When someone reads my book and writes a stellar review or takes the time to message me their thoughts, that, for me, is what it is really all about. When a reader becomes emotionally invested in the lives of my characters, their joys and their sorrows, their losses and their triumphs, that is what thrills me most.
I've received messages from readers who would not continue, unless I assured them that Jack and Emma get together in the end or that something that has happened in Message on the Wind hasn't really happened. I've been begged for more, with regard to Mouse and Shadow, Jack and Emma, and Ellie and Alex. Readers have begun, intending to read one chapter, and finished the story in one sitting because they couldn't put it down. I've had people tell me they have re-read and re-read the stories, as they find more pleasure with each visit to Ravenwood, Emma's garden, and Broken Ridge. I've had fan art created based on two artists' love of my stories, Acorn Tops and Jessie J Inspirations, something that I thought only happened to writers like Diana Gabaldon! And, they speak of my characters as if they were real living, breathing individuals whose lives began and continue before and after the first and last pages of my books.
My characters are real to me. I have lived with them for a very long time. They speak to me regularly. I have a great deal of my own emotion invested in each and every one of them because they came from me. Where inside me they were germinated, I hardly know. But they are mine and I love them. The greatest thrill for me is when you love them as much as I do.