Ask Eric

Eric enjoys answering questions from his readers. Submit a question and it might even be posted here on his website.

I love hearing from my fans, especially when they ask questions and share thoughts about my books. Don’t be shy. Let me hear from you!

 

Holly from Illinois asks: We just heard your Anansi’s Party Time book with our librarian on Zoom. How long did it take you to write this book? How many times did you rewrite it?

Eric answers: I can’t remember. I don’t keep score with rewrites because the number of times you rewrite a story really doesn’t matter. What counts is getting it right; making sure all the parts come together in the right way. Sometimes you can do that in a couple of rewrites. Sometimes it takes longer. I think Anansi’s Party Time took quite a bit of work since my artist friend, Janet Stevens, worked closely with me. It’s always harder to please two people than just one. The story actually began with Janet. She told me she wanted to draw Anansi and his friends wearing costumes. I thought that was a great idea. Now the challenge was to come up with a story.

That was our last Anansi story. Janet was ready to move on and so was I. Leaving Anansi on the moon was a good way to end our series. Did he and Crab ever get down? I don’t know. Can you figure out a way for them to do it? Write back and tell me what you come up with.

 

Brooke from ?? asks: I love all your story’s there so good i made a book i want you to read it I got my inspiration from your book the The Golem’s Latkes I just want to let you know that you are a wonderful author. I want share it with you but I need your Email.

Eric answers: Hi, Brooke! I wrote back to you earlier but the email did not go through. My guess is you used your school email address. School servers automatically filter out messages from unknown, unregistered senders. That makes sense because children need to be protected. There’s lots of creepy stuff on the internet. However, I can’t write back to you unless I do it here.

I’m glad to hear you enjoyed The Golem’s Latkes. Do you know that Emperor Rudolph and Rabbi Judah were real people. Rabbi Judah was a great leader and teacher. Emperor Rudolph, on the other hand, wasn’t such a good emperor. He preferred to spend his time studying astrology and looking for magic alchemical elixirs instead of running his empire. When he died they found sacks of unopened, important messages that he never answered. 

I’ll do better than that. You can send your story to me at the Ask Eric address. I’ll be looking for it.

 

Tom from Maryland asks: What inspired you to be an author?

Eric answers: I chose to become an author because no other career seemed as exciting or interesting. I still feel that way.

Shahira from Maryland asks: How many books have you written?

Eric answers: It was close to 150 the last time I counted. How many books you write isn’t important. Some writers can crank out a book or more a month. As Truman Capote once said, “That’s not writing. That’s typing.” I put a lot of care and thought into everything I write. My readers deserve the best stories I can create. It’s not how many books you write; it’s how good the books are that matters. Better to write one great book than 100 mediocre ones.

Evie from Washington asks: Do you always write fairy tales?

Eric answers: I love fairy tales, but I don’t always write them. I’ve written in all genres. As I see it, my job is to create a good story. I’m not interested in sticking a label on it. My readers can do that. Librarians and teachers are especially good at it. Fairy tales are a good model for putting a story together. You start with an interesting character who has a problem. How does the character solve the problem. That’s your story. Thinking about what you’re going to write is the hard part. Once you’ve figured that out, the rest is easy.

Brandon from Washington asks: I have a book autographed to you by the author. Do you want it back?

Eric answers: No, Brandon. You can keep it. I have lots of autographed books in my collection. I’m running out of room so I donate some of the older books to the library for resale. The library gets money to buy new books and I know that my favorites will go to people who will love them as much as I did.

Chris from Washington asks: What is your favorite kind of book to make?

Eric answers: I’m partial to story picture books, folk tales, and adventure stories. For my own reading I usually prefer history over novels and other fiction.

Fernando from Cuba asks: Do you make books about science or social studies? Are any coming soon?

Eric answers: If you enjoy books about science or social studies, I’ll recommend my friend Liz Rusch to you. Her books about current issues are the best. For myself, I prefer folktales and history. Check out my latest book, Right Side Up! These are modern retellings of old stories from Eastern Europe. I love them just as much now as when I was your age.

Jerry from ??? asks: What kind of books do you make?

Eric answers: Look me up online or in the library and you’ll see.

Danny from Maryland asks: Why do you write?

Eric answers: That’s what writers do. A lot of people talk about being writers. A lot of people want to be writers. However, very few actually ever sit down to write anything. Those are the ones I respect, whether or not they’re successful at it.

Dacian from Maryland asks: Was it hard for you to become an author?

Eric answers: Yes and No. The best way to answer your question is to say, “It was challenging.” It’s like anything else that’s worth doing. You have to put in lots of hard work and face plenty of failure and disappointment. There’s no guarantee you’ll achieve your goal. It comes down to “How badly do you want it?” I was willing to do whatever it took to become an author. I learned a lot of important lessons along the way from other writers. I worked hard to develop my skills. But I’m still working at it, trying to become a better writer with each new project. If you have a goal, go for it! Just remember that no one is going to hand it to you. Success, if it’s worth anything, has to be earned.

 

 

 

Do you have a question you’d like to ask Eric? Send it in.


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