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Sarah Fox

Yes - Philip Pullman via letter to publishers - no reply,
but I really didn't expect one!

And via an author's website to historical novelist Barabara Ewing - who replied almost instantly.

If I love a book, I always want to tell the author.

As a needy author I love to get my feedback, so am happy to respond gratefully to it. If you hear that someone loves your writing then you know that you are doing your job right!
I think Twitter is brilliant for this sort of thing - it allows folk to express their appreciation and authors to respond without either party having to go to too much trouble! I was most chuffed to hear from Andrew Rawnsley and Amanda Vickery when I told them how much I was enjoying their books.


Hi Sarah, my son wrote to Phillip Pullman viavhis publishers and got a lovely hand written note back. Hang in there, it took a long time!


Hi Sarah,

My son wrote to Philip Pullman via his publishers and got a lovely hand written note back. hang in there, it takes a while!

I wrote to Anya Seton when I was 15, and still have the letter 30 years later!!


Yes, Twitter is very good for that, and as you say, in a conveniently 'contained' way.


Lovely, on both counts!


Just wait 'til Philip Pullman writes a fan letter to you!

Michael Faulkner

Thank-you for picking up on my Mark Twain - DW Bowser post Cornflower.
I love hearing from people who have enjoyed my books, and (I hope) always reply. Normally the contact is by email because the books give my website, which has several 'Contact' links.
I get letters every few months, addressed to The Blue Cabin, Strangford Lough, and of course the postman doesn't know what to do with them as he can't be expected to row to the island. They normally reach me eventually via my uncle, who lives not far away on the mainland.
People can be quite adventurous about getting in touch: Lynn and I were sitting in front of the cabin one afternoon when a couple puttered by in a little dinghy. You can hear everything people say to each other when they're 'talking' above the noise of an outboard. The man at the tiller said, 'There he is, we'll go in to the jetty', and the woman said, 'No, just carry on'. He said something like, 'Don't be silly, I'll just take you in,' and she said pretty firmly, 'No. No. No!' so they puttered past and disappeared round the headland. After ten minutes they reappeared, coming from the opposite direction and presumably after having had a quiet chat - and made straight for the jetty. They were as pleasant as can be and it turned out they had driven from Belfast, towing the boat, and had put in at the old quay across the sound - just to find The Blue Cabin and have their copy of the book signed. I was chuffed enough already, and then they said that the only other book pilgrimage they had made was to the grave of Thomas Hardy..

Julie Fredericksen

Well, I DO hold it against Leif Enger, because he is a neighbor of mine. He is from Minnesota, and should know better. People in MN are known for their graciousness and courtesy - it's called Minnesota Nice, and it should have caused him to reply to you. (North Dakotans also have the same qualities, but we don't mind it if is called Minnesota Nice. That's how nice WE are.) When you read "Peace Like a River" you entered my territory, as the arc of the story covers Interstate 94 across the southern tier of North Dakota. The characters make a stop in Mandan, just across the river from us.

Crafty Green Poet

I have emailed authors, commented on their blogs, sent them comments by Twitter. I blog and get lots of comments there, I've also had comments via Twitter and facebook, email and old fashioned mail. I like getting feedback! The photographer Eve Arnold sent me a postcard once to thank me for writing a poem about her that I had sent to the gallery where I'd seen her exhibition who then passed it on to her.

Dark Puss

I don't think I have ever written to a (non-technical) book author, but I've emailed the composer Michael Nyman via his publicist and got no response. I've emailed a number of artists/models/photographers and almost always had a response.

I have never used Twitter.


Some years ago my new year's resolution was to write to authors if I have particularly enjoyed a book. I have had some lovely replies. Nicest was from Kurt Vonnegut. A good friend of his, also his bibliographer, assured me that he would almost certainly reply. I wrote quite a long letter but sent it to his publisher who returned it with a snippy note saying that Vonnegut did not answer correspondence. The next time this mutual friend visited Vonnegut he took my letter. He returned with a signed copy of a book for me with one of the writer's lovely little cartoon portraits of himself.

