Tag Archive for James Preller Fan Mail

FAN MAIL WEDNESDAY #263: It’s 2 Degrees Out, Let’s Talk Baseball (Obviously)!

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The mail always gets delivered — through rain, sleet, and mind-numbingly (toe-numbingly?) cold weather. This one’s from Kaprice in Iowa!

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I replied:

Dear Kaprice,

I am always glad to receive a letter about Six Innings, but it’s especially true today in the midst of frozen winter. It is actually 2 degrees outside as I type this. Two skinny degrees! Fortunately the sky is clear, the color of a robin’s egg, and the sun brightly reflected on the snow. Not a good day for baseball, but not so bad for sipping tea and staring out the window.

Titles can be tricky! For some books, I know the title from the beginning: Bystander and Six Innings, for example. For my new book, Better Off Undead, oh dear, that one took forever. But that book took me six years to write (don’t ask!), so I had plenty of time to come up with a lot of bad ideas. My original title was Zombie Me, which I still think is pretty good.

paperback-cover-six-inningsLike you, I am a baseball fan and enjoy reading about the sport. Roger Angell once famously quipped that writers love baseball so much because it’s the only sport that’s slow enough for them to understand. For Six Innings, my idea was to use the game as a structure for writing about characters, people. I knew from the beginning that I wanted the heart of the book to take place over the course of one game, six innings at the Little League level. But again: the game was only a device for exploring character. Real people, what they think and feel.

My oldest son, Nick, 24, is a two-time cancer survivor. I was inspired by his experiences, in particular his friendship with a boy named Sam Lewis. I find that’s often how it works with writing: the details of our own life inevitably leak into our stories, even the ones that are “made up.”

Thank you & Happy New Year!

James Preller

FAN MAIL WEDNESDAY #258: Hamsters & 2nd Graders

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I’m feeling incredibly blessed lately. Every day something good comes my way. I don’t know what to make of it, frankly, or how long it can last, but I’m not taking any of it for granted. Check out this sweet little email I received the other day.

 

Hello,

Attached are some pictures of our hamsters and hamster cages inspired by your book, The Case of Hermie, The Missing Hamster.
My class loved this book and are now enjoying many of your other books.

Rose S____

Second Grade Teacher
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See what I mean?
This particular title is currently out of print, but it’s nice to see that it’s still loved. Maybe Macmillan will bring it back? What do you think, Liz Szabla? After all, it’s the book that started the series. 
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Fan Mail Wednesday #252: I’m Working on it, Beattrice!

 

 

Here’s a letter from sweet Beattrice in Indiana, who clearly loathes the idea of me lazing around & relaxing. Work, work, work, work, work.

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I replied:

 

Dear Beattrice:

I AM TRYING!!!

I mean to say, thank you for your request. I very much appreciate that you’d like for me to write more books.

It’s so much nicer than if you wrote, for example, “Please stop writing books. Seriously. Please. Stop.”

Ha, that would have been kind of sad.

Outer Space_FCThere is a new Jigsaw Jones book coming out this August, The Case from Outer Space. And by November, there will be 8 “classroom classics” available for the first time in years –- previously published Jigsaw Jones books, newly revised and updated, all from Macmillan.

In the meantime, just to make you happy, Beattrice, I’ll stop writing this letter . . . and start working on the next book!

Have a great summer.

James Preller

FAN MAIL WEDNESDAY #249: “I want to nok your adress so I can vist.”

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This one included a kind teacher as an intermediary, helping a student make a connection. We ended up shooting a few emails back and forth, but I didn’t post those here. Stacey wrote:

I have a letter I would like you to read and hopefully write back to this young man.  Thank you for your consideration.

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I replied:

Dear Collin,

I hope I got that name correct.

First of all, my gosh, I love that you live in Osh Kosh.

What a name!

I’ve heard of it all my life, but you are the first person I’ve ever “met” who actually lives there. Are you a big Packers fan?

Thank you for reading The Case of the Stolen Baseball Cards. I’m glad you liked it. Usually it takes me two months to write a Jigsaw Jones book. The first month, I bang my head against the wall, hoping to find ideas. Guess what I’ve learned? There are no ideas in the wall.

Eventually I get down to work. I get my butt in the chair, open to a clean page, and start to write. That’s the trick, mostly. Getting in that chair, getting away from all the distractions — the tv, my cell phone, the dog, my children, and a million other things — and writing.

Outer Space_FCI just wrote the 41st Jigsaw Jones book, titled The Case from Outer Space. It is coming out in August, along with four other “classic” titles that have been hard to find the past few years. Jigsaw Jones is back! By November, there will be 9 Jigsaw Jones books available in stores. I’m super happy about that — and I know that it couldn’t have happened with readers like you.

And, yes, I depend on teachers like Ms. ______, too!

BTW, I live pretty far away from you, in a town called Delmar, NY, just south of Albany. I’d love for you to visit if you are ever in the neighborhood. Though I am concerned that the brownies might get stale.

That would make me sad. Stale brownies. Sigh.

I think the rice krispies treats, however, should travel well.

Come see me anytime. And thank you so much for your terrific letter.

James Preller

 

FAN MAIL WEDNESDAY #248: “I wish I had all the books but I don’t.”

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Okay, I loved this one from Abby for several reasons, including the sentence: “I wish I had all the books but I don’t.

But it was this drawing that killed me:

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Here’s the rest of Abby’s letter:

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I replied:

Dear Abby:

Thank you for your kind letter. I am especially grateful for the drawing of Jigsaw Jones that you enclosed.

I taped it to my wall to help remind me why I write those books –- for kids like you.

As a reader, I love libraries. There are so many books, and all of them are free. Do you have your own library card? I think it’s a good idea. Hopefully you can find more “Jigsaw Jones” books that way. Just hop in your car and drive to the . . .

Or, wait, maybe you don’t own a car? Maybe you don’t even drive! In which case: DON’T DRIVE TO THE LIBRARY! That would be crazy and dangerous. Maybe ask a parent.

I have a new Jigsaw Jones book coming out this August, titled The Case from Outer Space. I’m very happy with it. By November, 8 titles will be back in print.

Since you are obviously an artist, here’s a special “sneak peek” of a couple of illustrations by R. W. Alley from the book.

 

Up in the treehouse with Danika, Mila, Jigsaw, and Joey.

Up in the treehouse with Danika, Mila, Jigsaw, and Joey.

"It's all very mysterious," Danika said. "That's why we came to you." Art by R.W. Alley.

“It’s all very mysterious,” Danika said. “That’s why we came to you.” Art by R.W. Alley.

 

Maybe if you keep drawing, we can team up for our own book someday! We can call it, THE DAY ABBY DROVE TO THE LIBRARY AND RAN OVER THE HYDRANGEA. Best-seller, I can feel it.

I’ve written many books. The only other series I wrote is titled “Scary Tales.” Maybe you can wait a little bit on those — unless you are absolutely fearless!

My best,

James Preller