Monday, July 31, 2017

Who am I writing for?

I was once interviewed by a popular and talented local radio guy who had just had his memoir published. He asked me if Dave read my books, and specifically, had he read BUT I TOLD YOU LAST YEAR THAT I LOVED YOU ?

I told him that Dave never reads my books. For one thing, he never reads any kind of fiction, and for another, he wants me to be free to write whatever I want without censorship, and if I knew he was going to read it, it might hamper me and spoil the book. 

The interviewer wasn't happy with this answer: he tried to whip up a problem, implying that Dave didn't care for me or my writing. I insisted on the truth - that Dave has always been my biggest cheerleader, both in terms of moral support, and also practically. He encouraged me to give up my job to concentrate on writing (and he typeset the two books I self published - though I didn't mention this because some people look down on self-published books.)

Then I found out what the interviewer's beef was: his brother had refused to both read his memoir and to come to his book launch. He was clearly aggrieved at this and I believe he thought it showed that his brother didn't care about him.

I've been thinking about this, because last time I spoke to my big sister and she asked about my writing I said she wouldn't like the new book, and neither would my other sister. My elder brother might. I'm not sure about my younger one. My beloved sibs' views on my published books range from huge enjoyment to the view from one that my fictional alter ego, Sally Howe (she of Plotting for Beginners and Plotting for Grown-ups), is a 'silly bitch.' But all my sibs are as morally and practically supportive as any writer could wish, just like Dave. The one who despised Sally H kindly proofread the ms of But I Told You Last Year That I Loved You for me. I'm a very lucky dodo.

So who am I writing for?

Kurt Vonnegut advised young writers to: 

Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.

I have one reader in mind, and when the book's done I'll tell her who she is. Though I might not be sharing the news with you. But having written it with her in mind, I hope that all of you will enjoy it - of course!


Anonymous said...

I can't get my head round this. I don't understand how you cope with Dave not reading your books. But I also don't understand how he could typeset a book and not read it. Jenetta

Sue Hepworth said...

That's just how it is.
And as for the typesetting - all I can say is that he has a very unusual brain.

Sue Hepworth said...

Actually, Jenetta, I can imagine typesetting a book and not reading it - apart from the occasional sentence.

Sue Hepworth said...

When I say typesetting, I mean formatting to be printed as a book. I don't mean typing.