Many thanks to all of you who have written me encouraging letters while I’ve been sick.  I really appreciate it!  I’m not yet able to answer each one of you because I’m only allowed up a few minutes each day, but I can answer a few questions.

   I’ve had two operations to try and save my eyesight.  Believe me, this is one activity you definitely want to avoid.  First of all, you have to stay awake the whole time.  You can actually see everything the surgeon does, including him cutting open the eye and sucking out everything inside.  Then you can see teeny weeny tweezers and hooks removing scar tissue.  They do give you medicine to calm your nerves, otherwise I would have been out of that operating room like a shot.  Last of all, the doctor fills up the eye with saline solution and a bubble of air.  You’re supposed to lie face down for weeks with the air bubble pressing up against the back of the eye.  This is supposed to make it heal, but the first time it didn’t work and I had to do it again.  The bubble gradually disappears, but while it’s there you can’t go up above 1,000 elevation or fly in an airplane.  I asked the doctor why and he said, quite cheerfully, “because the bubble will expand and destroy your eye.”

 Like I say, it’s an experience you can do without.

   During this time I have been thinking out the plot to the sequel of House of the Scorpion.  This is what I do before every book, before a single word is put onto paper.  Plot designing goes on constantly, but I never write anything down.  Somehow this works.  The whole novel exists in the subconscious like a piece of music.  When I am ready (and this will be soon) I will sit down and write out the whole thing.  The first draft is very close to the final copy.  The editor marks places where he thinks I’ve been unclear and the copy editor corrects my spelling (a huge job).  These days, with computers, it’s a lot easier and faster to print books.  With luck, the sequel will be out next year.

 I’ve been calling it God’s Ash Tray, which has upset some people.  God’s Ash Tray is what is called “a working title”.  The final title might be completely different.  The House of the Scorpion was originally called Mi Vida.  Ursula le Guin said that sounded dumb and so I changed it.

 Is there going to be a romance between Matt and María?  You betcha.  But I can’t talk much about the book until I write it.  I’ve got a number of nifty surprises up my sleeve.

   As for a sequel to The Islands of the Blessed, that depends on sales.  Unfortunately, publishers only buy sequels to books that do well, and Islands was pretty much ignored.  I don’t know why.  I think people wanted a battle between Good and Evil with lots of bodies piled up.  It seems books are getting a lot more violent and angry.  A lot of them seem like video games with super heroes that bear no resemblance to human beings.  Female characters generally despise the male characters, who are either sadists or wimps.  That’s not my view of the universe.

 For those of you who disapproved of stories about my childhood, let me say this.  I am not a role model.  I made tons of mistakes when I was young, and still make them.  I wake up in the middle of the night and remember awful, mean things I have done and can never undo.  The best I can do is pick myself up and try again.  Good deeds drive out bad ones.

 Again, heartfelt thanks to everyone who has written me.

Jaime Adame Jr.
1/27/2010 04:04:01 pm

Hello,I attend Cathedral High School, in Los Angeles California....and all I want to say is that my English class just finished reading your book, The House of the Scorpion. It is safe to say that the book kept everyone hungry for more of Matt. So we will be waiting for the sequel . But please try to finish it before 2012 because by then we will all be out of High School...lol.

Even my friend Jose read the book and he doesn't do anything in class....except sleep.

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Nick
5/15/2013 10:23:05 am

Hey Nancy its 2013 where you at wit the house of the scorpion sequel !!!!!

!

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Paul
1/31/2010 02:23:11 pm

Hello,

My name is Paul and I am currently a Freshman in high school. I have wanted to be a film director since I was seven years old, and now I am starting to get serious about it. In fifth grade I read your book, The House of the Scorpion. It is amazing and is still my favorite book. I was wondering if I could get your permission to write a script for it. I would not plan to have any monetary gain from it or anything...I'd like to talk to you more about it / get your permission.

Thank you very much,
-Paul

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Clare Callow
2/1/2010 02:46:16 am

Hope you are recovering well from the eye surgery. My aunt's Christmas round robin was filled with lurid details of a very similar sounding operation: she said she had to sleep face down with her head in a special clamp, and continue in that position throughout the day with only 10 minutes off every hour! Gives me the squirms every time I think about it. I've just finished reading The Islands of the Blessed and feel utterly bereft. I hope you will consider returning to Jack, Thorgil and the Northmen (Eric Pretty Face is brilliantly funny). I wouldn't mind betting I'm not the only reader reluctant to let go of that world... Thank you for these wonderful books. I often give them as presents to children and adults. I'm sad to read that Islands has been ignored. Your books don't seem to be very well publicised here in the UK (I'm neither a publicist nor in the book trade btw). Perhaps I should up my habit of sneakily rearranging shelves in bookshops to display the Trolls trilogy better and also widen the present-giving circle ...

