50 Questions

Dear Jack from Three Valleys Public School:

Whoa! I thought my books had a lot of questions, but you have even more! Here goes:

Where did you get all the facts?
Some are from books, many are from science journals and studies, and a few are from actual scientists.

Do you enjoy writing books?
Yes! I think it’s much better than going to work in an office and having to follow my boss’s instructions. I never really liked having a boss.

Do you like your career?
I do, because each book brings new things to learn and think about.

Where did you learn to draw those pictures?
I can barely (barely!) draw a stick person. Those pictures were drawn by Ross Kinnaird, who is much funnier and cooler than I am. I think this is because he lives in New Zealand. I mean, have you ever met anyone from New Zealand who wasn’t cool?

Do you write with pen and paper or do you use a computer to write your stories?
Both. I scribble lots of research notes on paper, but I write the actual manuscript on my computer.

How many books have you written?
Apparently, 16. That’s what my mom says — she counted the other day while she was visiting me.

How long have you been writing books?
My first book was published in 2001. But there is a manuscript in my crawl space that was written in grade 10. Something about a druid and a sorceress. I don’t think that one’s going to be published any time soon.

Why did you write non-fiction instead of fiction?
I write both, but I think non-fiction has a greater chance of changing the world. For example, people hopefully think differently about rattlesnakes and newts once they’ve read 50 Poisonous Questions.

How long did you take to write 50 Poisonous Questions?
About six months. Then it took another month or two to edit, and then a few months for Ross to create the illustrations.

What got you to write the book?
The publisher suggested the idea for this one, and I thought it was a great topic!

Did anyone help you write the book?
Lots of people help along the way. An editor reads the manuscript really carefully, to make sure everything makes sense. Sometimes, she tells me that my jokes aren’t as funny as I think they are. Then a copyeditor reads the book line by line to make sure every sentence is perfect. And a proofreader checks all the tiny little details. Those three people help make me seem a lot smarter than I am in real life. Thank goodness they exist.

Thanks for your questions, Jack. And thanks for reading my book!

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