This week I received fan mail from Austria via my publisher. Real mail. A hand-made card in an envelop, the message inside written in ink, complete with quote from Emily Dickinson. The sender, Ms Theresia Raditschnigg, asked for my autograph and enclosed a stamped, self-addressed envelop.
I am so touched that a stranger has taken the time and effort to contact me on the strength of reading one of my books — in this case, my first novel Behind the Night Bazaar, which was translated into German as Nachtmarkt.
I’ve been privileged to have received on this blog a few messages from fans of my writing over the years, people I’ve never met. I love hearing from people who have lived or travelled in Thailand — like the one who said ‘your book made me feel at home’. I’ve struck up conversations, even developed friendships, as a result of comments left this blog. I love that technology makes all this possible.
But there will always be something special about receiving a card in the mail.
Several years ago, my mother was diagnosed with a nasty form of cancer. As we stared down the barrel of a severely shortened lifespan, I asked her if she had any regrets.
‘I want to live long enough to read the sequel to [Hilary Mantel’s] Wolf Hall,’ she said.
‘Write and tell her to get a move on,’ I suggested.
Mum did write, and the Man Booker winning author wrote back in person. It seems even winners of the English-speaking world’s top literary prizes appreciate fan mail.
(Two years later, the sequel my mother was so keen to live for won Mantel a second Booker Prize; Mum now awaits the final instalment in the Thomas Cromwell Trilogy).
For my own part, I was so inspired by Anna Funder’s 2011 novel All That I Am that I tracked the author down on Facebook to congratulate her.
What about you? Have you ever sent fan mail to an author?
For the other authors out there, have you received fan mail that is particularly special to you?