A Letter to My Readers: Bethany Turner, Author of "Wooding Cadie McCaffrey"
I like to start my notes to you as if we're already in the middle of a conversation. I pretend that we're the oldest and dearest friends —
I stole that line from You’ve Got Mail. But of course if you’re already one of my readers, chances are you probably knew that. The line comes from the mind of Nora Ephron, and is forever etched in our hearts as delivered by Meg Ryan at her perfectly perky Shopgirl best, but it really is how I feel about you. Except I don’t just pretend we’re the oldest and dearest friends. You’ve made me feel as if we actually are.
I’m going to let you all in on a little secret: I’m a bit of a wackadoodle. And, again, if you’re already one of my readers, you probably know that. (/ˈwakəˌdo͞odl/ — A noun meaning an eccentric or fanatical person. Obviously. I mean, what else could that word possibly mean apart from maybe some wacky hybrid breed of poodle?) I’m passionate about Jesus, pop culture, and romantic comedy, and those are the three things my stories have in common. (Also Colin Firth. Inordinate amounts of Colin Firth. Always.) And because we are the oldest and dearest friends, I’m going to be really honest with you. When I started writing Christian Romantic Comedy, I just wasn’t sure there was a place for me. I wasn’t sure there would ever be a place for me. And I don’t just mean my stories. God was making it pretty clear to me that there was a place for my stories…even if in order to find that place I would have to dig and persevere and avoid the temptation to be faint-hearted. But me? I just wasn’t sure there was a place for me.
What I didn’t know then—what I couldn’t have possibly imagined—is that I was about to meet all of my oldest and dearest friends.
Readers are a special group. In a world where we tend to skim the headlines—not just of the news, but of life—readers still want to take the time for backstory and layers. The more frantic the world’s pace becomes, the more determined readers become to carve out a space for books. And while our culture seems to value isolation, readers believe in the power of conversation—in books and about books.
When you add Jesus into the mix of all of that—or better yet, make Jesus the center of all of that—you’ll find a group of people who I honestly believe can be a major force in changing the world for the better.
In You’ve Got Mail, Kathleen Kelly muses, “So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn't it be the other way around?” It’s not often that I’m inclined to disagree with Kathleen Kelly, but in this case I must. It shouldn’t be the other way around, or one way or the other at all. What we read in books and how we see the world, as readers, are two viewpoints that are inextricably intertwined. I love seeing the world through your eyes, and I thank you for welcoming me into the middle of the conversation.
Let’s always be in the middle of the conversation, dear friends.
With so much love,
Bethany Turner is the author of The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck and the director of administration for Rock Springs Church in Southwest Colorado. A former bank executive and a three-time cancer survivor (all before she turned 35), Bethany knows that when God has plans for your life, it doesn't matter what anyone else has to say. Because of that, she's chosen to follow his call to write. She lives with her husband and their two sons in Colorado, where she writes for a new generation of readers who crave fiction that tackles the thorny issues of life with humor and insight.