I was very flattered recently to receive what I can only describe as "fan mail" from someone who has read my latest book and has used some of my technical books for study purposes. It is very flattering to have a complete stranger write to say how much he had enjoyed your fiction stories - and add that he had found the text books invaluable. I can't say I've ever had a written compliment of that sort before. Perhaps even more flattering is the fact that one of my wife's colleagues is currently reading On the Run, and comes to her office daily to tell her how much he's enjoying it, how great the characters and the situations are and how he's looking forward to reading the next one. Considering he's reading in English and though his language skills are good, it's not his first language, I take that as a compliment indeed.
Since I started writing some years ago, I can see an enormous improvement in my own work. As a technical writer you have to be good at descriptive writing, essentially painting pictures with words so the reader can visualise what you are trying to explain. With fiction you need to learn to let the reader imagine the scene, the scenery, the people and so on. It isn't easy to make that transition, and one of the best lessons I have learned is how to use dialogue to provide the reader with the essential information - and then let them form their own pictures.
Receiving the email from my "fan" was a huge compliment. I was especially impressed by the fact he had managed to figure out how to contact me through my professional links.
It's made my day, and inspired me to get my head down and finish another chapter!