After publishing The Dark Age of Enya in 2004, a number of readers were kind enough to send me their enthusiastic comments. One fan, Mel Dyer, went so far as to send me an actual Hallmark card. Thanks, Mel! Fan mail is a crucial element to helping me do my job. It not only pushes me to continue writing, but also allows me a glimpse into readers’ heads, to see what they respond well to, so I can better shape my stories in ways people will enjoy. The things that resonate with readers often surprise me. When I get enough letters like these, I will make a dedicated Fan Mail page, because every fan deserves something back after giving me their time and attention. But it was really this guy, Collin, who so impressed me with his beautifully written letter, I felt compelled to post it here (with his permission of course) for all to see.
Dear Mister Alimonos,
I am an American college student with a slight penchant for the “Masters of the Universe” franchise as well as for H.P. Lovecraft. I discovered your fiction through a website which contained what seems to be an early version of the first three chapters of “Ages of Aenya.” They appeared to star a version of Xandr who was called He-Man rather than Batal, and the city in question was Sarnath. The whole plot seemed to be a fascinating re-telling of Lovecraft’s “The Doom That Came To Sarnath.”
I’ve been recently struck with the depressing reality that Mattel, owner company to He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, is in that game entirely for the money. Your work looks to be what Tolkien called “Work of the Heart”, and I respect your dedication to it, and to your morals and the way you stick to your guns on the naturist nature of your heroes. Very commendable! But I digress. Basically, I liked what I had read and decided I wanted to read more of it. To that end I looked you up and discovered that you had written and self-published a little-known novel called “The Dark Age of Enya,” which I resolved to buy. However, before I could do that I discovered that there was a version two called “Ages of Aenya” which was presumably much better revised. I know that as an aspiring writer myself I sure prefer for people to read my fiction AFTER I consider it fully revised, not before. In addition, the information you’ve posted on your “World of Aenya” blog just makes me more curious.
Right, here’s the question I’m sure you’ve heard a million times. Is “Ages of Aenya” going to be published any time soon? I would absolutely buy it in a heart-beat, or pre-order it. Hate to bother you, I’m sure you’re very busy with your own life, but I’d really like to be certain and some of your blog posts leave me less than sure.
– Collin Stoltz (mild-mannered college student)
PS: If it isn’t currently slated for publication, I’ll keep an eye on your blog! But would you rather me buy “The Dark Age of Enya” until such a time as “Ages of Aenya” is slated to be published, or just hold on to my hat and wait?
I must say it was surprising getting fan mail for a book that isn’t even in print yet! It can only bode well for the future of Aenya. And in case you were wondering the same things as he is, this was my response:
It’s always nice to receive letters like these. Regarding your inquiry into “The Dark Age of Enya”; I have to admit that it isn’t very good (compared to what I can do now). While highly imaginative when published in 2004, I had yet to master the craft of novelist, to reach the level of quality to stand on the shelf with other published fantasy titles. Right now, there are a lot of garbage e-books piling the Internet and I do not wish to associate my name with them, to sully my rep with something I wrote 10 years ago. As for when “Ages of Aenya” will become available, I honestly do not know. My wife and I are hunting for agents, but if, in two years time, we have yet to find someone, I may take the independent road again. In the meantime, letters like yours are invaluable to helping me garner support. With your permission, I would like to post it to my blog.