Being an author is about connections – with other writers, with people in the business, and most of all with readers. Today I’d like to share the story of one special connection that has enriched my life in measureless ways.
My first novel, MISTRESS OF THE MORNING STAR was published in 1980. A few weeks after the book’s release, I received my very first fan letter. I was so excited. The letter, beautifully and intelligently written, was from a woman named Barbara. She ended the letter by saying, “If you ever get to San Diego I’d love to have you come to dinner.”
It so happened that my then-husband had a brother in Southern California, and we were planning a visit. I accepted her invitation. I’ll never forget walking into that charming Spanish-style home to be greeted by a lovely, slender woman with a long blond ponytail, who cooked the best vegetarian lasagna I’ve ever eaten. A friendship was born. We kept in touch.
We’ve kept in touch for the past thirty years – through multiple moves, successes, heartaches, bereavements, divorces, new beginnings and all the ups and downs that are part of getting through this crazy life.
Let me tell you a little more about my friend. Barbara survived a nightmarish childhood (her mother was mentally ill). Barbara married young and had four children, whom she mostly raised as a single parent, with the help of a long-time boyfriend, Gary. Along the way she discovered some special gifts – a head for business, a talent for making friends and a way of turning whatever she touched into something beautiful. She used these gifts, and her amazing strength, to build a good life for herself and her family.
We’ve spent just a little precious time together. About 1990, after the loss of her partner, I invited Barbara to visit me. I had a brand new Honda Civic, and we took a road trip through the southern Utah parks – two middle aged broads in a hot little red car. Despite the fact that the weather was miserable and Barb’s back went out on the way, we still laugh at the memory. Thelma and Louise minus the Grand Canyon.
A few years ago, newly single and starting over yet again, Barbara started her own web design service. I needed a web site and was delighted to become one of her first clients. Over the years, the beautiful site Barbara Castleman created for me has grown to 42 pages, and www.LadyWebPro.com has become a thriving business. Check it out. Or click my name on the list of Fillies to see her work.
Have you, as a writer or reader, found a friendship that grew from a connection to a book? There must be some great stories out there. I’d love to hear them.