Fan Mail Wednesday #87

Crazy busy time of year. Spring hits, the family calendar fills up, and we can barely keep up with our day jobs. Quick: Let’s answer a letter.

This one came the old-fashioned way . . . by Pony Express!

I replied:

Dear Madison from Canyon Lake:

Best letter ever. I mean it.

Okay, maybe you share first place with a bunch of other folks, but nobody beats Madison from Canyon Lake. As a children’s book author, there’s nothing better than hearing that maybe you helped someone become enthusiastic about reading.

I love books and I am amazed at the life that has come to me through that love of books. As a kid, I never planned on being a writer. I planned on being an All-Star southpaw pitcher for the New York Mets. (As John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”) These days, I am always reading something, with a long list of books that I’m eager to tackle next. So many books, so little time. It makes me happy to think that you are on the same journey: reading, thinking, learning. Keep up the great work.

The Case of the Buried Treasure is one of my all-time favorite books in the series. There’s a lot of little things that I snuck in there, such as a sly tribute to former NY Mets manager Gil Hodges, and another to Alfred Hitchcock. I also paid tribute to a 1963 movie that was a favorite from back when I was a boy, “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.” You can find that in the chapter titled, “The Big Y.” I tend to think young readers don’t notice these things, like small treasures I bury in the story, but it pleases me to include them just the same. I guess I put them in there for the parents who might be reading along — and for myself.

For readers who don’t know the book, here’s the first in a series of riddles that Jigsaw must solve in order to locate the treasure: A man left home. He ran as fast as he could. Then he turned to the left. He ran and turned left again. He ran and turned left again. He headed back for home. He saw two masked men waiting for him. Yet he was not afraid.

Jigsaw’s grandmother, a baseball lover, helps him figure it out.

Thanks for writing. Your friend,

James Preller


  1. Tami Faour says:

    Mr. Preller,

    Thank you for answering my daughter’s letter. She was so excited to receive you letter, and read it on the internet as well.

    Tami Faour

  2. Jimmy says:

    My pleasure. I’m so glad she liked it.

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