#RRBC, Spotlight Author

Connecting With Readers by #RRBC “Spotlight” Author, Beem Weeks.

I am thrilled to welcome Beem Weeks, Rave Reviews Book Club “Spotlight” Author, on the second stop of his blog tour.  Beem is RRBC’s REVIEWS CO-ORDINATOR, RAVE WAVES ASST. PRODUCER, and “BEYOND THE COVER” Show Host. He is an amazing, supportive member of RRBC and generously promotes fellow authors. I consider it an honour to shine the spotlight on him today.

With much joy, I introduce Beem Weeks!

beem pic

That Which Has Been, Shall Be Again – Connecting With Readers

As writers, most of us are thrilled to read reviews of our work posted on sites like Amazon, RRBC, and Koobug. Unsolicited, these words can spur sales of our books. They can also let us know where we lack in this craft we’ve chosen.

Then there are those messages that are of the personal nature, not intended for anybody but the author. I receive these every so often in the DM box of my Twitter account. These come from readers who were touched by something I’ve written or were reminded of some lost memory stirred back into their conscience by one of my short stories.

“Thanks for the message in your story,” they may write. “It brought back an event from my younger days—an event I’d long forgotten.” We never truly forget, though. It may slip from our thoughts but it’s always there, tucked away until the moment it’s challenged to reappear.

The thing is, I don’t set out to weave messages or lessons into my work. I write to entertain. But even so, messages appear. I believe these are out of our hands. Our egos tell us we are just creating. But there is somebody somewhere who has experienced what we’ve written.

I recently wrote a short story called Remaining Ruth, in which a teenaged girl cuts herself with a razor blade, in the privacy of her bathroom, just to have that one thing her parents can’t take away from her.

The messages were almost immediate: “I, too, was a cutter.” “I knew a girl just like Ruth.” “I didn’t cut myself but I did develop an eating disorder.” “My sister did this for years.” This particular story touched a nerve with so many readers, though that wasn’t my intention.

My novel, Jazz Baby, has prompted many such comments as well. Talk centers around the race relations within the story; Emily’s budding sexuality; the struggles Emily faced to achieve her dreams; women’s rights issues. I was asked by one reader why I chose to not use the N-word in the story—after all, it is set in 1925 Mississippi and New Orleans. The truth of the matter is: that wasn’t a conscious decision. I hadn’t even really thought of it until the reader brought it up. I suppose there may have been a desire to avoid the stereotypical racist clichés. The very real racism of the deep south of early twentieth-century America is indeed present within the story; I just found more creative ways to express it without resorting to what’s been written a million times in a million other stories.

And somebody found a message in that unintentional deletion.

Not every message need be heavy, either. After I wrote an essay about a childhood incident entitled Bigfoot Was My Father, I received many wonderful stories from readers wanting to share some silly moment their own fathers provided. I am honored and humbled that so many people consider me worthy of their memories.

As authors, we create worlds and characters that wouldn’t exist without us. It’s what we do. We convince ourselves of a story’s originality, of its uniqueness. But there will always be somebody somewhere who will be reminded of a long lost moment in time. It may not be spelled out in exact detail, but it’s there. It may be the metaphor you used to describe the loss of a loved one or the silly joke your main character’s love interest tells while trying to woo the girl. It will remind somebody of something. And that’s a blessing. It means you’ve written a piece in which others find a connection. It means your story matters to another human being.

There’s a verse in the Bible that says: There is nothing new under the sun; that which has been will happen again.

I believe that.

We just tell it in our own personal way.

beem jazz

You can purchase Jazz Baby on Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Follow Beem Weeks:

Twitter: @BeemWeeks 

Website: https://beemweeks.wordpress.com/

63 thoughts on “Connecting With Readers by #RRBC “Spotlight” Author, Beem Weeks.”

  1. I can fully appreciate the beauty of hearing from those readers that you have touched, Beem. It has to be one of the greatest feelings in the world. I know when it happens to me, I can feed off of the words for weeks. Thanks for hosting Natalie.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. There’s a saying something like, a story is written twice: once by the author and again by the reader. We may write one thing, but readers use their own experiences as they read it, and come up with things we never intended.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. There is so much truth in your words today, Beem. Whether as a writer, teacher, or any other profession, we don’t often know about the impact our words make on those who hear or read them. The feedback you receive is testimony to the excellence of your writing! Enjoy your tour! Thanks for hosting, Natalie!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It’s wonderful that readers take the time to send personal messages. As writers, I think we get a sense of satisfaction when we complete and publish a story, but when what we’ve written touches a reader in a special way it makes the time we’ve invested extra rewarding.

    Wishing you a wonderful tour, Beem, and thanks to Natalie for hosting!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree, Mae. That feedback brings something more to the story. It allows us to know where it has taken the reader–which is often a different path than the writer has taken in creating the piece. Thank you for stopping by and showing your support.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You nailed it Beem! 😀 We’re strange creatures – human beings. The best thing about us, ever since we grew sentient, is that we’ve always had to eat, find other people we liked being with, and needed something to sit or lie on while we waited for sleep to come, to talk to and share experiences with. Writers are the inheritors of the best of those people’s tall tales and horrifying stories – it’s a proud tradition and one that we’ll always want and need. 🙂
    Thanks for having us all over today, Natalie 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Congratulations, Beem, for holding the Spotlight and sharing it with all authors by talking about the preciousness of personal notes. You deserve every moment of this honor! A special “thank you” to Natalie for hosting!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Beem you touched on a few deep things in this post. I am one of those readers who got something totally different in “Jazz Baby” and you and I discussed it. I’m sure my reactions brought a new perspective to your understanding of the human condition. Congratulations on your writing. It makes all of us think.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I can really identify with your blog, Beem, especially as a non-fiction writer. The most rewarding part of my writing career has been the personal impact it has had upon my readers. I am moved and touched and really never expected it. How lucky we are to be writers! Thanks for the reminder.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I loved this post! I’m glad I stopped by (even though I’m late to the party). I don’t know that readers know how special their comments and responses are to authors. When I was younger, I thought that authors couldn’t possibly have time to read reviews or comments. If more readers understood how much we value THEIR words, maybe more readers would interact with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. What a beautiful blog post. I agree that comments form readers are so amazing to hear and it’s interesting to find out how different people react to a story. I love to connect with people who have enjoyed my writing and like Yvette, I wonder if they know how much those kind words mean to the author.
    Thanks for hosting Natalie!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m a little late to the party, but thanks so much, Natalie, for hosting Beem during his special week. Beem, congrats on such an exciting week in a well-deserved hot seat!!

    Liked by 1 person

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