Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Lemony Snicket Writing YA Book, reprint, excerpt

Daniel Handler, a.k.a. Lemony Snicket, gives young adult fiction a try

Photo of Lemony Snicket by Meredith Heuer

WHO: Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket)

WHAT: Handler is an author, although one who’s not as well known as his creation, Lemony Snicket, author of the wildly successful children’s books “A Series of Unfortunate Events.’’ Handler’s newest book, “Why We Broke Up,’’ is about a high school girl named Min and her relationship with Ed, a basketball star. The souvenirs from their time together are illustrated by Maira Kalman.... The book is Handler’s first in the young adult category.

Q. How do you decide to write a young adult novel? Does the story lead you there, or do you say, “Geez, I’d like to write a YA book’’?

A. It would definitely be the story. I’m not really sure I understand what young adult literature is. A few years ago, I was on the committee for the National Book Award for children’s literature and most of what we read was marked as YA and it really had nothing in common, as far as I could tell, except that I was reading it all. Though I was interested in a story about people in high school and YA seems to be that distinction. I think that there’s actually quite a bit of speculation and confusion as to who reads books that are set in high school....

Q. Have you ever taken a girl’s point of view before?

A. I have. In fact, my first novel, “The Basic Eight’’ - talk about differing times - is also from the point of view of a girl in high school. That novel was published for adults in 1999, and was even looked at by some editors who were publishing young adult fiction and they said they couldn’t possibly publish that kind of book for young people. And now I think it’s about to be reissued for young people. That’s why I find it more of an elusive category than anything else....

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