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Justin Norris
2/3/2010 12:54:09 pm

Hello my name is Justin. I was a student of the class that u visited in Diablo view middle school. Your sea of troll’s trilogy is amazing. It’s like a wonderful dream. To tell you the truth I can’t describe in words how much I like them. I even got up in the middle of the night to read, and I’m a teenager I love sleep. But then I learned that you weren’t going to be making more and I was devastated. I was really hoping you’d make more, and that’s why I’m emailing you. If you need money I have about 200$ and can easily earn more from my grandparents. Yes I like your books so much that I’m offering money! So please would you consider making more of the Sea of Troll’s series! My email is gamerjustin@att.net so contact me with your decision thank you.


Sincerely,
Justin
(some one who loves your books!!!!!)

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Ashley
2/4/2010 10:46:46 am

Dear Mrs. Farmer,

My name is Ashley Anderson I am a middle school student. I just recently read your book, The Ear, The Eye, and The Arm. It was truly one of the best books I have read in a long time.I loved how the detectives were secretive and had special powers. Their father was a tough general and i really loved how it was so original and how it turned out in the end. Anyways, I was wondering what gave you the inspiration to write this wonderful story? I personally want to be an author when I grow up, so I like to know what inspires other authors. Also, why did you chose to write about Africa in the Future? So that's about all I thought I would say. PS get well soon!

Sincerely,
Ashley

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Marquian
2/9/2010 06:31:51 am

Dear Nancy Farmer,

Your only allowed up for a few minutes each day? How awful to be under house(and bed) arrest for no worse crime then getting an operation on your eyes! On the bright side though at least this means its probably very difficult for you to be sleep-deprived. Does the muse often pounce upon you in situations such as this?

I find it odd that people don't like the Isles of the Blessed. I for one really liked it but I never thought of it having a sequel because it seemed to have reached a nice point to stop at. Of course that was what I thought about the first couple as well but I was delighted to hear there was more coming.

Take care, don't get too bored or anything
~Marquian

Oh and thanks for the wonderful update

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Neal
2/11/2010 12:38:16 am

Dear Nancy Farmer, 2/3/10

Hi, my name is Neal Patel and I’m a big fan of your book, The House of the Scorpion. It is an awesome and interesting story about the way drug lords live and how they use cloning to get new organs for the original humans.

I have a couple of questions to ask you. I was wondering how long it took you to right such a long book (380 pages?) I was also wondering what inspired you to write this story? What is your favorite book of all time not written by you and who is your favorite author?

The House of the Scorpion is a phenomenal book and now I know why it has the National Book Award , Newberry Honor Award, and the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature.


Your fan,

Neal Patel


P.S. Could you send me an autographed version of The House of the Scorpion at 104 Rodwell Court Cary, NC 27518?

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Rebecca
2/11/2010 09:38:58 am

Dear Nancy,

We're snowed in here in Pittsburgh, Pa. My son (8 1/2 yrs old) found SEA of TROLLS in the bookshelf. "What's THAT?"

I had been saving it until he was older, but he read the description, and now I can't tear him away from the book. I'm so glad he's reading it. I can't wait to talk about it with him. What a great way to spend our snow days.

And, pretty soon, we'll read HOUSE OF THE SCORPION together. I can't wait.

Wishing you a speedy recovery and all the best to your beautiful eyes.

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Emma
2/17/2010 10:00:41 am

Ohhh, dear. You see, my dad and I have poor eyesight, but his is much worse than mine AND he doesn't wear glasses or contacts. I'd hate to let him or me get eye surgery. When I talk about throwup or excrement at the dinner table, I don't get the most minor queasiest feeling ever. But this ... Ohhh, ewwwww! Anyway, I'd L.O.V.E LOVE to see a Islands of the Blessed sequel series. Maybe the Blessed book needs more publicity. I'm pretty sure Trolls fans will love to get their hands on the last book of the trilogy! I know I did. And the books have so much more contemplating content (content that makes you think) than regular good guys win-bad guys lose stories. Plus, the whole point of being a Bard is bringing peace, happiness, and life (Dragon Tongue literally did bring life to the world, although the reason why a child of his could be so featherheaded eludes me), not war and strife. I simply do not know why some people like war stories better than more peaceful stories. Maybe some people are more featherheaded than Ethne. Well, it's a big world we live in!

Good luck on your recovery, Mrs. Farmer!

An avid Trolls fan.

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Diane Falconer
2/25/2010 01:58:25 am

You mention two places in your various comments. Where is the Oasis you refer to? And where is the real place "God's Ash Tray?" I tried to google it but didn't find anything useful.

We are looking forward to the Scorpion sequel.

Good luck with your recovery!

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Justin S.
4/28/2010 12:30:25 pm

Hi Mrs.Farmer I'm Justin and I'm doing a author study on you. I really liked your books, especially The Islands of the Blessed. I was wondering if you could send me an email with some info.

From,
Justin S.

P.S. Get Well soon.

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5/24/2010 06:46:27 am

Hi. I'm Jordan, and one of your gratest fans. I had no idea you were ill and I hope that you get better.I'd just like to compliment you on your The Sea of Trolls Triolgy. I absoloutly cannot put it down! I loved the characters and the Norse mythology. My greatest ambition is to become an author, and had been at the age of four. At the moment I am writing a story myself. So far I have done two and a half pages, and I am well pleased with it. I was wondering if you could give me any tips or pointers on how to get published. I had searched everywhere on the internet and had found nothing. It would be a great help.

