I got this note all the way from Jersey! Actually, I figure the info in my response might help somebody else, so I thought I’d pass it along.
Dear Mr. Preller,
My name Jordan and I am eleven years old. I go to school in New Jersey. Your book, Along Came Spider, was a really good book. I have recommended your book to all of my friends. I couldn’t stop reading. Your characters really put a vivid picture in my mind. Trey was my favorite character. He has real guts to turn his hair green. Trey was also very funny. I will have to read some more of your books. I am so glad that I chose your book to read. Will you be willing to sign my copy of Along Came Spider if I sent it to you? You are a wonderful author.
You are absolutely correct. I am a wonderful author! Heck, I’m a fabulously wonderful . . .
Wait, hold on. Not humble enough? Maybe I came off a little egotistical there, do you think? That wouldn’t be good for my carefully controlled image as a warm, kind-hearted children’s author. So let me try that again . . .
My Dear Jordan:
You are absolutely correct. I am a wonderful author! Thanks for your kind letter. I am really glad to hear your reaction to my book. You know, after you write a book, you just hope that people will find it, read it, like it. There are so many other great books out there. I’m grateful that you read mine.
I think Trey is funny, too. One of the great things about Trey is that he’s his own person. He goes his own way. At a time in school when so many kids worry about what everybody else thinks, Trey has a quirky little gift — he doesn’t really know what everybody thinks! So he’s free to be perfectly himself.
And while Trey has many difficulties in school, I also made sure to show that Trey had many, many strengths. He’s a nice guy. He’s smart. He knows all kinds of interesting (and not-so-interesting) facts. He loves nature (except squirrels, which he hates). Trey is very good at building things. And, yes, he has the singular courage to dye his hair green. Like you said, he has real guts.
As an aside, my own son once dyed his hair green, but under very different circumstances. Nick was sick and it was all going to fall out anyway, so he figured, might as well have fun with it. (Nick has guts, too.)
Anyway, yes, I’d be happy to sign your book. (Or anyone else’s, for that matter.) Just send me the book and be sure to include a self-addressed, stamped envelope so I can return it to you. My address is 12 Brookside Drive, Delmar, NY, 12054.
Thanks for writing.