I've been reading P. D. James for so many years, I can't remember a time when she wasn't "my" mystery author. I have a handful of authors I read over and over again for comfort or to make sense of the world or to just take care of me after I've had a crap day. P. D. James was one of those authors. She delivered the perfect blend of literary fiction and detective novel every single time.
When I started writing mysteries of my own, I felt a kind of obligation to her, to try to be as brave and intelligent. Her writing became the gold standard by which I measured my own work. I knew I wouldn't measure up but striving to get there was making me a better author. So when I read about her death, I cried a little because I felt like I'd failed her because I'd lost faith in writing, and in my writing in particular.
And then, on the same day, I got an email from Smashwords saying a review had been posted for The River Bride. Here is the link:
Review of The River Bride
It is hard to express the impact one thought-provoking, critical review can have on an author. In order to write well, we need the intelligence of the authors who came before us. And to continue to write well, we need the critical faculties of readers to guide us when we've lost faith.
I am grateful to the reviewer for taking the time. I am constantly amazed by the co-creation that is writing and reading. It really is something to have faith in.