Children’s book expert Leonard S. Marcus interviews authors of comedic books including Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket), Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, Louis Sachar, Norman Juster, Sharon Creech, Carl Hiaasen and others.
I enjoyed the interviews about these author’s early lives, what inspired them to become writers, and how they came up with some of their famous characters and scenes. Marcus also includes pictures and portions of manuscripts or e-mail excerpts between author and editors. Fascinating stuff!
Did you know for example that:
The first time Judy Blume saw a book of hers in the store, it was her debut ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT’S ME, MARGARET and it was shelved with the bibles?
Carl Hiassen never felt he had to go to NYC to make it as a writer because “you can’t beat Florida for raw material. It’s a freak show.”
Louis Sachar had no plan for writing the perfectly constructed HOLES. He just made stuff up as he went along and made everything make sense during revisions.
The famous scene in Beverly Cleary’s RAMONA QUIMBY, AGE 8 where a stranger complements the family, telling them they look like a happy family, which makes them feel like a happy family even though they hadn’t before, is semi-autobiographical.
Daniel Handler is hilarious (obvs!) – I loved every word of his interview.
FUNNY BUSINESS: CONVERSATIONS WITH WRITERS OF COMEDY is out now in hardcover.