by Kathy Cannon Wiechman
As a writer of historical fiction, I have certain responsibilities. I have to work hard at research and make historical events and details accurate. I have to put a reader into the time and place I write about.
I also have the responsibility to tell an engaging story, to create characters a reader will care about, and use the best words possible to make that character live and breathe. The plot has to be believable and filled with turn-the-page moments. When readers pick up a book, they put a certain amount of trust into an author’s ability to make the read worth the time they invest.
For all my years of writing, I have tried my best to live up to these responsibilities. But the readers I originally hoped to reach have moved on, and a new group of readers has filled their chairs. I didn’t have readers yet; I had hoped-for readers. But I tried to write as though my stories would be read.
After I signed the contract for my Civil War novel LIKE A RIVER, I began a new set of revisions for my editor. I also received a check for the first half of my advance. People were investing money in me and my book. I finally had something that could actually reach those hoped-for readers. Talk about responsibility. It made me tackle those revisions with a new awareness of an author’s true responsibility.
LIKE A RIVER will be released in a few months, and readers can decide if I have lived up to the trust they and my publisher have invested. It is not something I take lightly.