Tuesday, July 24, 2012

McCaffrey Letter Update: The Reply

I'm not the type of fella that writes a lot of fan mail. In fact, in my life I've only written one piece of fan mail (well, now two but I'll get to that later). In August 2011, I wrote the author of one of my favorite fantasy/science fiction series of a time, The Dragon Riders of Pern series, Ms. Anne McCaffrey.

Please take a moment and check it out.

As you know, Ms. McCaffrey passed away a mere three months after I sent my letter. I very much hoped she got the letter but since she lived in Scotland and it had to be routed through Random House, I figured the odds weren't good. Regardless, I resigned myself to never knowing and moved on.

That is until I got back from a visit to my field site in early April and found a reply letter in a stack of mail my wife had left on the counter. I'm sad to say it wasn't from Ms. McCaffrey but happy to report it was from her son, Mr. Todd McCaffrey, who has picked up the torch and written a number of the Pern books with his mother and several on his own.

I won't go into the details of his letter since they were rather personal but suffice it to say that Todd was good enough to take the time out of his busy schedule to write a full page response. He even shared a couple antidotes about his mom and passed on a great tip about writing that I would like to share with you.

"If there's any time in your studies, you might want to add at least one acting class to your courses - Mum's sense of place and placing were very much developed from her love of the theater and, as she called it, "off-off-off-off-Broadway" productions."

Of course I replied to Todd's letter thanking him for his generosity and asking him, as a fan, to continue what his mother started and keep the Pern series alive. I hope he does.


  1. I wholeheartedly agree! I always try to incorporate applied psychology into fiction, team management skills, even software testing techniques (hehe) -- because fiction is one of the most absorbent arts and can use anything to gain depth.

    Thank you for sharing this personal experience, Adam. :)

  2. I couldn't find a better way to let you know, but I've just tagged you for the Lucky 7 Meme -- and I can't wait to read a bit of your novel!

  3. Can't say I've written fan mail before either, mostly because I never imagined they would be read. Your awesome experience disproves this notion. Awesome! :)

    1. Yeah, it's pretty amazing that an author would take the time to reply. I found it humbling.

  4. I've only written two letters, and both were to the same author. I was astounded by her first response, and years later wrote to thank her for it and tell her what it meant to me to get that letter.

    So I can imagine what this response must have meant to you.

    Anne McCaffrey is a god among writers, and her Pern books are truly amazing. I hope Todd carries on with them as well.


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