Let me back up a little bit first. The initial feedback was from my editor. Upon reading the letter he immediately inboxed me and accosted me for it. My first thought was, Was the writing really that bad?" He quickly cleared up his frustration with the letter advising that the writing was fine. It was what was said in the letter he found to be completely upsetting. Well that is the kind of feedback I can live with. I am not a safe writer and frequently take on subject matter that others wont; so hearing that the content was troubling sat well with me.
He was not the only one who found the contents of the letter troubling. I heard from several readers that the letter hit home with them in a number of ways. Although the information in the letter was painful for a number of them to deal with, they also felt that talking about this very sensitive issue was necessary and commended me for my effort.
Things were going along well, right? The readers were responding, the feedback was overall very good; within the first few days of release the letter was receiving 5 star reviews. Great! I was glad and fully prepared to move on to my next write; smartly crossing the letter of my list of many projects to complete.
Well, I heard from my editor again... Everything came to an abrupt halt. He wanted to know what the response to the letter would be from the recipients of the letter? Pause, pause pause... What? What do you mean the response? there was no response. I was done with the letter. No, he suggested, I don't think you should be done. (I know there should be quotation marks around the conversation parts but this is my blog and I can afford to break a few rules here. So please indulge me).
Given that I thought I was finished with the letter, I wasn't prepared in the least for what my editor was suggesting. We went back and forth, around and around about what the next step, if any should be in response to the letter. I could see that he had indeed been moved by what was said, and as a reader and not just my editor, he was requesting --- no demanding some kind of response.
Needless to say, he won. I couldn't fight him on this one. I tried, but in the end I saw the merits to his argument and decided that a response would be in order.
So I decided to do just that. In my mind the whole time I am saying to myself, just write the response, get it over with and then you can move on. Well it goes without saying that one response demanded another response and yet another. I was truly experiencing the domino effect.
So what started out being one letter has morphed into 4 letters - one from the mom in the story, one from dad, and a rebuttal of sorts from the main character. I furiously banged these stories out and whisked them off to my editor. (In the end I think I really won because now he has so much more unexpected work to do)!
If you haven't read A Letter to My Mother, I encourage you to do so. And then prepare yourself for A Mother's Confession, Daddy's Little Girl, and If I Only Knew (in that order).