Every now and then I get a piece of fan mail that really tugs on my heart and fills me with gratitude. This morning I received one such email, and I've received permission to post it here.
Dear Ms. Tardif,Hello! My name is Cliff. I am 15 year old and live in Nanaimo, BC Canada. I just finished your novel "The River" and wanted to tell you that i really loved it. I think you are an awesome writer and can't wait to read more of your work. I'm honestly not much of a reader and it normally it takes me a long time to actually finish a novel, but I read "The River" in only five days. That is a record for me! Your writing really grabbed my attention and made me want to continue reading. I'm actually kind of shocked that I could get so much enjoyment out of reading. I want to thank you for that!Anyways I was wondering if it would be possible to get an autographed bookplate? Or would it be possible to send you my copy of "The River" and have you sign it? I'm not sure how it works, but I could send you a money order or a self addressed stamped envelope if you'd like. Just let me know. I'd truly consider it a great honor to have your autograph!Thank you!Sincerely,Cliff
Anyone who has ever received fan mail before will be able to identify with how this email made me feel. It's one thing to write a novel that adults have embraced, but it's particularly meaningful to me to have written one that inspires teenagers to read--probably because it makes me think of myself as a teen writer dreaming about getting published.
Cliff is one of many teens who have discovered my work in the past few years. A while ago, I blogged about ESC Trillium high school students who used The River and Whale Song as a novel study project this year and last. The first batch of readers wrote me awesome reviews for The River that I also posted here.
And in case anyone's wondering, I feel honored by such fan mail. That anyone would take the time to email me about my novels is hugely rewarding and touching.
Cliff, I am very happy to send you a signed bookplate. I've also added a couple of bookmarks. :-) I am so honored to have written a novel that opened your eyes to the pleasures of reading! And thank you from the bottom of my heart for your email.