I got the audiobook version on Overdrive and listened to the book while doing chores around the house. At the end of the audiobook there was a short interview with the author, Katherine Paterson, and her son David Paterson.
The book was written for (about) her son whose best friend died when he was only a boy. The story was essentially his story.
During the interview, the author said something that really stuck with me as a writer.
She said that she has met many people and read many letters that all told her that they felt the story was about them.
The story started out about her son, yet people find a little bit of themselves in it.
That’s the secret to a great story: we find ourselves in it.
We realize while reading that the story is our story.
A successful story has a universal quality to it.