Tag Archive for James Preller Fan Mail

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

FAN MAIL WEDNESDAY #243: From Johanna in CT

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I recently turned 56. That’s 8 in dog years, or time you start thinking about getting a new puppy. You know, to ease the transition. It’s disconcerting to discover that I’ve been getting a little weirder over the years. A tad stranger. Or maybe that’s just the liberation of time, of caring less what might be misconstrued, of feeling free to speak my (scattered) mind. It might be a good thing, writing-wise. Anyway, I sometimes feel a little sorry for the poor kid who sends me a beautiful letter and receives whatever I might dash back. When it comes to answering fan mail, I’m not a machine. There’s no brilliant strategy here. I just start typing and try to keep it real. For better and for, I’m sure, worse.

Here’s the opening of Johanna’s two-page letter, followed by my reply:

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I replied:

Dear Johanna,

Thank you for your well-written (typed!) letter.

While reading it, I found that I admired you quite a bit. Not because you liked my book. I’m not that shallow. But because your words revealed a pensive, inquisitive, open mind. An admirable brain & spirit!

I don’t know. I’m fumbling. What am I trying to say?

I’ll never forget when a friend in college said to me, in a casual, offhanded sort of way, “Oh, I learned that question yesterday.”

41m-cvcfcxl-_sx337_bo1204203200_It struck me as funny. The idea of learning a question. Aren’t we supposed to learn answers? Figure stuff out? Know things? And now I think . . . well, yes and no. A big part of life is learning the questions. And one of the biggest is, What do I do with time here on Earth? How should I spend my days? How do I treat others? What does it mean?

I don’t think a book, or an author, or anyone else can provide us with the answers. We find those inside ourselves. We discover, we learn, we grow. And it all begins with the search -– the seeking, the quest! –- the quest/ions –- the inner desire to think and learn. You’ve got that, I could instantly sense it, and that’s a great quality to have. It’ll take you far.

Anyway, I’m sorry; feeling weirdly philosophical today. Maybe it was the tone of your letter. You seem to be the kind of person who enjoys that sort of conversation.

Oh, hey, not to turn this into a commercial, but you might also very much like my book, The Fall, which touches on some of these same themes but goes to a darker place. Check it out at your school or town library. Or hey, go buy it in paperback for $6.99 and line my pockets with gold.

I really appreciate your (deep!) thoughts, thanks.

James Preller

 

FAN MAIL WEDNESDAY #237: A Video Blast from Nadia!

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This lively letter concluded with a bar code that I could scan, complete with password, in order to see a video by the letter writer. In this case, the lovely Nadia. I’ve only included an except of her letter, which went two pages, in addition to my response.

Here’s Nadia:

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I replied:

Dear Nadia,

I love the video attachment you included in your letter. I’ve only received a couple of those in the past, so it was a real treat to see your face and get a blast of your personality. And it did come through in blasts, loud and clear. Pleased to meet you!

I’d make one for you but that would require for me to know what I’m actually doing and, ummmm, that’s not happening. I think I’m most comfortable with my fingers on the keyboard. Point a camera at me and I tighten up.

You favorite place is Hawaii? I’ll try not to be too jealous. I’m a fan of Poughkeepsie, New York. Sigh.

Art by Iacopo Bruno from THE ONE-EYED DOLL.

Art by Iacopo Bruno from THE ONE-EYED DOLL.

Thank you for the kind words about my “Scary Tales” series. It’s a funny thing about scary books. They seem to attract the sweetest readers. People I’d never expect, bright and lively and full of joy, will come up and tell me how much they looooove creepy stories. Well, I’m doing my best. I’ve written six “Scary Tales” books so far. At the end of 2017, I’ll have a midde-grade book coming out, Better Off Undead. It features a seventh-grade zombie, Adrian, as the main character. It’s a wild story that touches upon climate change, spy drones, colony collapse disorder, forest fires, beekeeping, evil billionaires, makeovers, water shortages, and more. As someone with a keen interest in the health of the planet, I guess that’s what I personally find scary: the future!

img_2054In addition, I’ve got a new “Jigsaw Jones” coming out, The Case from Outer Space (August, 2017, Macmillan). My dog Daisy is fine, thanks for asking. She needs a walk right now and it’s super cold outside. I don’t want to do it. But I love her, and I suppose that true love involves doing things you don’t always want to do. Better put on my extra-thick socks!

Keep reading, happy holidays, and let’s hope for a better year in 2017!

James Preller