Dear Mrs. Simonov,

First, I want to apologize for the indirect contact you had with my latest novel, The Bad Sister. It should have been nowhere near the World War II section of you local Barnes and Noble, and certainly not on a “What They’re Reading Now” table. The floor manager, Mr. Rebus, has assured me that shelving errors like this happen all the time, though rarely to the discomfort of browsers, as you claimed on your Channel 4 television appearance. As I have no lawyer on retainer, I would very much like to avoid the possibility of this blowing up into a regional, or even national, scandal of the sort that more well-padded novelists deal with all the time.

Second, while you have claimed that The Bad Sister is “smut”, technically, it’s erotica, which is a sub-genre of romance. Let me also point out that the communities this book documents—Siamese twins and hipsters—are typically marginalized in mainstream fiction. I don’t claim that The Bad Sister is the ideal platform for them, but let’s just say I’ve opened up the conversation. Can hipsters be erotic? How do Siamese twins actually approach the challenges of sexual congress? Are either of these topics remotely titillating? These are the kinds of questions I hoped to raise with my book.

Mr. Rebus has already removed The Bad Sister from the store and offered you additional compensation in the form of a bundle of World War II novelettes. I would like to add to this gesture by offering you a signed copy of my previous novel, Dillo, a book about a father and son on a cross-country crime spree. I hope you will accept this gift as a measure of my goodwill and as a humble apology for an accident that shouldn’t have happened.

Yours sincerely,

Max Sheridan