I made the resolution after reading that another author's mail consisted of 90% hate, deranged spouting and pointing out of errors and that the sparse complimentary letters made his day.

adele geras

I ALWAYS answer any fan mail with great delight but of course I don't get it in enormous volume! I answer emails and letters both. If it's a letter and I have a return address I often enclose a book if it's a child and they're a real fan. You can tell! As for those who write via publishers, do not worry if you have to wait ages. They sometimes take MONTHS to pass letters on....and I'm sure quite a few fan letters just get...well, let's be kind and say, mislaid! Philip P probably now gets too much to answer each one personally but some people have a form postcard they send out...Roald Dahl sent one to my daughter once. Whereas both Catherine Storr and Jean Ure wrote them LONG letters, single spaced and typed. Jean Ure and I have been friends since that time, as she finished her letter saying: Is Adele Geras any relation of yours? I like her books. Authors ADORE getting letters from anyone who has liked a book of theirs. Whether they answer or not. I recently wrote a fan letter myself to the wonderful Sarah Moss and discovered that I knew her mother in Manchester in the old days! Always worth picking up a pen or writing an email if you can.


I emailed, and received very nice emails back from Elizabeth Chadwick, Linda Gillard and thriller writer Graham Hurley on this side of the pond and from Julie Buxbaum, fantasy writer Kat Richardson and Jodi Picoult in the USA, all of whose books I had adored.
The one that really surprised me was Jodi Picoult as she responded by the next day which I thought was amazing when you consider just how many people must get in contact with her.
There have been one or two who failed to respond but I prefer not to dwell on that!


I have got to know a lot of authors on Twitter and have even met up with a couple in real life as a result which has been great fun. I once sent Katie Fforde a note through her website (several years ago) and didn't get any response which I was a bit miffed about, since I'd asked her a question that I was genuinely interested in. Last year I emailed Loretta Chase in great frustration at not being able to buy her latest book in ebook form due to publishers' geographical restrictions. She passed the message on to her agent who took my concerns very seriously indeed and we had several emails back and forth about the subject.

But, oddly enough, I would never think of any of these as 'fan' letters. I've never written to an author just to tell them I liked their book and I'm not sure it would ever occur to me to do so.


I have, literally, thousands of emails filed away in my emailer from readers all over the world, mainly France, the UK and America. I make a point of replying to every one. The other day I blogged extracts from several emails received from readers of my new book, "The Blackhouse", including one from a very articulate 15-year-old. I am about to do a similar blog in French. Coincidentally, I received a lengthy email last weekend from a group of French schoolkids who have been studying one of my books in class. They had a whole host of questions which I did my best to respond to, feeling that kids who showed such enthusiasm for reading and discussion of the text should be rewarded with the fullest possible answers. My determination always to respond to letters or emails stems, I think, from an early experience as a budding teenage writer, submitting my first manuscript to a publisher - Collins. I received a lovely reply from editor/author, Philip Ziegler. While he turned down my book, his praise and encouragement were probably solely responsible for motivating me to carry on writing - and ultimately becomes someone who has made a living at it for more than thirty years.


I wrote to Dora Saint (Miss Read) c/o her publishers and got a lovely hand written letter in reply. This was after the publication of "Farewell to Fairacre".


I wrote a postcard to Adam Foulds via his publisher, but didn't give him the chance to write back as I didn't include an address. I felt shy of doing so, and though I wanted to let him know how much I admire his writing, was worried I would come across as a crazy-lady-fan if I invited a reply.
It would be nice to be correspond with an author though, and whilst I love email it ought to be by letter for the considered pace I think.

