Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Fanning the Creative Flames: Kim Fay on Fan Letters


SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: I'm delighted to introduce Kim Fay, the author of the Edgar Award-nominated A MAP OF LOST MEMORIES, on fan letters — both receiving and writing. And the importance of kindness and support, and that amazing  connection to writers we love. Welcome, Kim!

KIM FAY: I was having a bad week. It’s what writers do. Along with writing, we have bad hours, bad days, bad weeks. Often (when we’re lucky), we can write our way through them, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t disheartening.

This bad week came along with its usual nagging voice—you’re a lousy writer, this is a stupid idea, give up and go back to ... teaching, bookselling, editing, fill in the blank. Then, a letter came in the mail. Remember those? Envelopes. Stamps. Handwriting on real paper. This real paper had a beautiful watercolor of an Angkor temple on it, and a note that contained these words:

“I’ve just surfaced from a cover-to-cover read of ‘The Map of Lost Memories.’ I absolutely loved it on so many levels.”

A fan letter.

My heart fluttered!

A fan letter from Dawn Rooney.

My heart soared!!

Dawn is one of the world’s eminent experts on Angkor Wat. Her books were my anchors as I wrote The Map of Lost Memories, ensuring that I got the facts right. I could not have written my novel without her. And she not only loved my book. She took the time to let me know she loved it.

Suddenly, my bad week wasn’t as bad anymore.

This isn’t to say that I rely on praise from outside in order to write. But let’s be honest: it sure is nice, because if you’ve ever been on other side, you know the passionate feelings that inspire a person to write a fan letter.

I wrote my first fan letter to an author when I was in junior high. I adored Betty Cavanna, and I wrote to her in care of her publisher, telling her how I wanted to be a writer just like you when I grow up. She wrote back. She told me to keep writing. She wished me great success. More than thirty years later her words of encouragement still inspire me.

I wrote another fan letter again when I was in my early twenties. The Los Angeles riots had broken out and I was depressed. I picked up Letter from New York, by Helene Hanff (of 84 Charing Cross Road fame). It’s a slim book of her BBC broadcasts about living in New York—vignettes about how her relationships with her neighbors, many formed around dog walking, created a sense of community. Her tales of friendship and kindness compelled me to write to her.

She responded: “I was very touched that ‘Letter From New York’ brought you back from the L.A. abyss. I spend half my time diving down, into murder mysteries to escape the horrors of Sarajevo and Los Angeles, and the new one waiting to happen somewhere else.”

There was more, words that made me feel less alone. I tucked this note inside my copy of her book and I take it out from time to time, when the world gets particularly ugly and mean. And I think about it often now that I am a writer receiving letters from people who have read my novel. Most fan letters come by email these days, but that makes them no less valuable:

I have just finished reading your extraordinary first novel. Thank you for providing such an enjoyable learning experience. 

Although I have not yet finished reading your book, I could not wait to contact you. There are many passages that I have re-read, as the content stirs many ethical quandaries. 

The plot and characters drew me in, but what I appreciated most was your skill in capturing the sensual details, the sounds, smells and feel of the places you describe. By the time Irene reached the temple I REALLY wanted a bath! Nice work!

Sitting on my Arizona patio in the summer, reading your book, and imagining our heat coupled with humidity made the books' environment seem very real. I read quite a lot and must tell you this is one of the best books I've read in a long time. 

I thoroughly enjoyed every minute reading "The Map of Lost Memories" and didn't want it to end.  

I’m not sharing these emails to toot my own horn. I am sharing them because they touched me. I have about 30 notes from fans at the most. This may not seem like a lot to many people, but to me it is a fortune.

In these days when it’s too easy for every Negative Nellie out there to Tweet, Facebook and Goodreads their complaints, a fan letter is a gift. It is an intimate moment between writer and reader. It is a moment of understanding and being understood. I am grateful for each one.

So, Reds and readers, how about you? 

Have you written a fan letter? 

Have you received one? 

What inspired you to write one? 

