• “The smartest historical sci-fi adventure-romance story ever written by a science Ph.D. with a background in scripting 'Scrooge McDuck' comics.”—Salon.com
  • A time-hopping, continent-spanning salmagundi of genres.”
    —ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
  • “These books have to be word-of-mouth books because they're too weird to describe to anybody.”
    —Jackie Cantor, Diana's first editor

Readers’ Letters

At a conservative estimate, I’ve received at least a hundred thousand letters from readers over the course of the last twenty years.  These are all fascinating, whether positive or negative (and I must say that 99.9% of them are positive.  And the few negative ones tend to be thought-provoking at the best, and Deeply Entertaining at the worst).   Some are really special, though–for one reason or another–and I thought I’d like to post a few of them here, on a regular basis, to share with you.

I get a lot of letters from service-men and women–I’m told this is because when a reading person is about to be deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, the first thing they do is go to the bookstore and look for a hefty book that will last them through the flight.  Not surprisingly {cough}, they often end up with one of mine.  They read it on the flight over, and upon arrival, then email their families with a request to send the rest of the series–which they then share with or read to the other members of their units (since war apparently really is “long periods of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror”).   They also often write to me.  Here’s a recent (and particularly nice) letter:

Thank you from an American Soldier (UNCLASSIFIED)

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

Ma'am, 

I don't know if you will personally read this.  I hope and pray you do.
No, I am not an obsessed fan.  But I am someone who enjoys your work.
It has touched me on a very personal level. Please allow me to explain.

I am a soldier in the United States Army and have been for about 18
years.  I had my first of three long deployments in 2003.  I have
deployed twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan.  And each time I took
your books with me.  When I first bought Outlander, I am ashamed to say
I only bought it because it was a very thick book. Getting ready to
deploy I know that I would have a very long journey ahead of me.  On the
plane from Louisiana (where I was stationed) To New York to Maine to
Italy then into Kuwait I couldn't put the damn thing down. :)  

While I was deployed it was my escape.  I sent a message home to my
mother to find other books in the series.  Lucky she found more.  I have
to say that your books helped me escape the reality that war can be.
When I suffered personal hardships (IED blasts, fire fights and death of
my friends) your books were a way for me to escape and even if for a
brief few moments a way for me to keep my sanity.  I am so very grateful
to  you for that. 

Since my first deployment each time I had to say goodbye to my son, your
books were in my rucksack.  They are dog-eared and a bit worse for the
wear...think Dragon Fly in the Amber even has a huge blood stain on it
from when I got hurt. But I repaired them lovingly with what we call
90mph tape.  Anyway they have traveled all over the world with me.

It is because of your writing that I have chosen to get my degree before
I retire (when ever that will be).  I have chosen history for my course
of study.  Once again...thank you.

I know you are busy but I wanted to let you know how much your work
means.  Thank you for taking the time to read my letter. God bless you
and yours.

Very Respectfully, 

SSG [name and unit omitted by request]

P.S. enclosed is a picture of me in Iraq on my most recent deployment
and one of me at Gettysburg, Pa on mid tour leave.

Staff Sergeant [name and address omitted]
   Attachment Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
   Attachment Caveats: FOUO

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE