Receiving letters from readers is one of the joys of being a published writer, and often, the letters are ones we wish we could share. I usually don't, but this one came today and it really moved me, imagining the life of the person who wrote it -- a female U.S. Army Sargeant -- and the difficult place from which she is writing: Afghanistan. She gave me permission to post part of her letter here.
Mrs. Romano-Lax, I just finished reading your amazing novel. It is easy to forget how wonderful our liberties are in America. I have been in Afghanistan nearly a year now and have had many new experiences.
I bought this book at the PX, picking it from among a bunch of romance novels. Apparently those are popular. It is difficult to find an interesting read unless you order online and then it becomes entirely too overwhelming with too much to choose from. After being here a while there is a lull in creative juices. I needed a recharge desperately and The Spanish Bow brought to life what was sleeping. You captured so many emotions.
You wrote from a man's perspective so well that I thought you were a man until I looked at your bio (I looked for the bio when I bought it, but the last page hid it). I was shocked and pleased. Thank you for stirring my emotions. There were parts of the book that I had to stop and ponder for a while. I wasn't sure what I was feeling but it deserved attention.
You asked the question "In difficult times, is art an indulgence or a necessity?" In my difficult time, away from my family with my life on hold, it is a necessity. Writing eases my troubles, and reading takes me away from them or helps me face them. We are all ordinary. We think we are alone in our struggles. Art reminds us that everyone laughs, cries, loves and all the emotions in between. Art brings people together even when they are alone.
Very sincerely, SGT Tessa Burns US Army