In Which I Seek to Write a Fan Letter

Okay, okay, okay, OKAY.  You guys.  I’m bubbling over with excitement and caffeine right now.  Seriously – I don’t feel like I can contain myself.  Let me tell you why.

Context: I’m nearing the end of the bag of books that my friend loaned me for Fantasy Summer last year.  After finishing the first Dresden Files book, I picked up Eight Skilled Gentlemen.  I’d considered reading it a few times before but always opted for a different book from the bag.  But this time, for whatever reason, it stuck.

OKAY.  It’s amazing.  It is such a beautifully written, hilarious mystery that takes place in the 7th century in the “China that never was”.  But more on that later – a review is coming soon.

I’ve been super-fanning for the author, Barry Hughart, all week.  After looking up more info about him, I found out that he’s published 3 works, and that Eight Skilled Gentlemen was the third in his Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox.  For lots of different reasons (publishing issues and feeling like if he wrote more he’d just be repeating himself), he hasn’t published anything else.  I’m sad, but I understand.

Enter: a memory of my writer’s group talking about sending letter to your favorite authors.  My two favorite authors are no longer living: Michael Crichton and Ernest Hemingway.  But this guy, Barry Hughart – his voice is so unique, his world so captivating and enchanting, his story so mysterious and funny – I could write to him.  I WANT to write to him.

So I set out to find a way to get a letter to him.  His only existing author site hasn’t been updated since 2001.  There’s no author info on any publisher site that I could find.  So I emailed the publisher that released The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox (his 3 novels in one volume) back in 2008 – 18 years after the third book was first published – to ask if they could help me out.  AND THEY REPLIED SAYING THEY CAN.  They said they’ll pass on my letter to him.

So now, friends, I need to figure out what to say, how to say it, and what not to say.  I want to sound professional yet personal.  I looked up blog posts on how to write fan letters – some were helpful, some weren’t.  I want him to know how much I love Eight Skilled Gentlemen.  I want him to know how much I appreciate the work he did back in the mid- and late-80’s.  I want him to know that his writing stands out to me in ways that others haven’t.  Bahhhhhh.

So I’m working on my very first fan letter.

You guys.  What if he replies?  What if he doesn’t?


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I write. I read. I cook. I try to connect with people.

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