Saturday, October 04, 2008

Hello Houston or one of the reasons why I love my job

I admit that for the past couple of weeks I haven't enjoyed being a writer. Well, no, that's perhaps not exactly accurate.

For the past month or so I've found it difficult being a writer. There have been too many other demands on my time. too many pressures from here there and everywhere. These wouldn't matter if they hadn't combined with the dreaded crows of doubt pecking away at me. Probably because of those time pressures and other things - and as a result, this book hasn't been the easiest to write.

But I'm always very aware of the fact that for the past few weeks have been much harder in many ways - and an email I received this morning reminded me of that.

Remember the Super September Contest? The one where Michelle Reid and I celebrated having books out together in September? The prize was signed copies of our books - and by coincidence, both winners lived in Texas. The name of my winner was Gladys.

I packed up the prize books and posted them. I always love doing that. It gives me a thrill to think of the parcel travelling all the way the Wherever and brightening the day of the person who receives it. But a couple of days later I was starting to wonder about this parcel. Would it reach Gladys? And, more important, would she be there to receive it.

And that was because of Ike.

Remember Ike? Hurricane Ike who hit Texas around September 13th - with Houston, where Gladys lives, right in its path.

It's the sort of thing that brings it home to you. Knowing that Gladys, one of my readers was in Houston when Ike hit, makes it more personal, more immediate. Here in the UK we had some nasty weather but we got on with life and Ike is just a memory - something we heard on the news. A hurricane that is now over with. Not for Houston and everywhere else affected.

A couple of days ago, I got an email from Gladys - she had been without water, phone, electricity - without eletricity for two weeks. And once she had power again and could, plug her computer in she wrote to let me know the prize books had arrived. She also told me about life with Ike

- 7 to 10 inches of rain in a night, roofs torn off, 2,500,000 homes without power. If she went to the store - once they opened - there was just enough generators to run cash registers (but not enough for lights), so they had to wait in line at the door and store clerks would take them in one or two at a time and walk them around to shop with their flashlights.

Gladys said "you can't imagine the debris still waiting to be picked up in Houston. It seems that every yard has a mountain of stuff out by the curb. We lost thousands of trees, wooden fences, roofs, etc. "

But - and here's the bit that really made me smile. In the middle of all this, with no power even for a cup of coffee, no lighting, in the middle of all that chaos and mess - Gladys told me that she read Bedded By The Greek Billionaire by flashlight and loved it.

And that's the bit the makes me love this job, even when its tough going and the words won't come and the Crows of Doubt are pecking away at my confidence. It's the thought of one of my books going into the hands of someone who's having it pretty tough, at a moment of crisis, and providing a bright spot in the middle of all the nasties, a small retreat from the hardships and discomforts. The thought of Gladys in the devastation of Houston being able to find some relaxation and enjoyment in the words I'd written really made my day.
When I create a story here at my desk I never know where or when someone might pick it up under difficult circumstances and find in it a respite from what life is throwing at them right then. But it's a wonderful thought to think it can happen. I may never know about any others, in places or at times that I'll never learn about. But I do know about Gladys and she's the sort of person I'm writing about. The ones who make me smile - and when the critics and the sneerers scorn light romance and its readers, I'll think of Gladys and be even more proud of what I do.


Jan Jones said...

Oh, Kate, that's wonderful. Sorry you've been having a tough time. (((hugs)))

Anonymous said...

Great story, Kate. I have a lot of friends in Houston who are just now getting their electricity back. According to the news there are still 300 people unaccounted for. Even living four hours away it's hard to imagine what those people are going through.

Sorry you've been having a hard time. Looking forward to getting your next release here in the States.


Heather R. said...

Oh, that's so sweet! I lived through a tornado in 1996 that devastated TN in so many levels. It was an emotionally trying time and I know that for a long time after you're eye was always on the weather and what measure you had to take to stay alive.

Hurricanes, in my opinion, are on so many levels worse because of the water (flooding) and the winds are often stronger. You not only have to worry about being blown away, you have to worry about drowning. I hate to hear about Gladys being in the path, but I'm so happy she's safe.

Having now read Bedded by the Greek Tycoon I can definitely agree with her about loving the book!

Hope you're spirits continue to rise!

Heather R.


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