JAN: I'm sure I speak for us at Jungle Red when all I say we all love to get fan mail. Every correspondence is hugely appreciated. I, for one, am always amazed and touched that there are readers out there who take valuable time out of their days to write a note.
Maybe it's because I have a secret fantasy of teaching high school English, but an email I received recently from a fifteen year old boy from Toronto went straight to my heart. It made me think a bit about why we all write murder mysteries.
Eeshmam Munir is a student at the Scarborough Academy of Technological, Environmental and Computer Education in Toronto, who had read A Confidential Source, the first in my Hallie Ahern series. It started with a simple email: He wrote me to ask if the mayor, Billy Lopresti, or anyone from the Providence Police, was involved in the conspiracy which explains the murder. He added, "Can you please tell me before December 14th because I need to know before my class presentation."
I was so excited that I'm sure I went on and on -- with more detail than necessary explaining more than he wanted to know. But it really tickled me to think of a high school student an
alyzing my book. Thinking about what it all was supposed to mean.
Later, he wrote me back to thank me and sent along the pdf. file of the poster he made and presented to his class. I thought, it doesn't get any better than this. What a treat to see how someone else's imagination interprets your own imaginary characters and world??
Through later emails, Eeshmam said I could run his poster here, but being WAY more responsible and diligent than I ever am, asked me to cite the links where he got his art. (I run those at the bottom) Also, he asks that no one download his artwork from here. So no downloading.
The best part, for me, was that he also explained why he chose each image in the poster. The white sedan, for example, is in one of the earliest scenes, a getaway car for the murderer. It also turns up in later scenes and for another murder. That's why he put it against a dark background.
The woman in the middle is Eeshmam's idea of what my protagonist, Hallie would look like. As it turns out she looks a lot like the actress Anna Torv from the TV series Fringe, which is a big compliment to Hallie. She is holding a flashlight in this poster to symbolize "no matter what happens she will get to the truth."
The character to the left represents is the prosecutor Matt Cavanaugh, who is Hallie's love interest throughout the series. The man on the right is Hallie's confidential source, Leonard, the talk show host. Eeshmam says they are on either side of Hallie to symbolize their support for her 'honesty and bravery." (That comment alone made my writing career worthwhile.)
You can't read it here in the compressed image, but on the bottom he wrote: No one wants to know the ugly truth. This hits on the theme that no one in power wanted to own up to either the murder or the conditions that gave incentive for the murder.
And here Eeshman gets at why we write mysteries. Because in our worlds, we want to believe that although it's a struggle, the good guys will eventually expose the truth. That the flashlight will shine.
Okay, so this was my favorite fan letter ever, but I know there are a lot of writers out there who read this blog, so come on, now it's your turn: Tell us about your favorite fan letter. Or if you are a fan, tell us if and when you were compelled to send a fan letter.
Below are the attributions for the images used.
http://i2.paultan.org/mazda3/m3s1.jpg: White sedan.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Seal_of_Rhode_Island.svg: The seal of Rhode Island.
http://i38.tinypic.com/xn9t7t.jpg: Anna Torv, who stars at the show Fringe on FOX, as Hallie.
http://tv.yahoo.com/the-x-files/show/273/photos/9: The actor Mitche Pileggi in the X-Files series represents Leonard of Late Night.
http://l.yimg.com/l/tv/us/img/site/10/62/0000061062_20090910164904.jpg: This picture represents prosecutor attorney general Matt. It is Joshua Jackson, also from a FOX TV series Fringe.
http://www.wlcntv.com/media/uploads/articles/police_cruiser.jpg: This is the background picture the brick wall and a police cruiser light flashing.
And thanks again Eeshmam, for one of my very favorite Christmas presents this year!