Being an author isn't always about getting the words down, although that is the most important part. Once the words are down and out in the wild, people like to talk to you about them, particularly if the words in question are a bit controversial.
I've been fortunate to have a few opportunities to speak publically about The Yearning and the taboo relationship the novel explores. Perhaps its because I'm new at this, or maybe it's a product of different audiences, each time I stand up to speak in front of a group of fellow readers, the book reveals something new to me.
While writing a novel, I don't analyse it too much. It loses its zing if scrutinised too closely. But afterwards, when there is distance between myself and my book, it's amazing what new insights arise, and more often than not they arise from other people's reading of the work.
Which is why I'm learning to love the scary experience of public appearances. I love the questions people ask and the discussion that erupts spontaneously from them. I love being privy to the unique observations of individual readers. And I'm ever grateful to readers for sharing the things they see in the work that perhaps I hadn't noticed.
It's a particular kind of intimacy shared between reader and author. Feelings are exchanged, along with personal insights and understandings. Even though we are strangers to each other, sharing powerful ideas through written words brings us together and binds us in surprising ways.
So if you are a reader and lover of books, I encourage you to venture beyond the boundaries of the pages and interact with the authors whose writing moves you. Go to writers festivals and in-person author events. Be bold, ask questions, share thoughts and enjoy the exchange of ideas. You never know what you might discover.