What unique joy did you experience when you received one?

Tell us in the comments!





64 comments:

Joan Emerson said...

I often think we've forgotten the importance of telling people how they have touched us, whether it's the author of a book that's moved us in some way, an artist whose work is meaningful to us, or someone whose words and ideas have helped us see things from a different perspective.
And e-mail, so convenient and fast and easy, has allowed us to forget the importance of putting those thoughts down on paper.

Yes, I've written a few fan letters over the years and I've been deeply touched by notes from parents or students that tell me my teaching has made a difference. It's humbling and spirit-soaring at the same time.

Karen in Ohio said...

As an author, I've received a number of wonderful (and a couple of not-so-wonderful) letters from readers, and have saved all of them. Writing is such a solitary pursuit, and knowing that we touched someone, in some way, is icing on the cake for a writer, I think.

The first time I was ever moved to write to an author was to Wayne Dyer, who wrote Your Erroneous Zones, to tell him what a difference his book made in my life. Astonishingly, he wrote back, a long, interesting letter, and he included a packet of materials he thought I might also enjoy, and a paperback. It was fiction, maybe science fiction, and nothing like anything else of his that I'd read, but I was blown away by his generosity. When I started writing, I tried to remember how important it made me feel to get noticed by the writer.

Rhys Bowen said...

I'm going to write a fan letter right now, Kim. I bought Map of Lost Memories when I met you last year in L.A and it was wonderful. One of those books I kept sneaking minutes during my day to keep reading.
And I find fan letters are so humbling and amazing. So many peopple who tell me that my books have helped them through chemo, through the loss of a child, a spouse or even a stint in the homeless shelter.
One doesn't realize when one writes a book that it will actually have an affect on lives and that one can make a difference.

Kathy Reel said...

I have missed this blog and all of you so much for almost a week while I was visiting my son and then on to my hometown. I had lots of fun with family and old friends, but I did miss starting my day with the Jungle Reds blog. So, it is with great joy that I am reading the blog early this morning. I will have to go back and catch up on all the wonderful posts I missed.

Kim, I think it's wonderful how much you appreciate and treasure your fan letters and notes. Coming from the other side as a reader, I know that your reaction would be just what I was hoping for from an author of a favorite book. I have told plenty of authors in person or through my reviews or on social media that I love their books, but with your warm and thoughtful words about how much a written note or letter means, I think I need to thank an author that way sometime. And, your instances of writing authors inspires me, too. As someone who laments the demise of the written letter, I should really try to do more to prevent its extinction.

I'm also grateful that my mind has been jogged about your book Map of Lost Memories. I have it on my TBR list, but I definitely need to move it up.

Hallie Ephron said...

Kim Fay... I so agree. And isn't it insane how much our opinion of our own work can fluctuate from day to day and be transformed by other people's opinions. (I stay out of Amazon because reading a nasty negative comment withers my self confidence.)

I do write letters to authors whose books I've read and loved, and there's no better way to start my day than finding a letter from a reader in my in-box. My new book is about growing up in Beverly Hills in the '50s/'60s and it's been a special treat to hear from people I grew up with but haven't seen in years, who recognize all the landmarks AND feelings.

I even wrote a letter to a cartoonist whose work I admire. Anyone else love Rhymes with Orange? I emailed Hilary Price how much a daily strip had tickled me and she wrote back. I was THRILLED.

(Welcome back, Kathy!)

Reine said...

<3 Dean Koontz sent my assistance dog, Kendall, a book.

Kristopher said...

This just reinforces how much others people's opinions of us matter. Not in that way that validates (or destroys us), but in the way that reminds us that we are all together on this journey we called life.

The world can never have enough goodness and we should all strive to tell others how they have touched us. Personally, I'm thankful for e-mail and my blog, since my handwriting is atrocious. I'd love to send an author a handwritten letter, but they would never know what I said in that case. ;)

That said, you will always find me at the stage door after a particularly touching performance, thanking the performers for their time. I clap at the end of movies I love, even though there is no one involved in the film who can hear. And of course, I take to BOLO Books to write up reviews of the books I love.

