Over the years I've been writing I've amassed a lot of loyal readers. And along the way a lot of those readers have become good friends. I'm not talking Facebook friends, but real friends that I see and spend time with in my personal life whenever possible.
And if that's not a thing, it should be.
This is one of the many upsides of being a writer, if not the best one. Of course, you have to be careful. Sometimes you think you've found a freader and the person turns out to be not so friendly, and can even be dangerous. I've never had a problem with the danger part, but have backed away from some folks eager to be friends that really weren't a good fit.
This past Saturday I had brunch with Heide, Mark and Angelique, all freaders. I met Heide when she came to a couple of my book signings many years ago. The same with Mark, and I met Angelique through Mark. The weekend before that I had brunch with Janet, another freader from North Carolina who I try to see whenever she's in town visiting her son. Shortly before that I met Chris H. for dinner. Chris is another freader who has become a good friend. Sheila came up to me at the LA Times Festival of Books all excited to meet one of her favorite authors. In chatting, we found out that we live just a couple of blocks from each other. We've now met a couple of times for brunch. And I certainly cannot leave out Shirley and Doug. This couple has become so dear and important to me. They live in No. Cal but come to So. Cal for Disney runs often. When they do, Heide, Mark, Angelique, and I meet them at Disney for breakfast after their event. We have all become good friends. Chris even joined us once when he was in town. And I can't forget Lori O., who I've met only once in person, but who has become close to me over the years. Even she now knows Doug, Shirley, Heide, and Mark.
It's an ever growing circle.
Finally, I cannot leave out Cyn. Cyn was the loyal reader who started my fan club. The fun part is she doesn't live far from my family and when I can, I meet up with her when I'm in MA visiting. I now consider her a close friend and adore her husband and kids too.
These are people I would not have known had I not become a writer, and if my books had not become popular enough to reach far and wide. I also would not have been enriched by their friendship had I not been open to it when offered.
I'm a very lucky duck. And while I don't make a ton of money writing, I am rich beyond my dreams because of my growing circle of friends.
I mean FREADERS.