The sweetest words that an author hears are when someone says "oh, you write those Romance novels I'm so fond of" or "Just read your crime novel and loved it" or anything in a similar vein. It just makes all the hours of hard work, editing, re-editing the editing, struggling with the plot, having a really bad day - or days - and having a really good day - or days, when all goes right and the writing flows.
These -ahem - deep thoughts cross my mind recently when I met two readers who had read both my Sergeant Murray crime fiction books (written under my pen name P.B. Barry) and my Sunshine Cafe Romance novels which I wrote as Peggy O'Mahony. It really did give me a lift, especially as I was having a hard time getting part of the plot of my third Sergeant Murray mystery to gel into a suitable shape.
Authors are very sensitive creatures, I think. We constantly need encouragement, we need to know that yes, there are people out there who enjoy reading what we write. It's the human condition, isn't it? the need for reassurance, even if, like me, I write for the fun of it and not for fame or fortune. Of course it would be nice to have a list of best-sellers to my name and to appear at book launches and sign my name on my books for all the adoring fans, but that isn't going to happen and I'm not sure if it would suit me if it did. Being a self-published author, I can choose my own time to write (no pressure!) or not to write. I am not tied to any deadline. I do work hard to make my novels as good as possible and I am a very harsh critic of my own work, but aside from that, I don't let it dominate who I am or what I do. It's just great fun to spin these tales and invent this little world inside my head.
But when someone comes up to me and says they loved my novel, well, that's a very special feeling and one I wouldn't swap for anything.