Ten years ago, in one of the many pubs we visited in Ireland, I requested “Danny Boy.” My father’s song. After the set, I thanked the singer and he said, “I saw the smile then I saw the tears and I knew I had done my job.”

Now that quite a few people have read A Better Life, I am hearing many comments about their experiences with the story, and I am so grateful to hear the engagement and the emotion.

One of the most heartfelt comments came from a friend who is as honest and straightforward as a person can be. “I finished your book.” Her face told me she didn’t like it and I was about to hear why, but it turned out she was not only upset about Margaret and what she had gone through, but the fact that I was able to write it. “It bothered me,” she said. “It was disturbing that you could know what that child was feeling.”

Another friend told me how angry she was about what Jenny had done and many have expressed their strong feelings towards Gene, as well as their sympathy for Margaret. What I love hearing most of all is when readers want to know what and how Jenny and Margaret are doing now and if I am going to write a sequel. I would love to, and I believe there is a very good chance.

I am very grateful my characters are evoking such strong reactions and emotions, similar to every time I hear “Danny Boy.” It helps me believe I have done my job.

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