The Dear Reader Letter – Now With Lies And Humiliation

February 13th, 2007 · 4 Comments
by Jill Monroe

It’s been a little over two years when Booksquare suggested I blog over here. It was December 2004. My first book was out, and BS thought people might want to read about a first time author’s trials and tribulations. Or maybe she didn’t think I’d really do it and has been secretly laughing about it behind her hand all this time.

So, some of you have suffered under my first attempts at writing a blog including my horrible efforts with adding tags, links and quotes. (Believe me, this used to be a lot harder.) I’ve shared the first time I received a bad review. The time when at a booksigning someone asked if my book were crap and a bunch more first time experiences which are now all wrapped under BS’s tag of Jill’s First Blog.

Despite the voice in my head yelling, “MISTAKE!” I now have my own blog, and usually reserve it for embarrassing myself like with my fashion sense or my fascination with the mullet.

Booksquare suggested I come back and blog again. My third book, Hitting the Mark, has hit the shelves, so I guess I’m ready to tackle BS’s blog once more. She’s even told me in a private message she’s impressed with my ability to link, tag and quote within a post. But I won’t tell her that I do it all in blogger, then copy and paste over here to make it work right.

Despite the four previous paragraphs…here’s my real post:

For every book I’ve written (a whopping 3), I’ve written a “Dear Reader” letter. This is a newsy little note at the beginning of a book that is probably there to connect the reader emotionally with the author. The thing about it – no one should want that from me. I don’t even want to be connected to me emotionally. Not that horror show.

Truthfully, I’d prefer to write birthday thank you notes over this (and if you ever talk to my mother, you’ll know just how hard these are to get out of me). Writing the “Dear Reader” letter is a torment and I can’t for any reason figure out why. Although for Booksquare’s sake, I’ll just go with I prefer to make up stuff. Which is basically what I did in my reader letter for Hitting The Mark – I even challenged people to find which thing I said is actually the truth. In fact, lying in my Dear Reader letter was so much fun, I think I’m going to do it from now on.

The first time I had to write one of these I asked a few of my fellow writers, and the best advice given was to tell how I came up with the idea to write the book in an engaging way. Great advice yes – but the engaging is the hard part. As evidenced by my Dear Reader letters from my first two books. To be honest, writing is usually pretty boring. A lot of staring off into space. Looking at the blinking cursor. Considering cleaning my keyboard and avoiding the urge to surf. Trying to make that engaging is an agony.

Besides, I’m not sure anyone really wants to know where the germ of the idea for Hitting The Mark first sprung.

It was grad school. Being with a close-knit group of other students all new to the city, we ended up having the same hairdresser. She was great with hair and inexpensive as she was trying to build up her client list. BUT you had to listen to her stories. Let me tell you, the woman had stories.

She came by her career later in life and had a wealth of experiences that to this 22 year-old Okie girl were amazing. It wasn’t until all of us students were sitting around eating our lunchables (which I can’t believe I made most of meals of) that we realized every holiday season she had a new male humiliation tale to share. Gems like the superglued penis. The embarrassed trip to the emergency room due to a vengeful act from a woman upset her lover fell asleep during sex. Or the favorite one night stand kidney removal story. It had all become a holiday tradition. Ahhh, the days before Snopes.

And one December afternoon, she told me a story that has never left me. As she tells it, one of her friends (or clients – who remembers these details?) found out her husband/boyfriend was cheating on her. So, she dressed in really sexy lingerie, seduced him into allowing her to tie him up, and then threatened him with her curling iron. I think this was my hairdresser’s favorite part of the story because she was, after all a hairdresser and could probably really appreciate crime with a curling iron. Then, the woman calmly dressed and left the bedroom, leaving him tied up with an increasingly heating curling iron in a place sure to burn.

After hearing that story, I thought yes, there’s a romance novel in there!

Some years later, I start writing a new book with a woman tying up a man and leaving…and now Hitting The Mark is in stores (minus the curling iron).

So, no. I didn’t include that story in my Dear Reader letter. I chose to lie. And I think it’s a better Dear Reader letter for it.

File Under: Jill's First Blog

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