In light of Valentine’s Day being tomorrow, I wanted to share my love for readers. As a writer, I know readers as sacred, special, but largely invisible people out there in the world. Except sometimes I get a glimpse of them and those moments are so special to me. So here’s to you, dear reader. I’m sending you lots of love this Valentine’s Day.

Dear Reader,

Happy Valentine’s day! This year, you too, are my Valentine. I’ve been very blessed over my career to experience the love of my readers – from young children to elderly adults and everything in between. One of my favorite responses, one of many, was from an elderly gentlemen who reached out to me online. He told me he was a 65 year old retiree who adored children’s stories. They are his favorite types of stories to read. And he’d chosen to read my book, Jason, Lizzy, and the Snowman Village. He couldn’t say enough great things about the story, the characters, the writing, and how much joy the book brought him. He told me he had a new Christmas book favorite. His words delighted me! I’d done it. I’d accomplished what I set out to achieve: to make someone happy with my story. What euphoria!

His words would inspire me to continue the series, even though my books were written for children. Children gave me their feedback too, in their own way. A way so pure it still touches my heart anytime I think about it. After my school presentations, kids would give me high fives as they exited. Oftentimes they couldn’t resist hugging me as they went by. One little girl called me her favorite author. Another called me her hero. Another child looked at me with doe eyes that spoke volumes as she shyly raised her hand from the middle of the room. Hearing ringing laughter in school auditoriums at the funny points of my stories would make me smile and laugh right along with them. Now with COVID, those interactions are the ones I miss the most.

It’s the internet user who emailed me to thank me for my essay, Stop the World, and helping her see her own self-worth. It’s the survivor who is touched by my story about incest suffered at the hand of my father. It’s the fans of my work that make me feel better in those many moments of self-doubt where I wonder whether I have any talent. Whether anyone cares about what I have to say.

So you, dear reader, are very special. You are precious and rare. I hope this Valentine’s Day, you find a book you love, characters you can’t resist, and that you share that love with the author who gave that gift to you. I promise you, it means the world every single time and we can’t ever get enough. In honor of you, I’m going to create a scrapbook of the amazing things my readers have said to me over the years, so I can look at it any time I feel down about my writing.

I love you, Dear Reader, today and every day.