Today I received a pile of fan letters in the mail, forwarded from my publisher, and I’ve just spent some time reading a few of them. This batch came from all over the United States; it came from Canada, Sweden, Germany, the Czech Republic, Australia, New Zealand… To answer a few questions that come up a lot: Yes, I do receive these letters. Sometimes it takes a while, but they always get to me eventually. No, I do not throw them away. I don’t even throw them away after I’ve read them. I still have every single fan letter I’ve ever received.
It’s impossible to express the amazement with which I read these letters. How touched I am by the sensitivity of my readers, by the things they notice and appreciate. By the clever and succinct questions they ask that make me laugh, and sometimes suddenly see the flaws in my own books (which is a good thing!). By the respect they have for the work I’ve done, and the courage they have as they write or parent or go to school or do whatever it is they’re doing in their own lives. By the love they have for my characters. The love my readers have for my characters means so much to me!
One of the things I love about my job is that I have published only three books, but every reader is different and brings something unique to his or her reading. So every time someone reads one of those books, the combination of book and reader creates a unique book, a book that no one else has read or ever could read. I write three books, but with your help, it becomes hundreds and thousands and maybe even hundreds of thousands of books, each one different. We create the books together, which is awesome. Each of us owns our own unique version exclusively, which is a precious thing.
Thank you, readers, for creating my books with me. Thank you for loving them, hating them, getting angry at them, finding solace in them, using them as coasters — thank you for opening them, so that my characters can live in your minds. You are probably not thinking about this when you’re reading — and really, you shouldn’t be, because the author shouldn’t matter — but your reading is an act of generosity that I can never repay.