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5 Questions for Lemony Snicket
Fans of Lemony Snicket (aka Daniel Handler) know that the author of A Series of Unfortunate Events and the recent picture book The Dark, among many others, has a way of shining a light on some of the darker issues kids wrestle with.
In 2012, he launched the noir mystery series All the Wrong Questions, starring himself at age 12 when he was an apprentice learning the detective trade. The first book, Who Could That Be at This Hour?, is set in the strange and menacing town of Stain'd-by-the-Sea, where Snicket must find a missing statue. The second, When Did You See Her Last?, which was just released this week, picks up soon after the unfortunate events of the first -- and this time Snicket's looking for a missing girl. He took time to have an email chat with us and answer all the right questions.
How did you get the idea to create a series in the noir mystery style?
In noir, a central character, curious about things, is ordered by powerful people first to investigate and then to stop investigating a world of sinister secrets and conspiratorial complications in which our hero must make his own moral path despite temptations and threats that abound. This is also the journey of childhood.
Which mysteries did you read as a kid that you think still hold up well?
A recent rereading of Agatha Christie's Endless Night was a tense and forbidden treat, although my favorite mystery writer when I was young was Zilpha Keatley Snyder [The Egypt Game, The Witches of Worm], still a favorite.
Why is the series titled All the Wrong Questions?
Who wants to know? What else could it have been called? When did such a question occur to you? Where might a satisfactory answer come from? Why aren’t we stitting and talking together? How long can this go on?
Do you hope kids can solve the mystery in each case before you do, or do you always try to outsmart the reader?
I hope my readers are comrades and that whatever mysteries we uncover together we might unravel simultaneously.
Do you hope to inspire readers to become detectives?
All readers are detectives. Why else keep turning pages?
We hear that a movie adaptation of the young adult novel Why We Broke Up, by your representative, Daniel Handler, is coming out in 2014 and starring Hailee Steinfeld. Can you tell us anything about that –- or about any other exciting projects in the works?
I am sad to announce that more Snicket will come to the screen shortly. Blindfolds and/or earplugs should be encouraged by Common Sense Media.