A dedication is perhaps one of the few things a writer can give that others cannot. With almost eighty books published I’ve posted a lot.
The first one—my first book (Things That Sometimes Happen)—was to my son, Shaun. After all, I wrote the original stories for him. Indeed, all my children have had books dedicated to them. Nieces and nephews too. Cousins. Aunts and uncles.
I have even considered composing a memoir by simply writing about all these dedicatees, and relating why they were important in my life.
By putting a name in Beyond the Western Sea, I was, as it were, announcing publicly how fond of this particular lady I had become. Indeed, I married her.
There is not necessarily a connection between the content of the book and the person’s name which sits on the page. Often it is just my way of noting affection and/or appreciation. There are exceptions. Iron Thunder is dedicated to a good friend of mine because he grew up in the vicinity of the place where the battle between the Monitor and the Merrimac took place. A few people are named, not because I know them well, but because I admire them. There are some professional names such as editors.
The two people noted in The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle at some point became angry at me, and no longer will speak to me. Their names remain.
Most people when they learn I have dedicated a book to them say “Thank you,” and that’s more than enough. Some speak of a “Great honor.” Others have never responded. (Maybe they felt insulted by the book.) One person (nameless here) said “It’s about time you did that.” One book has no dedication because I think I wished the name to be a secret. Alas, I cannot remember who that was. Another book simply reads “For us,” meaning for my wife and me. I never dedicated a book to my parents because they were opposed to my becoming a writer. An admission: before writing this I looked at some early dedications. There are two which are a mystery to me.
Oh well: This posting is affectionately dedicated to my blog readers.