Jessica finished reading the two chapters I have written of The Mercy Hour and came into my room to clarify something. I was already in bed, lights off, grogginess settling over me. “Okay, this Renee girl is great, but how many heads does she have?” I could not stop laughing out loud. Apparently I’d written that this girl waved her “heads” in front of her, rather than her hands. I’m pretty sure this typo will be referenced repeatedly as Jessica gradually reads the book.
I love having Jess along for the journey of writing my novels. (I also love that I get to put an “s” at the end of “novel” now.) She was my only reader until the first draft of Full of Days was complete. It was torture for her because I’d give her several chapters to read every few months and then she’d have to wait through another extended period of time to find out what happens next. What a trooper. I realize that it is to the author’s great benefit to have some folks who can read the manuscript with an unbiased, critical eye, but I am also confident that it’s to my benefit to have Jess around to read it, especially during the long process of writing it. Her excitement and anticipation to read what I’ve written is edifying, to say the least. There are days when I look back over what I’ve written and wonder if I’m fooling myself to believe I can do this. Her enjoyment of my rough, freshly penned pages builds up my faith for the long haul.
She is your mirror, shining back at you with a world of possibilities. She is your witness, who sees you at your worst and best, and loves you anyway. She is your partner in crime, your midnight companion, someone who knows when you are smiling, even in the dark. – Barbara Alpert