Monday, November 17, 2014

The Agony of that First Reader’s Call

"Don't answer it!"
I had tasted the joy of publication and my first book had been out several months.  There was no better feeling.

One day the phone rang.

“Is this, Cindy?” a man asked.

“Yes, it is.”

“I’ve read your book, Legacy of Lies.”

There was a long pause.  I gulped hard.  He didn’t say whether he liked the book or not.  My heart physically hurt in my chest.  My fear prevented me from asking what he thought of my writing.  I waited in trepidation.

“I know the area you wrote about well.”

I fell into my desk chair, trembling.  My life passed before my eyes.  No.  I didn’t think I was dying.  My life had been fraught with negative experiences where I was tormented by individuals who got me into trouble for things that I had said and even things that I had never said.

I fidgeted with the notepad on my desk and dropped my pencil.  Sweat sprouted out all over my body.  I couldn’t control my trembling.  I still couldn’t bear to ask him what he thought.  I felt like he had caught me in a lie.  Yes, I had been through the country I had written about, even camped there many times.  But, what did I know?  Even if I’d done extensive research, I wasn’t a mining expert.

His silence was driving me to the edge of my nerves.  I wanted to slam the phone down.  My fingers trembled against my forehead.  He began telling me about his professional experience working in the area.  Paranoia gripped me.  I couldn’t actually comprehend what he was saying.  Every negative experience I had been through raced through my mind as quickly as my heart was beating.

I decided I would never write another book.  I’d talk to my publisher and see if they would cancel my contract.  I finally realized I hadn’t heard a word my caller had said.  I forced myself to listen.

“You did a great job.  I really felt like I was there.”

I was speechless.  I took a deep breath and shakily exhaled.  Really?  He wasn’t going to accuse me of anything?

“Well, thank you,” I said, almost in tears.

The call ended, and I rushed to the bed to lie down.

My fears still get the better of me sometimes, but I’m learning.  And isn’t that what life is all about?

Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet Romance, Humor, Suspense...and Dogs!
Fly into a good book at:

Copyright of dog photo: damedeeso / 123RF Stock Photo


  1. Does it not scare you that a stranger called you on the phone? I'd be more afraid of some Fatal Attraction type of thing. - Tracy Vin

    1. That would have been especially terrifying, Tracy. I happened to know this reader, but even though I did, my life experiences made me so fearful that I couldn't control myself. You are definitely putting yourself out there when you become a writer. I've had other equally frightening experiences, bit I try to protect myself the best I can. Even before I became a writer, I had two experiences with stalkers. Thanks for commenting.


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