Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Thoughts from Anna Schmidt about connections…


Writing can be a solitary occupation so when notes from readers come via electronic or snail mail I have to admit that I eagerly tear into them…at last contact with the ‘real’ world!!! I am blessed to receive such missives on a fairly regular basis, and they are always bright spots in my day (even when the sender has something that has upset them about my book!).  My favorites are, of course, those that tell me how a certain character’s challenges connected with them in some way and I always love it when a reader suggests that I tell a minor character’s story (although it isn’t always easy to persuade the publishers to be as enthusiastic about giving that character his or her own book).

I also connect with the ‘real world’ via my research. Today, for example, I spent three hours reading actual letters, transcripts, and reports about the life (and death) of Mildred Fish Harnack—the only American woman put to death at the direct order of Hitler. Fascinating stuff and when you realize that this life that reads like a novel actually happened, it raises all sorts of questions about how I (or you) would have acted under similar circumstances.  Having been a history major in college, I actually love doing research—reading files as I did today, going to actual settings and walking where those who lived that special history once walked.

Finally, I connect via conversation with friends and new acquaintances and shopkeepers and wait-staff and others. I am fascinated by the diversity of opinions and ideas available through what may seem a very simple – and even conventional-- exchange. I write stories for one reason: because I believe that by looking at a situation through the eyes of fictional characters who are themselves a composite of many real people I’ve met over the course of my life I and my readers might find some truth—some ah-ha moment (as Oprah might say) that will enrich our lives. Connecting through communicating—what a concept!!! 

All best, Anna

2 comments:

  1. I liked your post, Anna! A very interesting thought and very important!

    Valri westernaz@msn.com

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  2. I love research too. I'm going to have to Google the woman Hitler ordered put to death.

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