Sunday, June 13, 2010

Kind Words & Some “Catholic” Questions

Since being on Facebook and Twitter* I've noticed that a lot of very distinguished and reputable writers post comments from letters/emails they receive from readers of their books. This is something I've always been self-conscious about doing because I'm really terrible at self-promotion and always feel like I am being “pushy”. But I'm trying to be better about that. I got a lovely message from “Evie in Iowa” via GoodReads who had just finished reading Each Angel Burns and she said, Loved this book, Kathleen. I started reading your blog as I am a fellow knitter. Then decided to read your book and I was enthralled. Thanks for the journey. She gave it four stars and posted the following in the Review section: I really enjoyed this book. Great mystery with a tender love story, long-lasting friendships and true faith.

I thought that was very sweet of her to write and I was moved by her kindness in telling me she liked my book. Plus it reminded me that I've received other emails from readers of that book. Some of them ask questions and, while I answer the emails personally answering their questions, I really ought to post the questions and their answers for others.

Marjorie in Troy, New York wrote, I'm a fellow Catholic and loved this book and all the background on parts of our Faith I didn't know about. It was a great mystery and a beautiful love story but also educational. The stuff about Heloise and Abelard was so interesting I wanted to know more. But I have a question. The story revolved around a statue of the Angel Gabriel by Giovanni Dupré. I know he was a real sculptor because I looked him up but I wondered if the statue was real.

That's a very good question and I'm happy that Marjorie “looked him up”. Dupré did quite a lot of religious statuary but as far as I know he did not sculpt a Gabriel. He did, however, sculpt the statue of the Archangel Michael that Fr. Flynn mentions in the book. The face of that statue (left) is on the cover of Each Angel Burns.

Irene in Erie, PA wrote, I bought Each Angel Burns because I loved The Old Mermaid's Tale, especially the parts about the way the sailors in Brittany celebrate the Feast of John the Baptist. There are so few positive portrayals of Catholic traditions in books that yours are refreshing. I loved your beautiful and devout Father Black and how you handled what happened to him except I wonder how you feel about your books having so much Catholic faith in them but also pretty much extra-marital sex and violence. Don't you feel conflicted writing the way you do?

The answer to that is easy, no, I don't feel conflicted at all. Sex and violence are parts of life and our Faith is what gets us through tough times. I also think that there is a very sensuous component to many Catholic rituals and traditions (like the Festival of John the Baptist) that appeals to the sort of people who may be inclined to extreme behavior. To me much of the appeal of traditional religions like Catholicism and Judaism is the lush beauty of rituals that engage both the mind and the body, through the senses --- beautiful art and music, fragrances of flowers and incense, ritual foods, etc.

So, those are a couple of the very sweet, kind letters I've received. I hope my answers were helpful. Thanks so much for writing and, as ever, thanks for reading.
* Can I just say a word about how enjoyable I am finding Twitter and Facebook -- especially now that I have TweetDeck so can have them open all day on my desktop? I've met so many great people and re-connected with lots of friends and family from long ago. Plus I've made some wonderful connections. Many thanks to all of you who are mking these two platforms so delightful.

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