road was my second and from that point you had me hook line and sinker. I scoured my local libraries to find every title of your that I could. I bought many titles from second hand stores and Amazon.
I am truly thankful that you decided to enter into this career because you have made many of your fans truly happy with your work. Thank you so very much!
Speaking of careers, how was it that you switched to being a full time author and how did you begin your writing craft?
All best to you!!
ps. I am so sorry I didn’t edit my comments before hitting the post comment button – I would have capped the R in road and placed a comma after hook. 🙁
I am reading your book now and so far enjoying very much. I was curious to know the author of the book called
SALT that both women are reading in your novel and is your favorite book,
Thank You, Carol
Keep reading, Carol …
I just finished Sweet Salt Air, it’s almost midnight here in Oregon, and as I did years ago when I read Coast Road, I wanted to write to you. You were so kind back then to send me back a note (which I still have). Coast Road inspired me to go to Big Sur and the book is to me like an old friend. I’ve read it many times and still pull it out when I need to go somewhere comfortable, if only in my mind. I like SSA too, making me want to visit an island like Quinnipeague, although having family on Cape Cod I can find a version of sweet salt air there. SSA has the distinction of a paragraph I will write out and ponder – the one about sea shadows – sometimes you have to be the one to move so you can see more clearly. That’s what my life has been about in the last few years, being willing to move so that I CAN see. Thank you for one more word of wisdom.
I do have one question – these men you write about (like Leo)… have you met some? or are they just a fiction we women create? Tell me there’s one in your life, please 🙂 I’m smiling as I write. Oh how I wish I could meet my own Leo. I’m 57 and sometimes wonder if that part of life has passed me by. I’m still dreaming though! that’s a good thing! And it’s a beautiful thing to still have hope. Thanks for reminding me with your words. Best wishes, Francesca
Francesca, my husband is very different from Leo. He always jokes that the men in my book are the anti-him, though we’ve been married a long time, so he’s clearly doing something right. I do hear you, though, and this issue of life passing us by (or not) is part of my next book. I’ve only just begun writing it, so it won’t be out until 2015, but I think you’ll identify with it. In the meanwhile, hang in there, and thanks for your kind words about COAST ROAD!
Thanks for the note back. I’ll be looking forward to your next book! (always do) You’re making me wonder if it’s about people a little bit older – like me. I may be in my 50s but there’s a lot of life left in me. It’s not so much that life has passed me by, but more that love has – at least the kind I want. Nevertheless, I’m going to work on being the kind of person I want in my life and maybe somewhere out there is a guy who’s thinking the same thing. Your husband may not be exactly like Leo but you didn’t say that he said you were wrong in your depiction. Some have tried to tell me there ARE no men like Leo. I don’t want to believe them. Thanks again for answering. Blessings, Francesca
I enjoyed reading Sweet Salt Air very much. I have read most of your books and can visualize the people and their lives and the scene. Always glad when stories have a happy ending.
To me a beach read is any book that takes me away from the day to day grind. One that I can’t stand to put down but don’t want to end. When it does end I want to “miss” the characters being a part of my daily life. I read slow, mainly because I want to savor the few minutes I have to read and I want the story to last. I’m picky about what I read. Once I find an Author that I like I want to read more of their work. I’ve read everything you’ve written as well few others. For some reason I prefer female writers although I do have a few men that I read. Also I prefer books about the South or New England, and first time authors intrigue me. I may just read their first book but I have to see how they write and how much the research shows through..
As I’ve told you in the past you are my all time favorite because I learn from your books. Your books make me want to know more about a place or a subject. I’ve enjoyed watching you grow as an author and go from romance author to a main stream author. I hope to enjoy many more years of your work. ‘
What better way to start the day than a nice sweet tea and hearing from our beautiful top 30?