Novel #1In November 2012 I got a call from a literary agent offering representation. A little over a year and a half later, in August 2014, my first novel hit bookshelves. Since then, I’ve been astonished by the number of people who have taken the time to visit Wise, WV, and spend time with Perla, Casewell, Sadie, and a whole cast of Appalachian characters.

The e-version of the novel just went on sale this week for less than two dollars and I thought, well that’s nice, but who’s left to read it?

As of this morning, the book had shot to #67 among ALL e-books on Amazon. Where it’s hanging out with J.K. Rowling and Ann Patchett.

Which reminded me that who’s left to read it would be, well, most of the world. I have no illusions about the book sustaining these lofty sales (and at $1.99 each, I also have no illusions about, say, quitting my day job). But this moment has given me pause.

Although I’ve moved on from the Phillips family, having wrapped up the series with three novels, they are still fresh and new to the person who thought, what the heck, I’ll give it a try for a couple of bucks.

Someone even now is thinking about what forgiveness means as they see Perla feed an entire community in spite of their cruelty. Someone even now is falling in love with Casewell and rejoicing when he does the right thing. Someone even now is clicking out of the book and trying something else because it just didn’t grab them. But even that person read a little, maybe found some meaning without realizing it.

Sometimes I think I’m finished once a book has released and I’ve moved on to the next story. But really, it seems books keep going as long as someone–anyone–takes the time to read them. And that is a humbling and astonishing thing.

Thanks for reading.