Recently I received this email from a young reader. It was, in fact, the fourth or fifth email Robert had sent me, each making the same point.
Dear,Marion Dane Bauer
I think I made it clear…we all want a sequel to Runt.If this can happen we will all smile.We will all laugh.We will all be happy and I think that you want us to be happy.However if you don’t then…I don’t know because that’s what I’ve always tried to do.I think that doing this would be the right choice.However I know how hard it is to write books.Ive tried I have but it takes a long time if this is a problem I kind of get it even though you have to put the time and effort to do that.I think anyone who has read Runt wants a sequel.Its obvious and I think that you should write a sequel many people think you should write a sequel.We don’t want to be left off with the sentence “Come, my dear ones!” He sang.”Come.the feast waits.”
I have often received letters from readers who want a sequel to Runt, but none of those writers has been as persistent as you are. I appreciate your enthusiasm. I really do. But here’s the bottom line. As you acknowledge, writing a book is hard. It takes a long time and lots of effort. And long ago I decided not to dedicate that time and effort to writing a sequel to Runt.
As I’ve explained, I considered writing a sequel. I knew it would be called Singer and that the story would follow Runt/Singer as he leaves his family and would end with his finding a mate and with the birth of their first pups.
I had sorted some of what would happen along the way. He was going to make friends with a coyote. (Usually, wolves and coyotes stay clear of one another, but when I went back to my research about wolves in preparation for writing, I found a report of a coyote/wolf friendship, and I was going to draw on that.)
But here’s the problem. I did return to that wolf research in preparation for writing the sequel you’re asking for, and as I read I found myself falling out of love with the idea of continuing Runt’s story. My respect for the natural way wolves live and communicate grew to be so strong that I no longer wanted to play with the idea of giving these intelligent, independent creatures human speech. Because however closely my story might adhere to the natural habits of wolves, giving them speech changes them in fundamental ways.
So you may go on pleading if it pleases you to do so, but my answer is firm. I love Runt, as you do. I’m glad I wrote it and glad that you love it, too. But I have changed since I wrote that story, and I can no longer gather the energy needed to return to it . . . no matter how often you ask.
I appreciate your enthusiasm. I appreciate your willingness to put that enthusiasm into words. But you’re not going to change my mind. What you might do instead of waiting for a sequel that isn’t going to happen would be to look up some of my other books. A Bear Named Trouble or Little Dog, Lost or Little Cat’s Luck for other animal stories. On My Honor for a totally different kind of story.
I wish you well, and I hope you find many books out there by many different authors that you love as much as you love Runt. I know you will.
I WILL BE AS PERSISTENT AS POSSIBLE EVEN IF A SEQUEL NEVER COMES.#SEQUELTORUNT.
And how I love hearing from all the Roberts who demand more!
Even when I have to turn them down.