I’m thankful for each of my novels that has found its way to publication. Of course, I appreciate the income from sales, but there’s another element that is much more special than dollars. It’s learning that my books have affected lives in a positive way. Here’s an excerpt from a note from a young lady named Stephanie:
“The main reason why I’m emailing you is about my little brother becoming a reader. He’s 10 now and has not been a reader at all… although I’ve tried very hard to help make that happen. He’s also never just picked up a book and read it for fun—until just recently when he picked up Gunner’s Run from one of my various bookshelves. He looked at it for a little bit, then just started reading it—and now he’s finished it.
“When he first started it, I thought that it would be too hard for him to understand or too long for his short attention span, but I didn’t say anything to him and now he’s proven me wrong. He kept updating me on the part he was at and what he thought about it. He really enjoyed it! And it’s either the first or one of the first books that he’s read on his own accord and enjoyed. So, I just wanted to tell you that story and thank you for writing a book that would introduce my little brother to the joy of reading.”
I was amazed enough that a 10-year-old could read a book that I’d written for young adults and adults. (The oldest reader I know of was a World War 2 veteran.) But how special that my novel was possibly the first he’d ever read for the sheer enjoyment.
An adult woman who worked as a travel agent also once contacted me about Gunner’s Run. Her email informed me that her copy had rested, untouched, on her nightstand for several weeks. But then she had a stroke and was diagnosed with cancer about the same time. While convalescing, she began to read it. In chapter 1, airman Jim Yoder is angry at God for letting his mother die. But when he falls out the bomb bay of his B-24 and ends up alone, on foot, and on the run in Nazi Germany, he begins recalling spiritual lessons his mother had taught him. This travel agent declared that, as she read, “My spiritual journey mirrored that of Jim Yoder.” Later, I learned she had died. Possibly, my book was the last one she read—and it touched her for good.
Another woman once told me in person that her 20-year-old cousin (or was it a nephew?) has dyslexia and had never read a whole book in his life. To him, books simply had not been worth the struggle to read them. But then he discovered Gunner’s Run. Jim Yoder’s struggle to evade the Nazis and return to England gripped his imagination. Once again, someone who had never read a complete book finished one of mine.
I could share more examples. However, these are enough to explain why I thank God for using my stories to make a worthwhile impact on people’s lives. Often you don’t need to preach or teach to help people. Occasionally, all you have to do is give them an uplifting story with positive themes woven between the lines!