When I started following people on Twitter, I looked up some of my favorite authors to see if they had accounts, and I was delighted to see some of my literary heroes in the feed afterwards sometimes. It was a little like being in the same room at a party. I didn’t say anything, but I favorited stuff when they posted, and retweeted a couple book promotions, like I would for any other writer I follow.
One of the authors I followed was Robin Hobb, because, well, I think she’s awesome. She’s written quite a few books, but my favorites are still her original Assassin series: Assassin’s Apprentice, Royal Assassin, and Assassin’s Quest. She’s one of the authors whose books remain on my shelves and I take great pleasure in rereading them from time to time. And she writes well enough that I can read to learn from them, too.
So, one evening when I was on, I saw in the feed a message from her, asking who was writing tonight. I figured, okay, that’s general enough to respond to, and I sent a reply saying, “Well, I just finished my Greek myth retelling last night. Will you count that?”
And she replied (!) with, “Sure! What are you retelling, if I may ask?”
At this point, I was nearly hugging myself with joy, because I was in a no-kidding, actual conversation with one of my literary heroes. But I managed to type back, “I retold Bellerophon. I read a lot of myths and that one really stuck with me. Also, it’s the real story of Pegasus.”
And this was the highlight of the conversation for me, when she answered, “Seriously, one of my favorites! Let me know when to watch for it!”
Okay, I really did get up and do a happy dance right then. Maybe she was just being kind, but still! Robin Hobb asked me to let her know when my book was coming out!
I got my fangirl impulses under control enough to type back, “You are so kind! I have to edit, then send to betas, and then query. So not soon, but I’m hopeful nonetheless.”
And she was kind enough to answer, “Persevere. It’s the only writing trick I know. Like knocking holes in a wall with your head sometimes.”
At that point, I favorited it and let it go, because the last thing I wanted to do was to hang on and make her sorry she spoke to me in the first place.
It was really quite kind of her to encourage me like that. She had no particular reason to do so. For all she knew, my Bellerophon draft could be the worst thing to ever hit a literary agent’s desk.
That conversation meant a lot to me. And since it was in the Twitter feed, I could copy it and look back on it whenever I liked.
Nor is she the only one who has been helpful. Lots of writer friends, not quite so famous, have sent me encouraging and thankful tweets. It matters, at least to me. I’m part of a group, and we’re all trying to help each other along.
It really is a terrific feeling.