Margaret Powling

I would like to address this comment to Michael Faulkner:
first I hope to be able to read your book, it will go onto my wishlist ... but in the meantime, this is to say that I was born at Strangford but my parents returned to England shortly afterwards (it was the end of WW2 and my father had been stationed at nearby Bishop's Court RAF station which I don't believe is there any more.) I made the trip to Strangford, to see where I was born, in 2004, but the cottages on the quay are now numbered and I only know that the one I was born in was called Jasmine Cottage, so I didn't know which it was. They appeared to be holiday lets so I couldn't even knock on the door and ask if anyone knew which was Jasmine Cottage. But I have to say I was captivated by the beauty of the Lough.

Dark Puss

Margaret, according to Wikipedia you are correct regarding Bishopscourt RAF station.

Dark Puss

Ros, it never occured to me either! Perhaps it should have done?

Michael Faulkner

Margaret, I happen to know someone who lives in a house behind those cottages, and I'll ask her if she has any leads on Jasmine Cottage - how frustrating to get there and come away none the wiser! My email is [email protected] if you want to drop me a line, but I'll get in touch if I find out anything. Mike


Vaguely irrelevant comment: I went to the Riverside last Sunday to her the great Edward Fox recite - wonderfully - from memory Eliot's Four Quartets (if you get a chance, go, experience of a lifetime)

But, a propos social media, the sobriety and grandeur was broken by muffled laughter at the line

Not here
Not here the darkness, in this twittering world.

I know that Dark Puss would not have broken silence, but the rest of us smiled! How time changes meanings.

Mr Cornflower

A friend's aunt was the first to translate PG Wodehouse into Swedish. Apparently, when she wrote to him to introduce herself he replied:

"So you like my writing, do yah?
Glory, glory alleluia!"


I have had a response from several authors. J.A. Jance, and Mary Kennedy are two of them. E-Mail and Twitter makes it so much easier to send off a response without getting out the ink pot.

Margaret Powling

To Michael Faulkner ... thank you so much! That would be wonderful if I could find out more and perhaps someone could then email me a photo of what was formerly Jasmine Cottage. I will email you separately, Michael. Again, very many thanks! I thought Strangford was lovely. We stayed for a couple of nights at the hotel at Portaferry.

Julie Fredericksen

A postscript to say that I received a very nice note (through this blog) from Linda Gillard after I mentioned being in the midst of reading her book. Also, I exchanged some really nice e-mails with Michael Faulkner and was surprised and delighted at how "available" he was to the common reader.


This is one of the reasons I love twitter - much easier to tell an author you love their work, and easier and quicker and more hassle-free for them to reply. I still get very excited when I hear from them, though and appreciate it when they take the time :)

Dark Puss

Even I might have permitted myself a smile, though as you say I do not yet see any need in my life for "Twitter" in its current sense.


I finished reading Amanda Craig's Hearts and Minds and turned the page to find an email address. I sent an email immediately, then felt rather foolish, like another comment above about being a crazy-lady-fan!
I received a charming reply so all was well!


I have had luck writing via email to both David Nicholls and to Deborah Moggach, both of whom have been great about replying to me personally in a good time frame. I can't tell you how thrilled I was to get these. Obviously, I need a more exciting life.


I'd be thrilled, too, Liz (and so would most people reading this, I bet).

M (notarevolution)

I remember in fourth grade, after we read Dear Mr. Henshaw in class, we each had an assignment to write a letter to the author of a book we had enjoyed. The teacher sent the letters for us, and one of us received a reply (though I can't remember which author it was). I also can't remember which author I wrote to, though I recall finding out a few months later that my author had actually passed away several years before.

I don't follow very many authors on Twitter, maybe that's something I should remedy. I received a reply from a favorite Indian actress once, Konkona Sen Sharma. Incidentally, it was about books! Her passion for reading is well-known in the Indian film industry. She tweeted, asking for recommendations. I responded with a few of my favorite books, and after reading one of them, she replied with her thanks. That was a nice moment. :)


That was very kind of her to take the trouble to come back to you after reading the book.

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