Dear Charles de Lint…

Welcome to the May 29th stop in the Author Fan Letter Blog Crawl that Kassa organized to celebrate the authors who have been important to us! And make sure you visit Kris’n’Good Books tomorrow so you can read her author letter.

Dear Charles de Lint,

Back in the mid-90s, I discovered your short story collection Dreams Underfoot, which was my introduction not only to your writing and to the fantastical, fictional Canadian city of Newford that you created, but also to the world of urban fantasy. I was both enchanted and transported by the stories in that book, and I picked up everything you’d written that I could get my hands on.

You’ve written many more books since then, but the Newford books remain my favorites. I love that the city is as much a character as any other, making this some of the most truly urban fantasy I’ve read. I love how you skillfully weave European and Native American mythology together, so effectively that when I’ve finished reading one of your books, I’m more than half-convinced I can see hints of the magical out of the corner of my eye. I love how real your characters feel, and how effortlessly you have me caring and worrying about them. I love that the main characters from one book will show up as background characters in other books. I love that you see both the darkness and the light in people, yet your books leave me hopeful.

Often, when I read your books, I find myself jotting down sentences that particularly move me. Here are just a few that I’ve saved over the years:

Look inside yourself for the answers – you’re the only one who knows what’s best for you. Everybody else is only guessing. – Trader

Magic’s never what you expect it to be, but it’s often what you need. – Moonlight and Vines

Tattoos…are the stories in your heart, written on your skin. – The Mystery of Grace

“Well, I may not be so good at interacting with the world at large,” Suzi said, “but I’m sure about this much: It doesn’t matter where any of us come from, or even what we look like. The only thing that matters is who we are now.”

“That’s pretty good,” [Christiana] said finally, looking back at Suzi. “It puts the onus on yourself, instead of on where you came from. It suits what I like to think of as my independent temperament with the added bonus of making good sense. How can your genetic history or even your past ever begin to compete with who you are today?”

Suzi took that as a rhetorical question, so she didn’t worry about an answer. – Spirits in the Wires

Thank you for introducing me to urban fantasy – your books helped me discover that I wasn’t completely burned out on reading fantasy; I was just burned out on reading the traditional stuff. I hope that I can always hold on to the sense of wonder and hope you helped me rediscover.

P.S. And, um, I really wish I was one of the Crow Girls. 🙂

If you found my letter intriguing and are curious about Charles de Lint’s books, you have a chance to win a (somewhat battered) paperback copy of one my favorites, Someplace To Be Flying. (Yes, the Crow Girls are in it!) CONTEST IS CLOSED.

Lily is a photojournalist in search of the “animal people” who supposedly haunt the city’s darkest slums. Hank is a slumdweller who knows the bad streets all too well. One night, in a brutal incident, their two lives collide–uptown Lily and downtown Hank, each with a quest and a role to play in the secret drama of the city’s oldest inhabitants.

For the animal people walk among us. Native Americans call them the First People, but they have never left, and they claim the city for their own.

Not only have Hank and Lily stumbled onto a secret, they’ve stumbled into a war. And in this battle for the city’s soul, nothing is quite as it appears.

Contest Rules

  • To enter, leave a comment stating that you are entering the contest. CONTEST IS CLOSED.
  • If you haven’t commented before, your comment will not be visible until after I moderate it. Please do not leave a second comment because your first doesn’t show up! The blog gnomes will decide your comments are spam and then only ritual dust bunny sacrifice will salvage your entry…
  • If your comment is actually an advertisement or if your CommentLuv link turns it into an advertisement, your comment will be deleted. (Most of you do not need to worry – this refers to some pretty clever comment spam.)
  • Winners will be selected by random number.
  • You must leave a valid email address in the “Email” portion of the comment form.
  • Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from!
  • If a winner doesn’t respond to my congratulations email within 48 hours, I will select another winner.
  • This contest is open worldwide!

48 thoughts on “Dear Charles de Lint…”

  1. I have heard of him, but I don’t think that I have ever read any of his work. Now you have me interested in the cow girls too. Please enter me into the contest.

  2. Such a great idea! Although, sadly, I have to tell you I’ve never been a fan of deLint. There’s something about the whole “faery” genre that just gives me chills. The whole, separate universe with faeries wreaking havoc with normal human’s lives always bothers me for some reason. Some are better written and/or less creepy than others, but as a rule, they’re not books I enjoy. So, um, sorry.

    On the other hand, your post was a wonderful tribute to an author that clearly means a lot to you, and that can only ever be a good thing!

  3. Great letter! Those quotes are really stunning and it makes me want to read this author just from those (better than any excerpt I say *g*).

    Thanks for participating! Can you please tuck a link into who ever is next on the list? Just so people know where to go tomorrow (or did I miss it *looks again*)

  4. I’m so boring – I don’t think I’ve ever read any Urban Fantasy, so please enter me.

    And Vinnie says hi to Chaos and May – he’s trying to type it himself, using his nose!
    .-= janna´s last blog ..Finally! =-.

