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A few weeks ago I received an email from a young fan. I’ll keep her identity a secret, but she wrote to tell me how much she loved my Spy Goddess novels. Her email went onto say that these books had encouraged her to start writing and spygoddess2.jpgillustrating her own series of short stories. Needless to say, I was thrilled. Every writer loves to receive this kind of feedback from fans and the ones who say they don’t write for their fans are liars. We want people to listen to and enjoy our stories otherwise what is the point?

I’m lucky enough to have the privilege of speaking to hundreds of kids every year at schools and lit festivals. I’m always encouraging them to hone their writing skills for the simple reason that writing is, at it’s simplest, a form of communication. And the better a young person learns to communicate their ideas the farther they’ll go in whatever occupation they choose. So I was glad to hear that this young girl had been inspired to write by reading one of my books.

But it was the next part of this fan’s email that socked me right in the heart. She went on to say that she seldom rereads books but she rereads the Spy Goddess books all the time, “especially at night, when my parents are fighting because they help calm me down.” She asked me to write her back “if I had the time” because she would love to hear from me.

I can tell you I didn’t know how to respond. I thought long and hard about what to say because I was on one level so touched by her words, and at the same time so angry at her parents for not realizing how their own thoughtlessness was impacting their child. Finally, I sent her a note of encouragement. I told her to keep writing and most of all to keep reading. I told her I was honored by her taking the time to write to me and said I hoped she would write again sometime to tell me about other books she liked. I wished her luck. As I pushed ‘send’ I wished I could do more.

A few weeks ago, I received an email from “my biggest fan” she said, who wanted to thank me for giving her a gift. Turns out it was the other way around.

Peace. Out.

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