Fan Mail Wednesday #69

Yikes, I’m getting behind on my fan mail — I can only marvel at how Santa must feel! How in the North Pole does he keep up with it?

I know! Santa has those eager little helpers.

I’ve got to get me some . . . Elvises!

Wait, hold on. That’s not right. I mean: cute little Elfs elves.

Urm. Hmmm. I was thinking something more along the lines of this . . .

(Excuse me, my wife is on the phone. This won’t take a minute.)

“What’s that, honey? I can’t . . . could you stop screaming . . . no, it was a joke . . . I’m just . . . PUT DOWN THE GOLF CLUB . . . yes, dear . . . yes, dear . . . you know I’d never . . . [CLICK] honey? . . . sugar lips? . . . dumpling?”

Oh, hey, I’m back! Gee, this is awkward. Actually, I’ve decided that life might be more peaceful around here if my helper looked like this . . .

In any event, let’s answer some mail before I get into any more trouble!

Dear James Preller,

My name is Aditya. I am 9 years old.  I live in Hong Kong.  I go to Glenealy School.

I am one of your greatest fan! I love your books especially The Jigsaw Jones Mysteries.They are the best books I have ever read! I have read so many of your books right now.

I want to ask; Do you have a friend called ‘Milla Yeh’ like Jigsaw Jones? And is your dog SLOBBERY like Jigsaw’s dog?

I hope to get a reply from you,

From one of your greatest fan.
Aditya V

I replied:


Thanks for your email. It’s so cool to hear from you all the way from Hong Kong!

That’s far away from where I live, in upstate New York. I just looked at the website for your school — it seems like a happy place. Do you wear a blue-and-white checkered shirt? When I was in elementary school, I had to wear green pants, a white shirt, and a green tie. Every day. For six long years.

I hate the color green. Sigh.

I have a friend named Phoebe Yeh, who is very proud of her Chinese heritage. I worked with Phoebe many years ago at Scholastic. She is now a very important editor at HarperCollins. I don’t think she minded that I stole her last name for my books. It was my way on honoring her a little bit.

As for the name Mila, boy, that’s caused a lot of confusion over the years. I once knew a girl name Mila (pronounced My-La), and I always thought it was a nice, unusual name. But I realize that some people pronounce it Me-la, such as the actress Mila Kunis. Anyway, that’s often how I come up with names for characters. I borrow them from people I know, kids I meet on school visits, or from old baseball players (Joey Pignattano, for example). Who knows, maybe I’ll steal your name one day. Aditya sounds like a swell name for a new character. Do you think she’d be nice?

There was a slobbering dog I remember from my childhood, owned by a kid around the block, Harry McCrystal (that’s a great name, too, by the way — funny how some names just feel right). Harry’s dog was this huge, black, clumsy Newfoundland — and it drooled slime all day long. It was a gentle dog. Harmless. But on hot summer days, watch out, or he’d slime you something awful.

Have you ever seen one?

Pretty cute, huh? That’s exactly the image I had in my mind when I wrote the first Jigsaw Jones book. But the illustrator had a slightly different idea. My current dog, Daisy, is a golden doodle. She’s not too smart, but I’m happy to report that she does not SLOBBER.

Thanks for writing, Aditya . . . all the way from Hong Kong!


One comment

  1. paul says:

    Your wife is not much of a golfer, but she is big into basketball, so watch out where she might put that ball if you get out of line…

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