Fan Mail Wednesday #190: A Future Detective Named Vaughn Just Wants to Know



Here we go, Fan Mail Wednesday! But first, let’s shake it out with a little zumba . . .

Just kidding, folks. You can relax.

James-Preller-cropped1Also, please note: This is the 1,001st post since I started this blog in May, 2008, back when I had dreams of RULING THE INTERNET. That’s an average of something like eight gazillion posts a year, and it’s pretty exhausting. I’ve slowed down the pace over the past few years, no longer  worrying much about this blog, or about getting “hits” or anything like that, but lately I’ve decided to step up my efforts. So don’t be surprised if the next time you stop by there’s some new throw pillows and curtains. You might even smell some incense and potpourri.

And if I haven’t said it lately, thank you, sincerely, for stopping by. The internet is deep and vast; it’s really something that you’ve managed to find yourself here, reading this. I’m grateful for that.

Here’s a note from my new main man of all men, Vaughn:


I replied:

Hi, Vaughn,

Thanks a lot for reading my book, and thanks a really lot for writing to tell me about it.

795.Sch_Jigsaw_jones_0.tifYou hope that Hermie doesn’t get eaten by a snake? Imagine how Hermie feels!

Do I like detectives? Oh, yeah, for sure. I love trying to figure out mysteries, looking for clues, solving secret codes, and encountering new characters. But one of the things that I grew to love about this series was the friendship, and the loyalty, between Jigsaw and Mila. They always look out for each other.

As a young boy, maybe even around your age, I used to spy on my brothers and sisters (I’m the youngest of seven). I’d hide in weird places, sneak around corners, crawl silently up darkened stairways. I used to own a “spy scope,” which was a long, expandable telescope that could be used to see around corners. Man, I loved that toy. Once I even watched in horror as my big brother, Billy, and his girlfriend, the beautiful & sweet-smelling Janice Snellbaker, kissed! They didn’t know I was there.

All I can say is: Yuck!

Some things, Vaughn, are hard to unsee.

I hope you keep reading books, any books at all, even mine. Good luck with your detective work. Remember this: Don’t give up, don’t ever give up.

My best,



  1. heidi mansa says:

    Dear JP,
    My name is Miss Mansa, Vaughn’s teacher. We just read your Blog. How exciting for ALL of us!!! Thank you for writing back! We love reading! What a thrill for a young reader to receive mail back from one of his favorite authors. Now all of the kids will want to write to their favorite author! If you are ever in Boca Raton Florida, please stop by to see us at Addison Mizner Elementary.
    Your friends,
    Miss Mansa and kids

  2. jimmy says:

    My pleasure. In fact, I recently received a query for a visit to Boca Raton, thanks to my book BYSTANDER, which made your state list a while back. So . . . you never know! As I wrote privately to Vaughn’s mom, she deserves a lot of credit for supporting his efforts and figuring out a way to get the letter to me (easy: email). Just saying that once again there’s another super mom standing behind the next great man.

  3. Jennie says:

    Thank you SO much for your wonderful response! Vaughn is SO thrilled about it! It is so kind of you to take the time to answer a child’s letter…he realllllly wanted to send you that letter too. So we feel honored and excited to receive such a witty, fun, thoughtful and inspiring response back from you.
    Thank you so very much!
    Jennie (Vaughn’s mom)

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