Guest blogger: Tracey O’Hara
Before I start my post today I just want to thank all of you who nominated me as a finalist for ARRA’s Favourite Australian Romance Author of 2009. I was absolutely stunned and thrilled. And the calibre of the other finalists has me humbled and tickled pink that people took the time to put my name forward. You guys are awesome. It is such an honour.
Being an Aussie writer has its problems, but it also has its own rewards. One of those is the camaraderie of the Aussie authors and readers. Just over a year ago, I attended the inaugural Australian Romance Readers Convention and met a few of you. It was amazing. I got to meet so many great people – including Sherrilyn Kenyon and MaryJanice Davidson. But what I really enjoyed the most was sharing the love of books and romance with like-minded people. For while I write, I also read and can get just as fan-girly as the next person.
Having such great guests goes in part to what I wanted to talk about today. The world has become so much smaller with the introduction of the internet. Today you can chat with someone on the other side of the planet or hold a conversation in real-time with someone in the UK and the US at the same time using email or twitter or a chat program like yahoo messenger.
It’s also how I, as an Aussie writer, can create stories based in US places I have never been to before. I have many friends in the US. Again, thanks to the web, I am able to maintain long-distance friendships via email and chat. And while it is good to ask them questions, having the internet allows me to see things for myself. Pictures, descriptions, I can walk along the streets of New York thanks to Google maps. While it may not be as good as being there, it gives me enough so that I can at least let my imagination fill in the rest.
The other great thing about the web is that it allows me to talk with people who have read my books. It is very gratifying to hear from someone who loved the story and world I created, who is eagerly awaiting the next book from me. While it doesn’t quite beat meeting people in person, it is nice to know there are people out there reading something I have created.
Twenty years ago, how many of you would have thought to write to your favourite author and thank them for a wonderful book? And how many of you today would not think twice shooting off an email gushing about what you really loved about their books? (I have sent a few of those emails – like I said- fan-girly). More often than not, authors are happy to respond to people who contact them.
The other advance with the web is now we can get instant gratification. When a book comes out, we can download a copy immediately. No longer do we have to wait weeks or months for it to be released in Australia or ordered from Amazon. With a few clicks of the mouse you can have your very own copy on your e-reader, computer or iPhone within minutes. This revolution has not really hit our shores in a big way as yet, but it won’t be long. I thought I would be reluctant to take on ebooks – preferring the paper copy – but I have found, to my surprise, that I really love the convenience.
So what as readers are you grateful for with the introduction of the internet?
I have a Night’s Cold Kiss T-shirt, which can be personally signed, to give away to one commenter, so write me a note.