Thank you for your time,
Miss Jordan Serrao (pronounced Ser-ray-o)

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Victor Hinz
9/2/2010 09:59:04 am

I don't know if you will ever read this Mrs. Farmer but I would like to say that you are a kind of role model for me you have shown that books don't have to have great battles between a great evil and heros of good (though I still like them). Stories can be about morals, beliefs and I suppose even young innocent love. I wish the best of luck to you, your writing and your characters. Best of wishes and God Bless.
P.S.- in the trolls series is christianity beyond the tree yggdrisil and are angels and demons more powerful than the norse gods in this series (I just ask because they were created by humans and not God and weren't really around for very long)

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2/2/2011 02:40:15 pm

Dear farmmer, i really loved house of the scropion so can you please tell me the approxamate realese and the name sequal. With lots of hope-Ian (P.S: i am really sorry they had to do surgurey on the eye. :( )

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2/2/2011 03:08:25 pm

it's me agian i forgot to tell you i will pay you 2$ for a copy of gods ashtray(signed for an extra 77 cents) A.K.A sequal to house of the scropion

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2/2/2011 03:10:16 pm

i forgot adress it is holt,michigan 2614 dellridge drv, 48842

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Spencer
3/18/2011 07:17:29 pm

I do doubt you read these, or even take them seriously, but I felt the need to voice my opinion. I am currently in the 4th grade in Minnesota, and I must say that your books are quite fascinating. Although due to the fact I am above the average reading level I can't get many people to pick them up or finish them if they do. I just wanted to say I know how much work goes into writing novels, and I thank you from my heart.

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5/2/2011 12:55:34 am

can u tell me all about you for an author study?

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Hema
5/16/2011 02:34:46 am

hi nancy i was wondering what was your inspiration to write? And i am so excited for the sequel of the house of the scorpion. thanks

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5/23/2011 03:47:35 am

I finished my paper about u!!!!! :)

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Jack
12/9/2011 11:36:10 am

I'm a big fan of the house of the scorpion and i was wondering when the sequel is coming

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Callum
3/13/2012 03:23:19 am

"Make a new book! make a new book! make a new book! make a new book! make a new book! make a new book! make a new book! PLEASE!!!"

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braden
3/13/2012 03:23:28 am

Nancy Farmer I just wanted to know if the new book is coming out soon i just finished the firt 1 and i really liked but why did you kill of Tam Lin i know you had to but why:( it made me sad

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Antonio Garcia
5/4/2012 09:40:24 am

Wassup Nancy!! Im Antonio N im about to be a senior in high school. That being said im probably the oldest person reading a book that you said was meant for 10 year olds... But i digress, i loced the Sea of Trolls trilogoy (hope it can get more) N the House of the Scorpion (hope it can be bigger than a trill also) im sorry that u cant write sequal on the Sea of trolls cuz of profit, i blame myself because i "borrowed" a copy from the library instead of buyin it at barns N nobles. I'll buy every new House of the Scorpion sequal though cuz i want more of these books! Being a Mexican-American i love that it focuses on the problem of drugs in the US N in Mexico, dozens of my cousins have been killed in drug wars N its seemed as if no one noticed due to the war in Afganistan(which i have no idea why we are in) but your books show the true story of how life could be if we all just sit back N dont fix the problem immediately... I wouldnt say im ur #1 fan becuz im not a stalker but i really look forward to ur new book which ill hopefully get to read as a senior.... Your #1 Scorpion Antonio

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cire
7/7/2012 04:15:38 am

THOS is soooooooooooooooooooooooooo awesome!
Please let the publisher hurry up and sell!
I cant wait to see what happens!
Nancy Farmer, I feel sorry about your fatigue after writing. I hope you get better!
Publisher guy hurry UP!

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Izzy and Robin
8/14/2012 08:02:06 am

Hi I am going into 7th grade and The house of the scorpion is one of my summer reading books. I have enjoyed it very much and i can't wait for a sequel.When approximately do you think the sequel will come out?
thank you for your time
Izzy

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Abraham
1/5/2013 12:51:58 pm

Hello Ms. Farmer :)

I first read your book House of The Scorpion when I was 11 years old and I am now 17. I have been looking forward to a sequel for 6 years and I am very glad that there's one around the corner. I'm very excited since I still remember everything in the story as if I had actually lived it thorough.

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nick h
8/14/2013 03:19:12 pm

I just finished the house of the scorpion I got it 3 days ago I was so hooked to the story I used all my spare time and 6 hours of my day to read this wonderful story tomorow I'm going to the library and I'm going to check out all your books Mrs. Farmers you are truly a fantastic author. I though the hobbit and the giver were good but this is truly a masterpiece and I'm going to buy gods ashtray the day it comes out and I can't wait to see how Matt rebuilds his empire and Maria hopefully not out of pity marries Matt and has children thank you for delight
Sincerely Nicholas

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