  5. *gasp* How could you have ever got sick of high fantasy??

    Great letter, Chris, and I love the quotes. That first one especially resonated with me. 🙂
    .-= Kris´s last blog ..just sharing =-.

  6. Aw Chris, I stumbled upon your letter and it’s very sweet of you to speak so highly of my husband, Charles. He is a darling man and even if I forward a link to this page he’ll still be incredibly modest and grateful. So thanks for telling others about his books. I hope the new readers love them. May I also recommend Dreams Underfoot as a great starting point, and Someplace to be Flying is among my favourites. I run a fan page on Facebook, where in the notes section people can see the order in which the Newford books were published. That might help those who are new to his work and want to know where to start. Again, thanks and cheers to you! xoxo – MaryAnn

  7. Sorry I’m late. Between planting geraniums, sweeping the garage, having company for dinner, and aggravating wireless issues…well, I’m finally at ease!

    Yours was a lovely letter (I particularly liked the magic quote). This is a new to me author, although there are a billion books on his website, you’d think I would have heard of him. And how cool is it that his wife saw this?

    Happy holiday weekend!

  8. Hey, I love this letter! I’m so glad you saved those lines, too. I really enjoyed reading them.

    My Fave from your post is this:

    “I love how you skillfully weave European and Native American mythology together, so effectively that when I’ve finished reading one of your books, I’m more than half-convinced I can see hints of the magical out of the corner of my eye.”
    .-= Carolyn Crane´s last blog ..The gloomy freaky town in Aguirre’s Hell Fire =-.

  9. I have The Little Country and I’ve been meaning to give it another go. My first attempt to read it didn’t get too far. Don’t know why, but something failed to pull me into the story. (It’s possible I wasn’t in the right frame of mind for it. My reading habits are heavily dependent on what I’m in the mood for.)
    .-= K. Z. Snow´s last blog ..Wowzers! =-.

  10. Chris that is a lovely letter! I have Charles de Lint on my list to read because of your earlier comments to me about him. I actually picked up a copy of Mulengro: A Romany Tale. Gypsies fascinate me.

    Love the quotes!!

    I hope your enjoying the long weekend. 🙂

  11. Hey Chris… I was tickled that you received a comment from your fave author’s wife so decided to come on over.

    It’s a great letter and yes, as others have said, I love that you jot down quotes that have touched you. I am raiding Sissy’s bookcases tomorrow and hope she has some of your author. If not I’ll be off to find something at our local bookstore.

    Best wishes…

  12. oh yes! please include me in the draw. it’s odd… i love reading Charles de Lint, and yet, i haven’t actually read many of his books….. must correct this! 😀

  13. Charles has written several different *types* of fantasy over the course of his career, but mostly, people seem to favour the books set in Newford. This isn’t a “series” (each book stands alone), but the setting is the same made-up city and some lead characters in one might have a cameo in another. Here’s a sampling of titles, in the order they were written:

    Dreams Underfoot (collection)
    Memory And Dream (novel)
    The Ivory And The Horn (collection)
    Trader (novel)
    Someplace To Be Flying (novel)
    Moonlight And Vines (collection)
    Forests Of The Heart
    The Onion Girl (novel)
    Spirits in the Wires (novel)
    The Blue Girl (young adult novel)
    Widdershins (novel)

    Hope this helps!



  14. Hey honey, I am late.. I know… but I wanted to pop in to see your letter and say that it is awesome! Never heard of this author.. so yes, I will be checking it out!!!!
    Hope all is well honey!!!
    And I hope you had a great weekend!!!!
    .-= cecile´s last blog ..Happy Memorial Day Weekend! =-.

  15. I don’t need to win it – your letter intrigued me so I went over and downloaded, umm, one or two?

  16. Love Charles de Lint’s books and what a great letter! I can’t pick out one title – I tend to look for the recurring characters – I secretly think I’m a Crow Girl myself – it’s practically my name….I love his blend of fantasy and reality and motifs.
    .-= Carrie K´s last blog ..Change is Evil. Well, mostly. =-.

  17. I’ve heard of this author several times over the last few years, but never picked up one of his books. I’m sorely tempted. I like to read something different and away from my usual genre of choice. I just wish I had waaaay more time to read them.

    Loved your letter 🙂

  18. Hi! I’d like to be entered in the contest. Never read anything by Charles de Lint, but one of my friends loves his work and I’ve wanted to check him out.
    .-= Jennifer´s last blog ..Moving =-.

  19. Oh my… I’ve been terribly lax at visiting! I humbly beg your forgiveness.

    But at least I was in time to find another new-to-me author – and who’s Canadian to boot! – who writes stories that sound wonderfully adventurous and utterly intriguing.

    And, like so many before me, I love the letter that you wrote – as well as the quotes.
    And I’m saying that I would also like to enter the contest… but I’ll be getting more books regardless.
    .-= Kathy K´s last blog ..Moira McCain – Wishes =-.

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