I have received my first fan letter. It was written by the 20-something granddaughter of a long-time colleague and friend. (I suspect I've known him about as long as she's been alive.)
Sarah received a copy of my book for Christmas. I'm not sure what she must've thought as she opened that gift. (Really, Grandpa? A book?) She tells me (through her letter) that she has not read much for pleasure in recent years.
I totally get that. My two daughters struggled with the same problem in middle- and high-school. Novels assigned to them in English classes were often long, slow-paced, and boring. It frustrated me as a parent because, while I understood the goal of having kids cover 'the classics,' I hated that my girls were so turned off by books that they simply stopped reading.
Sarah says that Whisper Falls helped her experience the joys of reading. Wow. I'm delighted, honored, and humbled to learn that she feels that way.
I won't copy her entire letter here (because I love it and I don't like to share. :) But there are a few quotes I don't think she'd mind if I passed along.
"For the first time in my life while reading, I laughed, cried, got angry, felt warm inside ... I didn't want it to end."
"While I was reading the book, I seemed to realize how much we take for granted, such as ice cream, a warm bath, and a bed with sheets and blankets. I lay in the bed now, thankful for all that I have ..."
"It was amazing to me that I could get so involved in words on a piece of paper, but it felt great."
Sarah's letter made me a little teary-eyed when I read it this morning. It makes me teary-eyed now. It's thrilling to know that she enjoyed this book and that she wants to read more.
Most authors don't make all that much money on their stories. 85% of us have to show up at our day jobs to afford to keep writing. But we do it anyway, because we are compensated in ways too glorious to miss. Like our first fan letters.
Thank you, Sarah. Readers like you are the reason I write.