When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
I don't remember a time when I didn't want to be a writer. I have a bunch of old stories from when I was 5 or 6 years old. There was one about talking eggs. The eggs liked to listen to the radio, and they liked to eat the radio when it played songs that they didn't like.
How does an egg eat a radio?
With surprisingly little difficulty, if memory serves.
What do you like about being a writer?
I like the fact that you can wear whatever you want, other people are reading what you write, and you can keep your own hours.
What don't you like about being a writer?
Saying to people, "I'm a writer"; taking all day to write a sentence; dropping pens; having other people tell me they are writers; computers and the way they break; people who think you have the time to give them a ride to the airport; people telling you things they think would be good in a book that are terrible.
What advice can you give young writers?
Eavesdrop and write down what people say. You think you'll remember everything you hear, but you won't. So write it down.
How long does it take you to write these books?
Several months of researching and two months of writing.
Your books are so successful now. Have you ever had any rejections?
Everyone's life has a certain amount of rejection. My first book was rejected by 37 publishers.
The main characters in the book are siblings who are very close to each other -- do you have any siblings?
I have a younger sister, and we are close friends.
Who is your favorite character in your books?
I actually tend to be fond of my minor characters. "The Slippery Slope" [the 10th book in the series] marks the return of an extremely minor character who I liked very much.
Will you tell us who that is?