Thank you

Jay writes…

Dear Michelle,
I hope this message finds you well (and belated Happy New Year!). I've thought about this message for a very long time, and I've spent many days and weeks and months searching for the right words. Now I'm here, and I still don't think that I'll be able to tell you all these things that I've wanted to tell you, for such a long time.

First of all, I'd like to tell you just how much I love, love, love your works. The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness remain, to this day, the most amazing books I've ever read. I also loved reading Gods and Warriors and also your slightly darker, spookier works are amazing and I enjoyed every second of them. Your writing is so unique, so amazing and beautiful, so full of heart and life. I open a book and the words come alive.

Also, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for putting these amazing works out into the world, for people to read.
To be honest, I first read the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness when only Wolf Brother and Spirit Walker had been released yet (in my country, anyway). It was pure coincidence. At the time I lived in a rural region, my small town had a tiny library. That's where I found these two books. I still remember seeing them for the first time. They'd been presented on the rare book stands, I saw the covers and immediately, I was intrigued. In that moment, the magic was already at work. Of course I borrowed the two books from the library and as soon as I got home, I started reading and from the first word, I was already so in love with the story, the world, the characters and ideas that came to life as I kept reading. I bought my own copies from the local book store and then eagerly waited for each new release.

I discovered and read Wolf Brother and Spirit Walker at a time in my life that wasn't happy, not at all. I was hurt and lost, and I believed the entire world was against me. I still remember that biting loneliness from back then, that dull, aching emptiness inside of me. Books were the only things that brought light into the darkness that I was living in.

Yeah, those were dark times for me and I don't want to dwell on that. I'm telling you this because your wonderful books, as weirdly and corny as it sounds, helped me through these times when I was convinced that things would never, ever get better. It was a time when I hated myself and my life, but your books, telling this beautiful story set thousands of years ago…I don't know how, or why, really, but your books helped me see the light again. This may sound terribly corny, but I think that your books came into my life when I needed them the most. That is why to this day, I still feel this connection to them that I can hardly put into words. I usually say that they're my favourite books of all time, but „favourite books“ don't even come close to encompass everything that I feel for the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness. These books saved my life. You saved my life.
And now I'm here, writing this letter to you, and I'd like to thank you again for writing these books, for creating these stories and characters that made me want to not give up just yet. They made me want to not let go of my life just yet. Thank you for making me want to hold on.

I'm an adult now, navigating through a busy, hectic life. As it oftentimes happens, the darkness came back to me after years, like it was just waiting for me to jump into working life and attack me even fiercer than it did when I was twelve.
I was getting really bad again (now I know that it's depression) and it was then when I, just by chance, felt like I should check out your website. It's how I got to know about the continuation of the series that saved my life.
And here I am now, and I have to tell you, when I saw the announcement of you continuing the series, I cried tears of joy, because I couldn't believe that we, as fans, were allowed to visit this beautiful world once again to continue the journey together with Torak, Renn and Wolf.
And you saved me again, together with Torak, Renn and Wolf. It may sound corny, but I wanted to stay alive to read book 7, 8 and 9. Hence why I'm still here and the darkness has passed once more and I think, if it comes back, I'll be ok. I'm in a much better place now.
So thank you, thank you so so so much. I think I will never be able to tell you just how much your works mean to me. So really, just….thank you.
Thank you for everything.


Michelle Replies…

Dear Jay,

First, forgive me for taking a few days to reply to your wonderful email. Since before Christmas I’ve been dealing with a rather fraught family matter which has taken every moment of my time, and I didn’t want to dash off a hasty reply to your considered and thoughtful message.

Thank you for describing so beautifully the effect which my books have had on you, particularly the CHRONICLES OF ANCIENT DARKNESS when you were a child.  I was also very moved by your account of the dark times you’ve experienced: the “biting loneliness” and the emptiness of what you now realise is depression.  You seem, though, to have developed from a young age that most potent of weapons against bleakness: the ability to lose yourself in, and draw comfort and companionship from, a book.  I can only say that I am delighted that my stories have helped you so much.

There are people in my family who experience depression too, and I have some idea of what a horrible illness it is.  I’m so sorry that for you, it recently came back.  But how lucky that you came across Books 7, 8 and 9 of my books!  And I am glad and relieved that they helped bring you back to the light once more.  (You mentioned a few times that some of your words might sound “corny”, but I can assure they’re not.  Nothing can be corny that comes so clearly from the heart.)

Finally, I might add that your message has helped me too, because over the past five weeks, the family stuff I mentioned has stopped me doing any work on the book I was writing,  and I’ve found that rather discouraging.  Your message came just at the right time, and reminded me that writing good stories really matters!

Thank you again for getting in touch.  May you have a happy and healthy 2023 – and beyond.

With very best wishes, Michelle