a packet of fan mail.
My friends, family and fans are great people, and they are generous with their praise and opinions, so this isn't the first time I've gotten fan mail before.
But this is the first time that I've received a whole packet of fan mail: 19 pieces of it at once!
Mrs. Blaine, a fifth grade teacher Sundance Elementary School in Los Lunas, reads to her students for fifteen minutes a day, every day, right after recess. Lucky me: she's just finished reading them my Civil War novel, and as a follow up she had her students write letters to me.
The letters were interesting: full of kind and encouraging words (things like "the detail in the book puts a little movie on in my mind" and "this is my new favorite book"), advice (one boy wrote "I think you might have to take all the violence down an notch just saying." In this time of violent video games and graphic news programs, it's nice to know that violence still bothers some kids), and lots of questions (Did Sarah and Martin get married? Did Micah survive?) The most frequent question was one I had never expected; what kids wondered more than anything else was who, Union or Confederate, was responsible for the death of Beatrice the cow.
I am writing responses to each child's letter. I hope that their teacher will be able to arrange a class visit for me; I would love to show these students pictures of the Gettysburg battlefield, the farms and orchards mentioned in the book, and of some of the minor characters. Then I can deliver the responses in person.