By Margaret Lucke
Dedicating a book to someone is a way for an author to express thanks and appreciation to that person for helping to make the book, the writing, and the author's life better than it might otherwise have been. Though the wording may be slightly different in the volumes themselves, my next book and all my previous ones are dedicated to . . .
> My husband, for always encouraging me in my writing endeavors. Not only that, he cooks, cleans, and does laundry.
> My dad, for sharing his love of words with me and anyone at the dinner table who would listen. He kept an unabridged dictionary in the living room to settle friendly arguments about meanings and derivations. I remember the surge of triumph the time I was able to prove that he was wrong and I was right.
> My mom, for introducing me to mysteries. When I reached seventh grade I started working my way through all of the Ellery Queens and Agatha Christies I found in her bookshelves. Those books provided the basis of my education in the genre. (I also discovered the copies of Peyton Place and Lady Chatterley’s Lover she hid in the drawer of her bedside table, and they taught me a few things too.)
> My sisters, for being among my closest friends and most enthusiastic fans. Although you might have had a hard time convincing me of this possibility when we were kids, they’ve grown up to be amazingly talented and accomplished women. I hereby forgive them for swiping my toys and scribbling in my storybooks.
> Mrs. A, my sixth grade teacher, and Mrs. H, who taught me English and composition for three years in high school, for making their students appreciate the importance of writing well, and for encouraging our curiosity and creativity.
> My fellow writing group members, for being such excellent critiquers. They know how to be supportive while wielding the sharpest of red pencils. I protest their suggestions, then go home and lick my wounds, and eventually make the changes they’ve recommended. Well, sometimes I do.
> The members of the Mystery Writers of America, especially the Norcal chapter, for accepting this wannabe as a real writer. They were inspiring when I was still aspiring. They also showed me that writers are real people, not godlike beings as I had naively assumed.
> The students in the writing classes I teach, for teaching me so much more than I’ve taught them. Their fascinating stories and challenging questions keep me on my toes and make me a better writer.
> My readers, for completing the loop of communication that my writing begins. I would tell stories if my only audience was myself and thin air, but knowing you’re out there makes the process so much rewarding. Nothing makes my day more than an enthusiastic note from a fan.
I’ve skipped a lot of people I could list here, and in each book the dedication names just one or two. Clearly I need to write more books if I’m going to dedicate one to everybody who deserves the recognition.