Thursday, June 14, 2012

Ryan Winfield--One Fan's Perspective

Recently I read and wrote a post about my thoughts on Ryan Winfield's novel, South of Bixby Bridge. At first I had really mixed feelings about it, but after reading it a second time, I was thoroughly hooked.  In fact, looking back at it, I think I was a little harsh in my critique of his work. My apologies, Ryan. I truly did like your book and I've started to read it again (for the DM Book Club).

Anyway, after reading it the first time, I went back to Amazon and read other reader's reviews, I visited his website, and then I looked him up on Facebook. I promise I'm not stalking him--I do research on every author that elicits such a reaction in me. And it's purely research. I swear.

But, what I found interesting was on his website at the top of the homepage it states: * I respond personally to all messages from readers.

My first thought: Yeah, right. Okay. A guy who is climbing up the Amazon best seller list, a guy who has over 18,000 fans on Facebook is not going to respond to every email personally. He must get hundreds a day. It's impossible. Then I visit his Facebook page and he has a post that states he's willing to attend any book club that is currently reading his book. I'm sure you can imagine what my reaction was to that.

So, I did what any self-respecting skeptic would do: I called his bluff.

I emailed him, introduced myself, told him what I honestly thought of his book, and then very politely asked him to join the DM Book Club to discuss his book with us. I hit send and that was that. Hours, yes hours, later I had a response. It wasn't one of those blanket/form emails either, but a certified personal email from Ryan Winfield himself. Needless to say, I was thrilled and even a little giddy. He said he'd love to join all of us--Unfortunately, he doesn't have plans to visit this side of the coast anytime soon. This part of the email really, really bummed me out. However, he is more than happy to call or Skype with the DM's. Yay!

Ryan Winfield - 2
Kara Leigh Miller - 0

Okay, at this point, I thought that maybe this was just a fluke because, come on, no author could be this involved with his fans. I know what it's like to write a full-length novel. It's a lot of work and doesn't leave much time for other things.

Deciding to test my theory, I wrote a blog post about his novel and posted a link on his Facebook author page. Guess what he did? He visited my blog and left a comment. Oh, he also liked me on Facebook.

Ryan Winfiled - 4
Kara Leigh Miller - 0

By now, I'm feeling like such a shit for calling him out on everything he's claimed. Of course, it hasn't stopped me. Recently, another of his Facebook posts was an offer to send an autographed copy of his book to anyone who recommended it to their book club. I didn't hesitate to step up and ask for one. (I did after all convince the DM's to read his book this month.) Ryan responded to the post asking me to send him a private message with my address. I did.

Look at what I got today:

It reads: For Kerry--I'll see you on the South side of the bridge.


Ryan Winfield - 5
Kara Leigh Miller - 0

Well done, Ryan, well done. You have humbled me and inspired me. I hope to one day follow in your footsteps and be as awesome to my fans as you are to yours. And in me, you have found a lifelong fan.