QUESTIONS THAT ARE ASKED FREQUENTLY
What’s the "elevator pitch" for your book?
There are 2.5 million rivets on the Eiffel Tower. One of them is a secret elevator button.
Meanwhile, ninjas are--whoopsy! This is my floor. Bye.
How did you develop the idea for Samantha Spinner?
I often walk around cities and spot things that could be secret doors or tunnels. I remember being in a theater somewhere and thinking how part of the rafters might be a hidden tunnel that leads somewhere. And... what if there was a master plan that kept track of these things all over the world?
If dropped into a room of 50 kids, what would you want to talk to them about?
I'd check to make sure they were all okay. I'd be happy that nobody got crushed when I fell.
What books were important for you growing up?
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume
The Mixed Up Files of Basil E. Frankenweiler by E.L. Koningsburg
Perplexing Puzzles and Tantalizing Teasers by Martin Gardener
In fact, if you melted the three of these together, I think you’d get something close to my book.
Other books that are very important to me:
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
Holes by Lois Sachar
The Big Joke Game by Scott Corbett
What book is currently on your nightstand?
Atlas Obscura. I spend a lot of time researching odd and mysterious places around the world, and trying to figure out how they fit into my characters’ universe.
How long did it take you to write Samantha Spinner?
Eight years! I might have taken longer, but then I got scared because the US might stop making pennies. I had to hurry. I finished the second half of the book in three months.
What's your favorite animal?
Definitely not a chinchilla. They seem cute at first, but you can have too much of a good thing.
When you're not writing or reading, what are you doing?
I make puzzles and design board games. (I’ve hidden a lot of them in my book. Shhh. Don’t tell.)
What is your most memorable travel experience?
I was at a state fair when I was ten and I won a keychain in a carnival game. When I walked through the livestock house, a big rooster pecked and stole it from me! I’ve never told anyone about this until now.