Dear Author…

One great perk of being an author is hearing back from readers.  My first piece of fan mail came from a little girl who had read my second book, John Newton, The Angry Sailor. (This is a middle-grade level biography of the author of the hymn Amazing Grace.)  I opened the note, written on pink lined-paper decorated with blue bunnies, and read:

Dear Mrs. Strom,

Thank you for writing about John Newton.  I liked the book very much.  I like the storm most of all.  I hope you write more books for me to read.

Love, Nicole

P.S.  Are you dead or alive?  If you are dead, you don’t have to answer this letter.

I was alive.  What could I do? 

Well, twenty-plus years after that book came out, after thirty-something printings and translations into ten or so languages, I got another boost from it.  Seems that a little fellow named Josh, a fourth grader, prepared a Power Point book report for school on this same book.

Josh’s book report raises so many thoughts:

  • A Power Point book report?  In fourth grade?  Yikes!
  • A book can live on way past its shelf life. (Yep, the book is finally out of print, though it’s still available.  Check my website if you’re interested. )
  • Never underestimate the power of a children’s book.  (This book led to a subsequent adult book on the life of John Newton:  Once Blind: The Life of John Newton.  This came about by way of a fellow in Ireland who picked up the original book, liked the Ireland tie-in, and proposed the idea for the second book, along with a movie, to contacts in the U.S.  He also invited me to tour Ireland with the screening group for the Wilberforce movie, Amazing Grace. )
  • Buy up your out-of-print books.  (I just got two orders totaling 210 copies for John Newton: The Angry Sailor from a bookstore in Australia.  Seems the book is selling to schools down under.)
  • Answer your fan mail… as long as you are alive!


 John Newton:  The Angry Sailor

John Newton was a slave ship captain, the worst of the worst, who was confronted by God’s amazing grace in the midst of a storm no one could expect to survive.  He became a renowned preacher and a tireless abolitionist who helped to turn the heart of England against the African slave trade.  Amazing Grace is his testimony.

Once Blind:  The Life of John Newton



Amazing grace!  How sweet the sound,

That sav’d a wretch like me!

I once was lost, but now am found,

Was blind, but now I see.

John Newton


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2 responses to “Dear Author…

  1. Encouraging, Kay – thank you!

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