Fan Mail Wednesday #61

Wow, I’m busy today. I really don’t have time to mess around with . . .

Oh, right. You don’t care about that. You are a beast that needs to be fed, my monster under the floorboards, a fiery furnace that wants only one thing: Fan Mail Wednesday!

Back, Beast! Back! Maybe this email from Melissa in Florida with sate your gaping maw.

Dear Mr. Preller,

I have attached a letter I wrote you as my book report homework.  I will get extra credit if I send it to you. I have cc’d my teacher.

I am going to go to the library to get more of your books.


So I opened the attached document and found this:

Dear Mr. Preller,

My name is Melissa, I am 11 years old. I am in fifth grade in Clearwater, Florida.

Did you ever have a food fight? I never had a food fight.

Did you ever solve mysteries when you were a little?

I liked your book.

I replied:

Dear Melissa:

So. You liked my book. Sigh. Would it have killed you to lie a little? You could have closed your letter, “I loved your book.” Think of how much better I would have felt. But liked? Gee, that’s awfully close to a yawn. Very similar to: “Your book was okay, more or less.”

Or better yet, you could have told me it was the best book you ever read — and very probably the best book you will EVER read. That I’m terrific, sensational, stupendous!

Would that have been so hard, Melissa? It’s called “fan mail.” You know, short for FAN-atic. Let’s bump up the enthusiasm, shall we?

Now I’m depressed.

You see, that’s the way it is with authors. We are fragile flowers, shivering on cold nights, our teeth chattering in the wind. We need the warmth of constant love. And failing that, we’ll gladly settle for false praise! Remember that next to you write to Lois Lowry or Kate DiCamillo.

I previously answered your question regarding the food fight at some length in this greatly entertaining post, which you should read. Go ahead, click on that link; I’ll tap my foot and wait.

Hum-dee-dum, dee dum-dum.

As to your other question, Melissa, O Cold-Hearted Reader: Growing up, I was the youngest of seven children. While I never fashioned myself a detective in the mold of Jigsaw Jones, I absolutely did my share of spying. I specialized in finding Christmas presents far in advance of December 25th. It was naughty, sneaky fun — but made for some anti-climactic holidays. I also liked hiding under tables, eavesdropping. I discovered that if you are very quiet, very still, sometimes they forget you are there.

For a long time.

Sometimes, very long.

The truth is, Melissa, I once lived in a closet for three weeks. I was six. It got kind of sad after a while — but I’m better now! I’ve forgiven my parents. It was an honest mistake. They were busy. I sort of slipped their minds. It was during the 1960’s. A hectic time.



Sorry, silly mood today. Please check out my link for a more thoughtful answer to your question, with exclusive “insider info” on the making of that book.

My best,


P.S.: Now make sure your teacher forks over that extra credit!


  1. paul says:

    Melissa will NEVER be the same!!!

  2. Jigsaw says:

    Dear Mr Preller i like it if you would make a jigsaw jones book about a new team mate named the same as him and he loves myteries like The first Jigsaw and the first Jigsaw thinks he is is bad for his team mila thinks he is ok what do you think about the story

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