File Under 'This Shit Could Only Happen To Me'

Last Thursday I had a lovely e-mail from a reader about my book, One on One. It was one of those intelligently written reviews I like, where the reader went into detail about what she likes about my writing. She's sharp, with a real eye for detail. She even pointed out an error to me, that I had attributed an action to a character who wasn't even in the scene, including the page number. (My in-house editor only looked at the early portions of this book; it was written as I was preparing to relocate and it was an extremely busy time for me.)

In her closing, she asked me a question and asked me specifically to please be sure to respond. Because I was at a client site, I read this through a web site that allows people to check their e-mail remotely. I looked forward to sending her a response every bit as detailed as her e-mail.

As I always do, I checked my e-mail again just before 4PM (my agent is in the East, where it is an hour later). This time I had an ominous message: "You have no messages."

How could that be? I should have been looking at all the messages I received earlier, plus any new ones. They would remain on the remote e-mail retriever until I got home and brought up my default e-mail carrier, Outlook Express. This suggested that all my e-mail was gone!

I told myself not to worry, that when I opened Outlook Express on my desktop at home my mail would return. That night, after league bowling, I booted up my computer. A few e-mails came in, none of them from earlier in the day. My e-mail had disappeared!

I contacted the remote service and asked if they could help me. I'm still waiting for a response, although with the weekend it might take a few days. But I feel just awful about this. The lady who contacted me is going to think I don't want to be bothered, and nothing could be further from the truth. I can't remember her name or anything, just that it was a damn good letter and that I wanted to help her with what she asked me about. I hope she'll see this and contact me again.

Cross your fingers for me that the e-mail service can somehow restore this correspondence. The last thing any writer wants to do is alienate loyal readers.

Sigh . . . .


Gwyneth Bolton said...

This is a writer's nightmare. I hope you can retrieve it. I like to respond to each and every reader e-mail I get. And I know you like to do the same. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.


bettye griffin said...

Two-and-a-half weeks later, I'm still getting old messages sent to me, but not the one I'm looking for, at least not yet. You're right, Gwyneth, this is a writer's nightmare!

Bettye, still hoping for the best . . .