It's interesting, just this morning, a writer I love who happened to work at one of my favorite magazines made a simple comment on a FB post about enjoying my reviews and theater critiques and you know that put the biggest smile on my face. With that, one knows the day will be a good one, regardless of whatever else happens.

And before I forget, The Map of Lost Memories is going into my online shopping basket. Thanks Kim.

Denise Ann said...

I loved Betty Cavana and read all of her books!! It's not a name you hear every day! I worked in the town library when I was a young teen, and I could tell you exactly where her books were shelved.

I have written fan mail to authors. One of my precious keepsakes is a post card May Sarton sent me after I wrote to her. Anyone reading this, if you don't know May Sarton, find something she wrote (poetry, memoir, novel).

My path to Jungle Reds was through being a fan of Hallie's -- I read her early novels and loved them, signed up for a class with her, . . .

Lovely post today.

Kristi said...

Those little notes, whether in an email, snail mail or in a review are often what gives me that extra kick to push as hard as I can on my current project. Sometimes as a writer it is easy to forget that anyone is actually reading what I write!
What this great post has reminded me is that I need to also write my own fan mail to some of the authors who blow me away! Last year at Bouchercon, I was STAR STRUCK. I remember seeing Meg Gardiner having breakfast at my hotel the first morning and I was so excited. I was too embarrassed to ever go up and talk to her at the conference, because I was too star struck. I was equally star struck by Hank! But Hank is so darn approachable that at one point walking between hotels, she was beside us and struck up a conversation with us. She is my role model of a class act author. Thank you Hank for your kindness and for being so open. I also got a coveted snapshot with Lee Child thanks to a mutual friend who introduced us.
I think a place like B'Con is the perfect time to let people know how much they inspire me and how much I enjoy their books.
I'm sure at B'Con this year there are some authors I've engaged with online or email that will still leave me star struck and I just need to take the time to tell them how much I admire them (even if I'm VERY embarrassed).

Lucy Burdette aka Roberta Isleib said...

thanks Kim for starting such an interesting conversation! Kristi, almost any author, no matter how "big" would be glad to meet you...

Reine--Dean Koontz--wow! did Kendall like the book?

I sent my first fan letter to Albert Schweitzer (we share the same birth date), but I think I remember that he died before it got there. I also sent one to the famous artist Max Ernst, about whom I was writing my senior thesis. When it came back, I decided to go to New York and ask his son to deliver it. He declined:(.

But on a good fan letter note, I send one to Tom Perotta some years again and got a wonderful hand-written reply.

And the favorite one I received was a letter from a man who was writing for his aunt. She loved my golfer character Cassie Burdette, but she was worried about how much she drank. And assured me that at her country club, women did not drink beer from bottles. I still get a kick out of that!

Susan Elia MacNeal said...

Welcome Kim! (Or, we will welcome Kim when she gets here -- she's on the left coast....)

And welcome back, Kathy!

Christopher says it so well -- there can never be enough goodness in the world. I don't remember writing a fan letter, but I know I've gushed at people and flailed my arms and said all kinds of crazy things about how I love their word and they were all delightful and kind.

When I get a letter, I always treasure it and write back to say thank you. Some exchanges have turned into friendships.

Susan Elia MacNeal said...

Oh shoot -- I meant Kristopher -- no coffee and autocorrect!

Mary Sutton said...

Kim, those are awesome notes. Someday, I hope I can get just one of those from a reader.

I've dropped emails to authors to thank them for their support and books. I also have seen a couple of my favorites, including Hank and Hallie, at conferences and made sure to say hi and let them know 1) I adore their books and 2) thank them for sharing. Because I know that "I suck, I can't write, this will never work" feeling, even though I'm still working toward the day when I see my book in a bookstore.

Julia said...

I've gotten my share of fan letters over the years (usually, as others are saying, in email form.) One of them is from Joan Emerson, which is how we "met!" All of them are wonderful mood-lifters, and I've gotten a lot that have made me think about my choices for upcoming books. So readers, if you wonder if we listen to you, the answer is yes, we do.

