my adventures in cyberspace how the book changed a reader's life
Jude Calvert-Toulmin

The Amazing Way My Book Changed One Reader’s Life

I have a true story about one of my books, specifically the cover to my novel My Adventures in Cyberspace.

Dana was in her early forties and married to a multi-millionaire French banker. She lived in a stunning house looking over Lake Como, the interior design of which she had just supervised. From the outside, it looked like she had it all.

One summer, Dana was on holiday, staying at a luxury bohemian hotel in the Danish countryside. Whilst waiting in the hotel lobby, she idled away the minutes perusing the books on the bookshelf.

The cover of one, My Adventures in Cyberspace, caught her eye. It depicted Boticelli’s Venus surfing through space on the crest of a multi-coloured fractal wave.

Dana turned the book over and read the blurb on the back. This book was speaking to her. She picked it up and read it in two days.

Months later, Dana contacted me out of the blue, having somehow found my phone number on the net. She raved about the novel and told me how she’d come upon it, in the lobby of a Danish hotel. In subsequent calls she confided that her marriage was desperately unhappy.

But my novel, about surviving a painful divorce and finding new love on the internet in the early dawn of cyberspace, long before social media, had given her hope.

She flew me to Lake Como supposedly for advice on further renovations to her house, but in reality, the advice she asked for was about renovating marriage. I was honest with her, I thought she should leave her husband as his proclivity for visiting brothels was doing nothing to help her marriage (I actually wanted to give him a good slap in the face, but I kept that quiet.)

On my return to the U.K. Dana left her husband. I invited her to one of the big house parties we used to throw every summer (before I gave up drinking, but that’s another story!)

There, Dana was entranced by one of the guests, Paul, who had inspired one of the characters in the novel which had brought her to that party in the first place. “You mean that’s, like, the actual Paul? Oh my god I loved Paul in the book! That’s really him? You have to introduce us!”

Dana and Paul fell in love and she moved to the U.K. to be with him and find happiness.

All because of the cover of one book, on a bookshelf in a little hotel in the Danish countryside.

That story kind of makes my writing life complete. The fact that writing inspired by the trauma I endured during my second divorce had indirectly brought such happiness to two people’s lives.

(names and locations have been changed)

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