Fan Mail Wednesday #21

Time’s a-wasting, so away we go:

Dear Mr Preller,

I recently read The Case of the Best Pet Ever. The main character of the book is funny and likes finding out mysteries. I noticed that Rags looks a lot like Daisy. Rags sleeps, drools, barks at the door bell and never seems to get things where he means to put them. Is that just like Daisy?

Is Rain just like your daughter? I liked her because she was the owner of the pet store and I love pets. I really liked when the ferret helped the team discover the mystery of how they lost their stuff. I also liked the time when all the pets came together for the contest and it got really nutty. Our family has stuff like that happen. Does your family have that kind of fun also? I also really liked how the little piece of fur lead them to discover the mystery of who was taking their stuff. I think it will help me to try to notice little things each day.

My favorite chapter is Rags to Riches, because at the end it tells us who took all their stuff. At Fins and Feathers it was really neat to imagine how crazy it was. I also thought it was cool that Rain the girl character was so active. I really felt like I knew her and I liked her because she was a girl.

Continued Success,

Reece

I replied:

Hi Reece,

Thanks for your kind and well-written note. You are an observant reader. Like a good detective, you notice small details.

You are right about Rags — he does look like my current dog, Daisy. But it’s only a coincidence.

When I wrote that book, we had a basset hound named Seamus (the book is dedicated to him). Seamus ate socks, stole food off the table, drooled constantly, and smelled bad. And those were his best features! He inspired aspects of Rags. While doing research, I discovered a Doggie IQ Test. You place a towel over the dog’s head and observe its reaction. An alert dog quickly shakes off the towel. A medium dog might wait a few seconds before responding. And a dog like Seamus sits and wonders who turned out the lights. Or in Rags’ case, falls asleep!

Jigsaw gets pretty bummed about Rags — he wasn’t going to win any talent shows — until Jigsaw realizes Rags’ true talent. As Jigsaw notes late in the book:

The big fur ball loved me with all his heart. Every minute of every hour of every day.

And that’s no small trick.

My father patted me on the shoulder. “A wise man once said, ‘Try to be the person your dog thinks you are.'”

He smiled and headed back into the kitchen. “I have an important meeting with a cheesecake,” he explained.

What else? Oh, yeah, you mentioned Rain. I wanted her father to be a “crunchy granola” type, thus his daughter’s name. I liked Jigsaw’s line after his brother, Billy, tells Jigsaw that his new girlfriend’s name is Rain. Jigsaw asks, “Does she have a sister named Partly Cloudy?”

My best,

JP

P.S. This was a difficult book for me, because when I was writing it my oldest son, Nicholas, became sick with leukemia. Though I did my best to keep working, my concentration was not great. And writing is nothing if not concentration. I finally asked my publisher for help and Howie Dewin stepped in as co-author. While this book is mostly me, some parts are not. The whole experience was a blur. So I look at that book and feel like it could have been better. It sort of bothers me. After that I took a break, then came back strong with Jigsaw Jones #23: The Case of the Perfect Prank.

P.S.S. Nick is doing great, by the way!

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