What was your favorite book when you were a child?
Well, the earliest book I recall reading that really struck with me was Ball Four by Jim Bouton. That was in middle school, I believe. I also recall enjoying the books written by George Plimpton—Paper Lion, among others.
What’s your favorite line from a book?
“He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.” —Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?
Hunter S. Thompson, Nicholson Baker, and Tom Wolfe
Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?
I kind of stumbled into it. I was working as a journalist when a book editor approached me and asked me to tackle a book for him. I wrote the book and was soon flooded with work. That was in the late 1990s. By 2006 I was able to leave my newspaper job and devote myself full time to writing books, which was good because by then the newspaper business had gone kaput and I was about to be laid off.
Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?
Use the dictionary. You would be surprised at how many writers can’t spell. Also, Strunk & White (for grammar and usage) is a valuable tool. Avoid clichés and never use the word “thing.”