FChurch said...

I came to JR through the books of Deborah and Julia (and discovered that Rhys was here, too--I'd read many of her Molly Murphy books). And I came because Deborah and Julia wrote books that stayed with me long after I finished reading them. But I never wrote a fan letter, because I felt that famous important authors would not care about the opinion of a nobody. In fact, I probably lurked about the pages of JR for some time before I ever ventured to make a comment, for the same reason--you are all busy, published authors.

But I think I've learned a bit about the real faces behind the 'famous author' facade--and discovered that you all are truly a great bunch of people--gracious and warmhearted!! And along the way, I've 'met' other fans and new bloggers and great new authors (I'm searching for your book now, Kim).

Reine said...

Kendall and I loved the book. We think Dean Koontz is a hero for supporting assistance dogs and for adopting great pups who don't make it through the rigorous training but are great pets with all their house manners and basic skills. The Koontz's are wonderful.

Grandma Cootie said...

I always make it a point to not write negative reviews or send complaining notes, but I sometimes forget how nice it is to get that positive input. I don't send many handwritten fan letters but do send the occasional email. And then that feels good from my side, too!

Kaye Barley said...

Do I write fan letters or emails? Oh, gosh, yes! And have ended up having some of those people in my life as friends. I just don't think you should allow someone who has touched your life in some way go without hearing about it. A little "thank you," is never out of line.

I try not to look at my amazon reviews, but sometimes I cannot resist the peek. I've been very lucky with good reviews, but the bad ones can throw me into the blues pretty quick. I've saved every nice email I've received from readers and they are gifts I treasure immensely.

Kim, Map of Lost Memories sounds just wonderful, and I'm looking forward to reading it.

Mark Baker said...

I've gotten away from writing fan letters since I write so many reviews. Yet those have led to contact and even friendship with authors, which I absolutely do treasure. And some of the letters I got from authors when I was in jr. high and high school are very special to me.

mmgage said...

I did write a fan letter - a pair of them, actually - to an author. She wrote me back both times. The notes were hand-written and I saved them. I was so thrilled. I met her in person many years later, at Bouchercon, and mentioned that I'd been so happy when she wrote me back. Unfortunately she was very condescending about it all in person and I've never felt quite the same way about her books since. It was very disappointing.

Kim said...

Joan, You nailed it - receiving words of praise is "humbling and spirit-soaring." And you're also right - we don't do it often enough in all parts of our lives. Recently I sent a note to my bank praising the staff; they are truly wonderful people. The bank manager called me because it had been so long since anyone had done that!

Kim said...

Karen, "Knowing that we touched someone, in some way, is icing on the cake for a writer" Isn't that the truth! It's why we write. Not to be noticed, but to touch others in a meaningful way. And I love your Wayne Dyer story. I wonder if that could happen today, when popular authors probably wade through dozens if not hundreds of fan emails every day. I'm so glad to have lived through an era where personal contact like that was reasonably possible.

Kim said...

Oh Rhys, To receive praise from a write I so admire - I have the (good) chills! Thank you! And your words: "So many people who tell me that my books have helped them through chemo, through the loss of a child, a spouse or even a stint in the homeless shelter." What a testament to your work. To write is one thing, but for our writing to have meaning for another, that is the true reward.

Kim said...

Kathy, Welcome Back! I too miss written letters. I saved so many over the years, and sometimes I make a cup of tea and sit down with a bundle and enjoy that old experience of savoring another's words (and unique handwriting). I know that any author you choose to write will be moved beyond measure if you go beyond the email and send them a note. It is such a personal act, one of the few still left to us in this crazy techno world!

Deborah Crombie said...

Hi Kim! So great to see you here, and what a lovely piece.

