I'm like Debbie. I always read the acknowledgments and dedication in books before I read anything else -- well, other than the back cover. And that's a maybe.
Now that I'm working on my seventh book, second Love Inspired Suspense, I've knocked most of the easy dedications out of the way. God for blessing the dream. Mom for homeschooling me and teaching me how to write. Eric for always believing in me and encouraging me. My grandparents who inspired my first historical romance.
For the book I turned in earlier this month, I added a reader letter. Those are not routine with the Heartsong Presents line, but I decided it was important this time because I was dealing with a serious issue, and I needed readers to understand why I wrote the book. Colleen Coble calls this book my women's fiction historical married romance. And now that I'm on the other side of it, I think she's right.
Reader letters are a rare opportunity to connect with readers. To tell them why some element of the story was woven into the book. As I'm writing this current Love Inspired Suspense, I've been reminded just how intentional each layer is. Romance? check. Suspense? check. Internal layers of conflict? check. Element keeping the hero and heroine apart? check. Red Herrings? Check.
And as I go back and insert each layer, I have an eye on the overall theme. At this point, it's a prayerful eye as I continue to ask God what it is. But I know it's there. And in the end, He will pull all these elements together.