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(Real questions asked by kids)

Did you ever get so jealous of an author that you wanted to hide behind a tree and jump on him when he came by?
No, because I’d probably lose the fight.

Which is your favourite book?
Most writers say “It’s the book I’m working on now.” The truth is, I do have some favourites, but I’m not telling which. Usually, they are the books in which I’ve been able to tell the story in the fewest (and best) words possible.

Are you rich?
Yes, I’m a billionaire. Just kidding. I’m glad just to be able to make a living doing something I actually want to do.

Do you know J.K. Rowling?
I’m sorry to say that I don’t. Do you think anyone ever asks her, “Do you know Cary Fagan?” I doubt it.

Where do your ideas come from?
My first two kids’ books were adaptations, and their ideas came from very old stories. But all the rest are my own. Some come from actual events in my childhood, although of course I still make a lot up. Others, while invented, still come from my childhood interests. For example, flying in the Kaspar Snit books. When I was a kid, I wanted to fly. I even tried. I would close my eyes, lie on my bed, and try to rise into the air. Somehow, it never worked. But I can make it happen in fiction.

Is Kaspar Snit a real person?
Why, do you want to meet him?

Will there be another Kaspar Snit book?
Yes, I’m going to write a third and final one.

Who is your favourite author?
I love a lot of different books. I can remember as a kid loving Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hears a Who — I worried over that book a lot. Also Are You My Mother? by Philip D. Eastman, Corduroy by Don Freeman, and Harold and the Purple Crayon (which has no words) by Crocket Johnson. As I got older I fell for E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web, which my teacher read to us, and the Narnia books.

I still read kids’ books and love them. Perhaps my favourite author is William Stieg, for his picture books and his novels. I think Ezra Jack Keats was a genius. I loved reading Roald Dahl’s The BFG to both my kids, and listening to the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary in the car. But I love lots of newer books too. There are so many great books to read.