As Kim knows, I was her fan before I met her in person. Kim was a guest here when The Map of Lost Memories came out. I immediately bought the book because it sounded fascinating. And it is, indeed, wonderful, and a very special book--one that adds another layer of experience to your world, stays with you long after you've finished it. Hopefully I told Kim this!!!

I think the only fan letter I've ever written (at least to an author I didn't know) was to Deborah Harkness when I finished A Discovery of Witches. (Actually, I sent her a direct message on Twitter.) She replied immediately, saying she was a huge fan of Duncan and Gemma. I was thrilled! We've since met in person and she's as lovely as she is talented.

I've received many kind and moving fan letters and emails over the years, but one of my favorites is a handwritten note from Barbara Bush. She is a great reader and champion of books and literacy, and she loves mysteries in particular. A former First Lady taking the time to write and thank an author??? Fabulous! And what a role model!

Reine, I love the Koontz's! Love that they sent Kendall a book! There's more great role models!

Kaye Barley said...


I don't know how I forgot to include this in my last post.

One fan letter I wrote was to Harper Lee some years back, and I now have framed the handwritten note she sent back to me on her monogrammed stationery. Such a treasure.

Kim said...

Hallie, I too avoid Amazon. Occasionally, when I need a real boost, I will go onto Goodreads and read my 5-star reviews :) But it gets so crazy on both those sites, and you're right, better left alone. As for your newest novel - which is FAB! - that is so cool about hearing from old friends. There is something particularly special about genuine praise from someone you once knew.

Kim said...

That is fantastic, Reine - I love the thought of your dog receiving a gift from such a successful writer!

Kim said...

Kristopher - I am printing out your words and hanging them above my desk: "We are all together on this journey we called life" It reminds me of a quote from an old self-help book that once saved me: "Be patient, everyone struggles." And you're right, we don't need the praise to validate us, but it's part of making the connection. And thank you for even considering reading MAP. That alone makes me happy!

Kim said...

Denise Ann - You and I are soul sisters: "I worked in the town library when I was a young teen, and I could tell you exactly where her books were shelved." Actually, I worked in the school library, but the experience was the same. And a note from May Sarton: WOW! I would treasure that forever. She is legendary.

Kim said...

Kristi, I'm like you. I may be published, but I'm still starstruck by so many of my favorite authors. I remember once, YEARS ago, sitting in the front row of a Cees Nooteboom reading, all of his books in hardcover piled on my lap. The poor guy - he was in his 60s and I was 22, and he must have thought I was a stalker!!
On another note, YES about Hank: "She is my role model of a class act author."

Kim said...

Lucy - Your experiences writing and receiving fan letters crack me up! That's another great aspect, they can bring levity when we are taking our writing too seriously. This is hysterical: "She loved my golfer character Cassie Burdette, but she was worried about how much she drank. And assured me that at her country club, women did not drink beer from bottles." Priceless!

Kim said...

Susan - Thank you for hosting me. And yes, I slept in a bit this morning here in LA (I'm usually up at 5). I am LOVING this conversation - what a wonderful way to start my day!

Kim said...

Mary, I think the thing that got me over the hump as a writer was the realization that EVERY writer feels this way: "Because I know that "I suck, I can't write, this will never work" feeling." KEEP GOING!! The Map of Lost Memories took me 14 years to write - and even though I'd been seriously writing novels since I was 21, I wasn't published until I was 45. That said, I didn't have the kind of support that can be found here. I have faith - as long as you believe in your work, you will be published!!

Kim said...

Julia, Thank you for saying this: "So readers, if you wonder if we listen to you, the answer is yes, we do." It's true. Some of the so-called negative comments about MAP have helped me understand some of my weaknesses as a writer and I know my next book is going to be so much stronger for it.

Kim said...

FChurch, This comment of yours has struck me: "But I never wrote a fan letter, because I felt that famous important authors would not care about the opinion of a nobody." There is no such thing as a nobody to an author, famous or otherwise, especially if that person reads our book. Every reader is precious, the ones who like our books and the ones who don't. They are precious because they make up that great wonderful body of people who read books.

Kim said...

