Fan Mail Wednesday #126 (Across Shared Solitudes)

Here’s one from Matthew . . .

Hello Mr. Preller. First of all, I love your books. I was wondering what inspired you to write your awesome books? How old were you when you began writing? I like the Jigsaw Jones series the best. My favorite is The Case of the Million Dollar Mystery. With a million dollars on the line, I was so nervous the case wouldn’t be solved in time. I love books that keep me turning the pages just to see what happens, and this was definitely one of them. Thanks for taking the time to read this and thanks for writing such great books!
I replied . . .
Thanks for your kind letter. It means a lot to me when readers take the time to reach out. It’s funny. As authors, we write in solitude, alone in a silent room (actually, I’m blasting the new Wilco CD right now). Reading is also a silent, solitary act. Yet somehow we communicate across those shared solitudes. You and me, together. Amazing.
When I was young, I used to make little comic books and sell them to the folks in my neighborhood. But in truth, I didn’t get serious about writing until college. That’s when I gradually came to love books, love reading: it fit my personality. At a certain point, I decided to try it for myself. Why not?
The curious thing is, I’m shy about certain things. I never want to embarrass myself, and that prevents me from being much of a risk-taker. For example, I never had the courage to act in a school play; I never dove off the high diving board in the town pool, worried that I might belly flop in front of so many people. Public dancing? Scary. But writing was something I could do by myself, in perfect safety. I could write and not share it with anyone. There was no one to laugh at me, poke fun at my failings.
So as writers, you and I can try new things, take new risks, without the worry of what others might think. Eventually, when you are ready (and not a moment before!), you might share your writing with a trusted friend or adult. Somehow that process worked for me, the boy who was always a little too concerned about what other people might think.
My best,

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