I’d like to introduce you to Sergeant Isaac Hutchison, my greatest fan. He’s a military police officer stationed in El Paso, Texas. He just found out he’s going back to Iraq in January. He already spent a year and half of his young life there, but he serves his country willingly and proudly. And I am proud—beyond words—of him.

My proudest moment as an author came many years ago after a midnight phone call. I stumbled to the phone, half asleep and half panicked, thinking, “What’s wrong?” Isaac’s voice came on the phone and said, “Oh my God. You blew me away.” I didn’t know what he was talking about. “I just finished your novel, and I had to call you and tell you how much I loved it. I loved your characters. I want to be Eric.” He recently told me he read that particular novel four times. And it’s possible my story character shaped who he turned out to be—a thoughtful, passionate man who cares about so much of the world beyond himself.

Isaac was also my first fan. He started reading my novels almost 20 years ago when they were still in manuscript form. Anytime I printed a copy of a novel or first three chapters that wasn’t good enough to send out, the stack of paper would go into a recycling box for the kids to use as math scratch paper or for drawings. Isaac would grab a stack of paper from the box, take it to his room, and read chunks of my stories. They were often just bits and pieces, 10 pages of this section and 40 pages of something else. He would often ask me to tell him how it all turned out.

Years later, he was as excited as I was to finally see my novels in print. Today, he brags about me and my writing to anyone who will listen. Now he’s waiting anxiously for the next installment. Whenever I’m having anxiety about not being good enough, I can count on him for moral support. I’m lucky to have such a fan. And such a fine son.

  1. Congratulations on having such a great fan and such a great son!

  2. Oh, damn, L.J., you’re making me cry. Thankfully, I haven’t put on mascara this morning.

    What a wonderful son!

    Seriously. I’ve got to go get a kleenex.

  3. Wow.
    And thank him for serving.
    I have a friend in the Nat’l Guard who is supposed to be going to Iraq this September, but the rumor is they may be diverted to Afghanistan. Where he was going in Iraq was relatively quiet.

  4. Awwwwww! That is the sweetest thing I’ve read in a long time… You are so lucky to have such a wonerful son and he’s lucky to have you as a mom!

  5. Please pass on my sincere thanks to this fine young man and his fellow soldiers!!!

  6. Good luck to him and best wishes for a safe and speedy return.

  7. Thank you all for your lovely comments. He has been on my mind so much lately that I had to write about him.

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