One of my favorite parts of the whole publishing process has not been the acceptance by the publisher, or reading official reviews of the book, or attending book signings, or even getting a check in the mail. My absolute favorite part of publishing has been meeting so many kindred spirits. (Notice I said “publishing” as opposed to “writing.” They are two different things.)
Yesterday I had the real treat of receiving an email from one Christine Walter, who is a talented artist who loved Edenbrooke so much she felt inspired to draw Marianne and Philip as she imagined them. And this is where art becomes very interesting to me. I am so interested in how the story I imagined and put on paper and passed on to you is reborn in your own unique mind. You each have a canvas for an imagination, and the words I have put down allow you to paint your own version of Edenbrooke in your mind. Everyone imagines it differently. And that’s the way art is supposed to work–especially literature.
I was an English major in college and so I spent years practicing the art of literary criticism. And I learned that I could sit in a class full of other English majors, and whether we were discussing a poem or a play or a novel, we each had unique interpretations of the work we studied. It made for interesting discussions and varied papers and it was something I legitimately enjoyed. (You have to legitimately enjoy your college major, I believe.) I never really thought, during those years, that I would ever be on the other end of the artistic discussion. The fact that I have had that privilege humbles me every time I stop to consider it.
Anyway, the talented Christine Walter sent me her sketches of Marianne and Philip, and I loved them. I absolutely loved them. They are exactly how she imagined them, and that is the beauty of art–that she took my words and painted them onto her own mental canvas and came back with a specific image she could actually produce. What an amazing process!
I love how some readers get into spirited debates about which actors would play the characters if Edenbrooke ever becomes a movie. I love that some people say Henry Cavill and some people say Ben Barnes and some people say Armie Hammer would make the perfect Philip. You know what? They are all right. Philip was supposed to be the ideal man, and however you imagine that ideal man looking, you are right. Did you notice that I never said how old he was in the story? I did that on purpose. I didn’t want to dictate the ideal age for the ideal man. You may imagine him however old or young you choose. You may imagine him with blonde hair if you choose. It will not offend me in the slightest.I am just honored and humbled and very, deep-down happy that my story is finding so many kindred spirits for me to connect with.