Today I'd like to write a letter to a remarkable woman. Ethel Flett, better known as Essie Summers, wrote more than fifty novels over the course of her career. A minister's wife and New Zealander, Essie wrote for Mills & Boon/Harlequin Romance and later in her career for Severn House. Of her 51 novels, I own 50 of the titles. I'm still searching for that elusive final title: The South Horizon Man.
Essie passed away more than a decade ago, and I was always sorry that I hadn't written to her. Now that I've reached one of my dreams, a dream she helped inspire, I wanted to pen the letter to her here.
Thank you. Thank you for being willing to write the stories that God laid on your heart. Thank you for inspiring in me a love of language, of New Zealand, of the magic of local history, and of romance.
Thank you for making your heroes heroic and noble, your heroines strong and intelligent, and for always keeping God in the picture. You wrote for a secular house, but you brought your world-view into every manuscript. You wrote romance that an innocent teen could enjoy, and that a married woman could re-read many times with pleasure. Thank you for the chastity of your characters and their high ideals, their love of family and history, and their faith.
I would love to know what you think of the changes in the publishing industry, the growth of Christian fiction, and where you think your books would fit into those changes.
I would love to know what stories you left unwritten. And I would love to know what, if anything, you would change about your writing journey.
I wish I had known you before you passed away. But though we never spoke in real life or in letters, you spoke to me through your books, teaching me how to live, what real love should look like, and you engendered in me a love of reading, writing, and the desire to follow in your footsteps in writing fiction.
How about you? Do you have a favorite author that you'd love to write a letter to? What would you say?
Today and tomorrow: Join me on Patty Wysong’s blog: at http://pattywysong.blogspot.com/ to find out what I procrastinate doing, and some of my strange habits.