One of the most enjoyable aspects of being a writer is getting fan mail. I should probably say fan e-mail, as that’s the main form correspondence takes these days. Though I do get some conventional letters forwarded from Scholastic and Random House, they are the exception rather than the rule.
After all the hard work of researching, writing, and re-writing multiple drafts of a novel, a fan letter is a nice pat on the back that validates the investment of time and energy. The letters that I enjoy most are those that come from young readers who say that they never cared much for books but one of my novels–THE BROKEN BLADE is the title most commonly cited–inspired them to become an active reader. As a former English teacher this is especially gratifying to me, because I spent 28 years of my life trying to inspire kids to read.
But of all the letters I’ve received, the one that made the biggest impression of all, didn’t come from a student. It was sent a retired man in Fort Meyers, Florida, named David Crook. Mr. Crook was so taken with a phrase in THE BROKEN BLADE that he had it copied on a vinyl sign which he put in the rear window of his RV. In his words:
“The Broken blade is one of the most incredible stories I have ever read. I love the quote; ‘While most men worry away their lives counting coins, we voyageurs live with the magic of the open water. We travel as the sun and wind allow. All places we’ve been are with us every moment of our lives.’ I had a vinyl sticker made by a sign shop, that covers the entire rear window of my Roadtrek RV. I can’t tell you how many people have read that saying and stopped to talk about it. If I am driving down the road, people slow down long enough to read it and then give me the ‘Thumbs up’ as they pass us. Many, many times people have waited for me in a parking lot just to talk about the quote. Just wanted you to know. I always encourage them to buy the book.”
Here’s the neat photo Mr. Crook sent me via e-mail, of course: