1. When did you start writing?
I starting writing creatively in my junior year in high school when a friend and I wrote A GEOMETRIC NIGHTMARE. It was a comedic character blaze about a strict math teacher we had, and all the kids loved it when it was published in the school newspaper. My first book wasn't written until I was 30.
2. Why do you like doing it?
I think the desire to tell stories was born out of my early troubled family life. I think I retreated into my imagination to make puppets and stages, to create a world that I could depend upon. Today, it lets me earn a living at something I must do -- solve problems through storytelling.
3. What was your favorite book you wrote?
My favorite novel I've written is THE PIGMAN. My second favorite is my memoir THE PIGMAN & ME. Sometimes I tell kids my favorite novel is my newest one. That is also true, but it depends on what mood I'm in.
4. What your favorite food?
My favorite food is pizza from MODERN PIZZA or PEPE'S in New Haven --and Haagen-Dazs ice cream.
5. Where were you born?
I was born on Staten Island, New York-- and grew up there, as I wrote about in THE PIGMAN & ME. I put a lot of photos of me growing up in that book, as well as, a copy of a report card of mine where I received "S - satisfactory" for keeping my hands and materials out of my mouth.
6. What do you like to do the most?
The favorite thing I love to do is fish for bass.
7. What do you hate the most?
The thing I hate to do most is work of any type.
8. What's your favorite interests & hobbies?
My favorite hobbies besides fishing are reading, swimming, watching horror movies, thrillers, theater, travel, eating in great restaurants, meeting new people, and researching exciting projects.
9. What sports do you like and what team do you like?
I'm a little crazy in this department. I love all sports and teams. My favorite sports to watch are tennis, baseball, and all the Olympic sports.
10. How old are you?
I was born on May 15 th , 1936
11. Who's your favorite author?
My favorite author is Shakespeare because he could do it all. In his writing is poetry to blow your mind, plot, life, death -- breathless illuminations about the human condition that speak to me now. I must admit, however, that when I was your age I though he was a big bore.
That is why it is so important to meet the right book at the right age--when you are ready for it, when you need what the author is saying!
12. What other authors' works do you enjoy reading?
Jane Yolen, Patricia MacLachlan, Judy Blume, Robert Cormier, Paula Danziger, S.E. Hinton, M.E. Kerr, Robert Lypsyte, Norma Fox Mazer, Joan Lowry Nixon, Richard Peck, Shakespeare, Freud, and Winston Churchill.
13. What nationality are you?
I am Irish and German, with a little Dutch thrown in.
14. What was your first book?
15. Why do you write mostly kids books?
I write kids books mostly because kids are great. I love what Mencken, a famous editor said about them: "Youth, though it may lack knowledge, is certainly not devoid of intelligence. It can see through sham with a sharp and terrible eye!"
16. Don't you want to write about adults?
I am a very lucky writer. I've won a Pulitzer Prize for an adult play called THE EFFECT OF GAMMA RAYS ON MAN-IN-THE-MOON MARIGOLDS which was turned into a movie starring Joanne Woodward, directed by her husband Paul Newman. I've also written adult screenplays for Barbra Streisand, Lucille Ball, Drew Barrymore, Jon Voight and many other stars. My creativity spans the whole enchilada. No age nor media has escaped my pen!
17. Why did I become an author instead of something else?
Actually, I became a chemistry teacher first, and a chemical technical writer for Allied Chemical. It took me a long time to figure out that I really was a storyteller.
They say the average college senior changes his major seven times now. I must have changed my thoughts about careers forty times. I was a bartender, a waiter, a chemist, a teacher... lots of things before I stumbled into what I would describe as my compulsion. I am compelled to write and tell stories. It doesn't even have to do with wanting to do it. I must do it. It is how my spirit and psyche survives.
18. How do you seem so in touch with teenagers today?
I visit schools and talk with the students. I also have children of my own. I have a son, David, 19, at Boston University. He's a freshman and very much like John Conlan in "The Pigman." And I have a daughter Lizabeth, who is 17, just graduating from high school in Manhattan. She is very much like Lorraine. I visit schools and sometimes they come with me.
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