After two days of evaluating the Ranger's Apprentice series, I want to take a really brief look at their author.
John Flanagan: Master of comedic dialogue and vivid characters.
And one of the nicest authors in the author-o-sphere.
The reason why isn't very complicated. He wrote me back - has written me back on a number of occasions. The first time I emailed him, I gushed for about an entire paragraph, noting that I knew he was busy but would he please be kind enough to tell me what had been going on with Alyss (I spelled her name wrong, and he didn't even slight me for it) in The Battle for Skandia.
He wrote me back with just a sentence-long email. Yet he wrote me back within five days, which is pretty fast in my opinion. I was overjoyed that one of my author idols had actually communicated with me.
I thought that would be the end of it. But I wrote him again (in an email I can't find now - eek! I thought I saved all these!) and asked the pronunciation of Alyss. His answer was equally fast and curt. (It's like Alice.)
Just yesterday, I wrote and inquired about a plotline he had developed and how long he had anticipated it. I got the reply this morning, short, to the point, but there, in my Inbox.
I'm very grateful. There's an author who takes time for his fans, time to answer silly questions, time to explain even when I spell his characters' names wrong. I am honored. It makes me admire him more, want to read his books more, and generally rave about the amazingness that is John Flanagan...more.
Jean Thesman (The Ornament Tree) writes back, too. She wrote me back a nice, long email a couple of weeks after I wrote her. I admit I haven't written her back. I was going to read the sequel, and I did read that, but then I just put it on the back burner. I'm very sorry I did. I still plan to write her back.
But I just want to point out these authors. I want to be like them when I'm, you know, *coughfamouscough*. I want to be able to take the time to answer every email, to dedicate time to every fan, to let them know what an honor it is for me that they're reading my books. I hope I'll be able to. Even if I only reserve half an hour a day to answer emails, it stands to reason that everyone will be answered eventually.
This isn't a "counting my chickens before they're hatched" post. It's a monument to all authors and authoresses that return emails and accept fandom.
The moral of the story is: be nice, return emails, don't be too busy for people...and people will like you, admire you, and emulate you. They'll feel honored.
So honor someone today. Even if you're not famous (yet). Take time out for somebody and make them feel special. Because everyone is looked up to by somebody. :)