Grandma Cootie, Bravo for keeping the negative to yourself! And it's wonderful, isn't it, the way sending out positive words can uplift the sender.

Kim said...

Kaye, This is lovely: "I just don't think you should allow someone who has touched your life in some way go without hearing about it." Hear, hear!! It's that paying it forward mentality that makes life so much nicer. And as I mentioned earlier, I try to ignore the bad stuff on Amazon. People can get so ugly with their criticism. It just makes me sad for that person - to be so grumpy that they can't even write a constructive critique. And AWESOME - I too would have that Harper Lee note framed!!

Kim said...

Mark, In a way, thoughtful reviews are like a fan letter. Not only did you take the time to read a book, you have taken care to write about it and share your thoughts with other readers.

Kim said...

mmgage - I'm so sorry to hear about your disappointing experience. There are always a few bad apples in every bunch, but it seems that overall, the readers and writers here have had positive experiences.

Kim said...

Deb, Yes you did take the time to share your feelings about MAP and I was blown away. There is nothing better than a mutual admiration society :) I LOVE Gemma and Duncan. The only reason I haven't read them all is that I've set aside 3 for those times when I MUST have a book I know I will love. I do that with most of my favorite authors. What if LA is put under house arrest for a year? I'll be fine since I know I'll have something to read.
And Barbara Bush - that's HUGE!!! That would have left me breathless. It's nice to know that she has such good taste :)

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Welcome back,Kathy! and hi everyone--running in a little late today! (Smooches Kim--we are pals on many levels!)

Kristi, that is so lovely of you. Thank you. (That was one of my memorable Bouchercon moments, too!)

And Flora, oh, yes, every author craves every kind word! (Sad, but rue.) So I'd agree--never hesitate. And email seems to have started to supplant regular mail-but I STILL love to go to the real mailbox!

Ramona said...

Betty Cavanna and Helen Hanff--wow, Kim! I devoured Betty Cavanna books. I am sorry now I never wrote to her.

My first fan letter was after I wrote a bio of Marie Antoinette for CRICKET magazine. The editors forwarded a letter from a young girl (4th grade). It was very sweet. When my son was young, he wrote to JK Rowling. I will never forget the look on his face when he saw the Air Express letter with a UK postmark. It was a form letter, but very chatty about her new baby and the new book (#5). She (or someone) wrote his name and signed hers. We keep it in our safety deposit box at the bank.

The weekend after 9/11, I went to an SCBWI conference in the Philadelphia area. The keynote was stuck in an airport someplace, so Jerry Spinelli (Maniac Magee) who is a local, graciously stepped up to give the talk. He read from his many fan letters from children. Funniest keynote ever.

Kim said...

Big smooches to you too, Hank!

Kim said...

Ramona, Young fans are the best! Two years ago the 12 year old daughter of friends dressed up as my main character for Halloween. I was SO flattered! And I love the story about your son's letter being in the safe deposit box. Form letter or not, that's a treasure!

Lisa Alber said...

Hello Kim! I haven't received a huge amount of fan letters, but for the ones I have received I was amazed at how much thought readers put into books they like -- different aspects resonate with different people. And I think to myself, Wow, I wrote this book that this reader liked enough to contact me.

It's like the book they read and the book I wrote are two different things -- does that make sense? -- so their kind words almost don't compute.

And, snail mail ... I could go on and on about how much I ADORE snail mail. I organized a valentine extravaganza this year -- so fun to come home to fun mail every day!

Kim said...

Hi Lisa! In a way it comforts me, the fact that the book I write and the book a reader reads are 2 totally separate animals. It makes it easier for me to write just for me and let the cards fall where they may. That said, the notes I receive usually connect with the parts of my book that I most wanted to share, which is what makes them so satisfying. When a reader "gets" why I tried to say, I'm over the moon!

Susan said...

I am increasingly discouraged in my own writing (or possibly just in a down period) but I have written several fan letters in the last decade or so. When an author moves me to the point I feel like their characters are my friends, or their language is achingly beautiful, or their humor actually does have me laughing out loud, I sometimes just can't contain myself. I feel that author has given me such a gift that I would feel like the worst possible ingrate if I didn't let them know.

