I don’t write fan letters. But then one day, I did.
First we read The Thief Lord, a luminous book about two children, Prosper and Bo, who are on a magnificent, often dangerous, adventure in Venice. The author, Cornelia Funke, I had never heard of before, most likely because she’s German, and well, we Americans have limited attention spans.
Then when Inkheart hit the American market, our family was primed and waiting. The boys were ready — Duncan would have been eight, and Conor five. We had just moved to Pennsylvania from Kansas, and they were still sharing a room. Their bed was one of those lopsided metal bunkbeds, with the lower mattress larger than the one above. Conor would snuggle under my arm on the lower bunk, and Duncan would lounge above, sometimes hanging his head over the edge. The moment was perfect: I read aloud a book about the magic of reading aloud, to two boys who believed utterly in magic. I couldn’t hope for anything better to happen, ever.
One character, more than any other, caught our imaginations: Dustfinger. We loved his complicated, often untrustworthy nature. Here was a man literally playing with fire, teasing it to his will. We had definite ideas about him. So when we read that the movie rights were sold, and casting was happening, I wrote to the author. Insane, I know. I suggested to her who we thought should play Dustfinger. Suffice to say, they didn’t go with our suggestion, and the movie did not do very well. I think we know why.
But we received a charming response, that I’ve saved in an email file marked “need to save.” Here it is, with no corrections:
my name is Insa. I am Cornelia’s “little” sister. Three years ago I took on the job of answering all the fan mail, because Cornelia is snowed under with work. Nevertheless she still reads all the letters (Word of Honor!). They mean a lot to her!
Sorry, sorry, sorry for this late reply, but the letters come by the truckload! In addition, the last months were very chaotic, because of Cornelia’s move to California and the complex revision of Cornelia’s website. Thank you so much for your patience – and thanks a lot for your beautiful letter!
Cornelia is deep into Inkdeath already (the third part of her Inkheart trilogy) – and she promises the book doesn’t have this title, because so many people die, but because you will learn, how Death looks in Fenoglio’s world and whether one can make a deal with him. She is not sure about Meggie and Farid yet – they will tell her, she guesses, in time, but she promises she’ll write the story down just the way it has to be told.
As for the Inkheart movie project, unfortunately nothing has been officially announced regarding the cast so far. I think Adrien Brody would be a wonderful Dustfinger. You are absolutely right. By the way, the shooting of the Inkheart movie will probably start this fall. We will keep you posted on Cornelia’s website: http://www.corneliafunke.de/en/
Warmest wishes from Germany and greetings to Duncan and Conor!