Not long ago I read 'The Actor and the Housewife' by Shannon Hale. I still haven't quite decided what I thought of it - kind of quirky, clever, a bit slow in parts but well written. My favorite part of the book came in a little paragraph of author's notes. It said something like "beware of what you say around authors. we are always listening and you never know what may end up in a story". That is, of course, paraphrasing but I laughed when I read it. I thought I was the only person who saved little tid-bits from life to put in stories. I'm finding out many of us authors think alike - that's why it's so fun to be around them. And fiction is created out of real life. In every story I've written there has been an element of true experience and many things I've garnered over the years from roommates, friends, someone I saw in the store. Occassionally I even see people who look just like my fictional characters and think, "wow, they're real!"
Forwards, afterwards, dedications, and acknowledgements are a way for the reader to see the personal side of the author. One of my favorites is found in Janette Rallison's book 'Masquerade'. at least I think that's the one. She dedicates the book to Apollo from Battlestar Galactica [the original series, not the current inferior version] I LOVED Battlestar Galactica and had a major crush on Apollo. If nothing else were written in the book i would have enjoyed it just because of that dedication. [the book became one of my favorites] I felt like I had a kindred spirit in the author.
In Stephanie Grace Whitson's forwards we share her love of family, her reasons for writing, her husband's cancer diagnosis, her faith as she endures his illness, her sorrow at his death, and rejoice when she remarries and blends her family with another one. It's only a few sentences of a personal glimpse in someone's "real' life, but it makes a connection.
My favorite acknowledgements right now, are in Josi Kilpack's novels - because I am mentioned in them. :)! It may be the only way my name ever gets in print. Okay, it's not just because of my name - it is nice to be acknowledged. We are in the same writing group [thanks to Josi's invitation] It has been a great experience and I have learned so much. It has definetely helped me hone my skills. We help each other and our stories are stronger because we work out the 'bugs' before it ever goes to an editor or print. We share ideas and insights. We support and encourage. We even give therapy as needed. :)
WHEN I publish I will need an entire chapter to thank all the people who've influenced and helped me. Life is full of miracles and I am astonished at how things come together. The Author of miracles has been the greatest help of all. I hope my writing reflects faith in Him.