Kim said...

Susan, First of all, I'm sorry to hear that you're in a down period. Please remember - you are not alone. We all go through it. I've dipped so far down I've sworn I'd never write again - and I believed it! You need to get out among other positive writers and refuel! As for the gift you feel a writer gives you, when you send that writer a note, you are giving him/her a far greater gift!

ChrisR said...

I've been lurking here for a long time -- loving the columns and the comments but have been far too shy to speak up. But now it feels as if I should because I am such a big fan of the Reds and I've never told any of you how much pleasure you've given me over the years. And all the new-to-me authors I've met here. My TBR pile is a large and growing mountain and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Lucy Burdette aka Roberta Isleib said...

Oh Susan, let me echo what Kim said--we absolutely all have down periods. And I could not survive without my writing friends who pick me up and drag me along when that happens. But it feels awful when you're in that space--imagine all of us with you!

Chris R--just thrilled to have you speak up! we love our readers and love to hear from you--thank you!

And Kim, you are the loveliest guest--thank you for being here so completely!! xo

Kim said...

As a habitual lurker on many a site, I welcome you ChrisR with open arms!

Kim said...

It's my pleasure, Lucy - this is the opportunity for me to set aside time to really savor the relationship we all share here on Jungle Reds. It's truly a special place and I'm honored to be a part of it in this way.

Linda Shenton Matchett said...

Thank you for posting this. I'm a not-yet-published writer, and found it encouraging to know that hearing from the "little people" is important to famous authors. I have not written fan letters because I assumed I would be one of thousands and it wouldn't really matter. Shame on me! You can bet that will change from here on out!

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

HI, LInda--how great to see you here! ("Little people?" You mean--readers? There's nothing little about that, right?)

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Chris R--thank you! SO wonderful of you--and so happy you've decided not to be shy. xoxo

Kim said...

I agree with Hank, Linda - there are no "little" people. Every reader is a BIG person. Without them, our books would drift in limbo. Can't wait for the day when you announce your publishing deal and receive your first fan letter!

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Susan--if it helps-EVERY write has down periods! When they happen, pat yourself on the back--because it means you're a real writer. As the Sisters in Crime motto says: "You write alone, but you;re not alone." And we all are the proof of that,right?

Kim said...

Amen, Hank!

Kim said...

Lovely Reds - Thank you for such a warm-spirited inspiring day! I am now off to celebrate my 3rd anniversary with my hubbie. I will check back in tomorrow morning to follow up on any late-in-the-day comments. A big XOXO to all of you!

Reine said...

Kim, this was lovely and fun. Thank you.

Debs... Barbara Bush? That's so much fun to know. With her long time interest in literacy, I'm not completely surprised... but still--a former first lady! I bet she's very proud of your being an author from Texas, as well.

Susan Elia MacNeal said...

Hello Kim and everyone! Sorry to be a boy absent -- at an event at Harvard. The comments are so wonderful! I adore all of you!

Kathy Reel said...

I know I've already said how good it is to be back here, but I so enjoyed reading through the comments today after reading Kim's fantastic post in the wee hours of this morning. Thanks for the welcome back. I loved seeing my birth family and friends, but the Jungle Reds and those who comment are another family, so it's another coming home here today.

Kim, you are so right that our reviews are like fan letters to authors, and in many cases, almost like a love letter to an author for an amazing book. I feel as if I am speaking directly to the author when I write my reviews, and I so want to get it right, to show them just how much the book affected me. Maybe, I need to gather up my reviews of some favorite authors, and with an introduction, send those to them.

Kim said...

Kathy, In regard to your comment: "Maybe, I need to gather up my reviews of some favorite authors, and with an introduction, send those to them." As an author, I would be SO touched if a reader took the time to do this. I think it would be a lovely gesture. And yes, you're right, our reviews can be like love letters.