FAQs and RAQs

Here is a place to get your Frequently Asked Questions (and your Rarely Asked Questions) answered. Other stuff you want to know? Contact me here.

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: I read your blog and you keep talking about the Furnivals. Who the heck are they?
A: The Family Furnival was my original name for the book that became THE MISADVENTURES OF THE FAMILY FLETCHER. Part of the reason we changed the name? Some people thought that “Furnival” sounded like “funeral.” I know. I didn’t think so either.

Q: Is THE MISADVENTURES OF THE FAMILY FLETCHER the first book you ever wrote?
A: Nope. It’s actually the third or fourth full book I wrote, and probably the fifth or sixth that I started. And that’s only counting from when I got serious about writing.

Q: Wow! Did all the other books stink? What took you so long?
A: Maybe. At least some of them probably do stink. But others might still bubble up to the surface. And each one I wrote made me a better writer.

Q: Hey! Why are the Fletcher boys so old for their grades? Seems like they are each a year older than they should be!
A: There are two answers to this. One, um…because I’m the author and I say so! And two, because depending on their birthdays kids can be on the younger side or older side of their grade, and in the case of Sam, his birthday falls in the early summer and his parents decided, back when he turned five, that just-turned-five was too young for kindergarten, so they waited a year. Then, when Jax and Eli were school-aged, they wanted the boys to be in the same grade even though they’re six months apart. So they waited until Eli was school-age, which meant Jax was old for his grade.

Q: What’s the right age to read your books?
I guess it depends. They are for kids ages eight to twelve, according to my publisher, but I think kids as young as five or six can enjoy them as read-alouds, and I’ve been told that thirteen and fourteen-year-olds find them pretty funny. Also my mom likes them, and she’s definitely older than twelve.

Q: I want to write books. Where can I learn what to do?
A: Ah! I’m so glad you asked. Take a look here and you’ll see some resources for writers.

Q: How long does it take to write a book?
A: Well, how long does it take to paint a picture, or read a novel, or take a really good nap? The answer, of course, is that it depends. It depends on the writer, and it depends on the book. But I can usually write a rough draft in a few months, then take anywhere from another few months to a year to revise. Also, I type reallyreallyreally fast. So I’ve got that going for me.

Q: Are you ever going to write real books? You know, for grown-ups?
A: Hmmm…pages, chapters, words, even a snazzy cover…yep, I think this IS a real book! But in answer to the question, I currently write for middle grade kids (around eight to twelve) and young adults (teenagers). I don’t have any adult books planned.

Q: I want to ask you things or send you things or ask you to send me things! How do I do that?
A: Easy! Mosey over here and drop me a line.

Q: Did any of the things in your books happen in real life?
A: Yes.
A: Oh, you mean, what are they? Well, let’s use the cake metaphor. (I like cake). The ingredients used in cake are pretty basic: eggs, flour, sugar, butter, and so on.* But depending on how you mix them, and what other ingredients you add, you can get very different results. So in my books, a lot of the ingredients are real things that happened to me, or my sister, or my kids. But I mix them up with other made-up parts to tell my stories.

*I don’t really know much about baking cakes, but those sound right, don’t they? If you know a good cake recipe feel free to send it along!



RAQs (Rarely Asked Questions)

Q: Can you wiggle your ears?
A: Funnily enough, I CAN! It’s a very subtle movement, but I can do it.

Q: If all animals were safe, and it wasn’t cruel to take them from their habitat, what animal would you choose for a pet?
A: Ooooh, that’s a hard one. Maybe a snow leopard? Maybe a harbor seal? Hmmm…

Q: What superpower would you have, if you could choose?
A: That’s easy. I’d be able to swim underwater without needing to breathe.

Q: What’s the weirdest thing you ever ate?
A: I ate calves’ brains once. But it was in France, when I was very young, and no one — not even my parents — knew what we were eating! Truthfully, it was pretty good. It had a French cream sauce. And honestly, most things are pretty good in a French cream sauce. I’ve also eaten rattlesnake and chocolate covered ants.

Q: Which item of hockey equipment smells the grossest?
A: Surprisingly NOT the skates. It’s the gloves. Wow, do they stink!

Q: How many cats do you have? Why do you post so many photos of them? Did you ever have any other pets?
A: For the record, that’s three questions, but I’m feeling generous, so I’ll answer all of them.
1. I have three cats. Boo (named for a character in To Kill a Mockingbird, Boo Radley), Amos, and Boris, (named for the William Steig book of the same name)
2. Because they are cute and/or hilarious and/or I am procrastinating.
3. I had a giant standard poodle who didn’t know he was a poodle when I was growing up. His name was Otis. I also had a gerbil named Rascal and two cats named Max and Coco. As an adult I had three cats who have gone to the great catnip playground in the sky. They were Miccio, who died as a kitten and broke my heart, and two older rescue cats: Duke, who had six-fingered paws and was stronger than a dog, and Belle, who was so scared of everything that she mostly lived under the couch.


This is Boo, with a kraken balanced on his head. He is a very patient beast. (The cat, not the kraken. The kraken is noticeably impatient).