Backstory, for those who do not understand how important this is: When I was 7 years old, I read Into the Land of the Unicorns by Bruce Coville and was totally enamored of it. I thought it was dead spectacular. I thought it was so dead spectacular, in fact, that I drew illustrations for it, wrote a letter to Bruce Coville, and mailed them off to him. (Side note: I remember those illustrations and they were. . . by a seven-year-old. Really obviously by a seven-year-old. Though I did carefully draw all the scales on the dragon with my markers. Even then I was obsessed with detail. [Maybe that was impressive?] I was also convinced that the unicorns had blue manes and tales, which I can't explain.)
Here's the thing: He wrote me back. The one and only author I have ever written to wrote me a personalized letter back thanking me for my illustrations and telling me more about his book. The letter was also not patronizing -- i.e. I recall finding it later and re-reading it and still being impressed. This response did not shake my utter love of the book (obviously) and I devoured every other book of his I could find with equal abandon. The second book, Song of the Wanderer, didn't come out until I was in high school, and I was delighted to find that it was quite as excellent as the first (and longer, which is a bonus in a good book.)
Sadly, I'm not sure that letter survived the flood. But it is a nice memory, and I can always get another copy of the book.