Friday, 19 December 2014
Why I write
Back in 1992 I got a letter from an English lad living in France. Let’s call him Jay. He was a fan of the Blood Sword series but he couldn’t get hold of the last book. It was four years after publication and there was no print-on-demand in those days, so I figured there was no chance of getting a copy from Hodder. Luckily I had a spare, which I posted off to him.
Jay wrote back, a detailed letter of the sort I used to write to Donald Wollheim and Arthur C Clarke when I was his age. He discussed his plans to go to GenCon 92 and to find players for a Dragon Warriors campaign. He also recommended Lord of the Rings, which I still haven’t read, and The Hobbit, which I have.
Jay’s letter was accompanied by a very nice note from his father which I have kept and reproduce here, not to congratulate myself on an act of mild generosity, but because every time I come across it, it reminds me of my own relationship with my dad. And “the joy in his eyes”, more than anything, is why I’m proud of the books I’ve written.
I know how something you love as an eleven-year-old (in my case: Marvel comics, Doctor Who, Star Trek, Thunderbirds) ignites a flame of imagination and enthusiasm that can last a lifetime and carry you on beyond that original kindling spark. Jay will be thirty-three now. Maybe he has children of his own. Possibly he kept on role-playing, possibly not. I like to think he cherishes his memories of the gamebooks he loved back then, but even more I hope he cherishes the father whose love for him shines from these few simple words.