Ask Eric

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

Haylie and DeonDray from Ohio ask: Why do you like being and author and why do you like to write stories?

Eric answers: When I’m writing a story I go on the adventure with the characters. I can be exhausted at the end of the day even though I’ve never left my chair. It’s better than watching a movie because I’m creating the movie in my head.

E’lexus from Ohio asks: How did you become an author?

Eric answers: First, you have to love books and writing because you’ll spend most of your time reading and writing. Second, you have to want to become an author because it isn’t easy and no one is going to hand it to you. The competition is tough. Maybe 1% of all people who write actually get something into print. Out of those, maybe 1% actually make a living at it. I consider myself fortunate, but I also know that I worked darn hard to get where I am. 

Amira from Ohio asks:I love your books. How many books have you made. Do you live in a mansion? That’s what my friends told me.

Eric answers: Thanks for the compliment, Amira. Look down the page and see what I told Jacob. Your friends don’t know what they’re talking about. I certainly don’t live in a mansion. I live in a small two-story house on a dead-end street with great neighbors and lots of kids always running about. Why would I want to live in a mansion? There’s just me and my wife, our dog and cat, my snake and fish. Who wants to live in a monster house the size of a hotel? Not me!

Isaiah from Ohio asks: I love your books!

Eric answers: Thanks for the compliment, Isaiah. The library is full of wonderful books and they’re not just mine. Keep looking and you’ll find endless numbers of fine books to enjoy about just about anything you can imagine.

Kah’Ron from Ohio asks: Why do you write fairy tales?

Eric answers: They’re the kind of stories I love best. I’ll never forget the evening when my Uncle Abe gave me copies of Grimm’s Fairy Tales and Andersen’s Fairy Tales. I read those wonderful books over and over again until they fell apart.

Mirrah from Maryland asks: How do your books come about?

Eric answers: I write them. They don’t drop out of the sky.

Kaliyah from Maryland asks: What inspired you to make The Runaway Tortilla?

Eric answers: My version of The Gingerbread Man was very successful. It’s still in print after close to 20 years. My editor Margery Cuyler asked me to come up with a sequel. “How can I come up with a sequel?” I asked. “The Gingerbread Man is dead. The fox ate him.” Margery shrugged and said, “Well, how about something different? What about Mexican food? (Her boys love Mexican food) How about writing The Runaway Taco?” I told Margery that a taco wouldn’t get far. They’re brittle and they don’t roll. A tortilla might roll. It’s round. “Then write The Runaway Tortilla,” Margery said. And that’s how it began.

Reggi from Maryland asks: Are you tired and tired of going to publishers and they totally reject you or just deny your hard work?

Eric answers: Interesting question, Reggi. Publishers accept books that they believe fit their needs and feel they can sell. They’re not going to accept my manuscript just to make me feel good. I realize that. Books may be rejected for many reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of the story or the writing. I’ve had countless manuscripts rejected. I may be disappointed, but I don’t feel worthless. That’s part of being a writer. I will set the manuscript aside for awhile and look at it again. Did the editor give me any feedback? Maybe I can change something to make it more salable. Maybe I should start working on something else. You’re not  going to last too long in this business if you let rejections get to you because you’re going to see a whole lot of rejections. Guaranteed!

Datya from Maryland asks: What inspired you to write books?

Eric answers: No other career ever seemed as exciting or as interesting. I still feel that way.

Eve from Maryland asks: Why do you write?

Eric answers: It’s what I enjoy doing best.

Brad from Maryland asksWhat is your favorite story that you wrote?

Eric answers: It’s probably Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins. On the other hand, your books are like your kids. You love them all.

Isaac from Maryland asks: Do you ever get tired of writing stories?

Eric answers: I frequently have to take a break. It’s intense work.  All in all, there’s nothing I love to do more.

Ma’kiya from Ohio asks: What’s your newest book?

Eric answers: I have two new books that should be coming out any day. One is Hank and Gertie. It’s a pioneer Hansel and Gretel: Hansel and Gretel on the Oregon Trail. The second is I Want A Real Bike (In Oregon). It’s about different kinds of bikes and all the fabulous bike rides and trails we have out here.

Viola from Maryland asks: Do you know how many books you wrote? Do you have any siblings in your books?

Eric answers: Check what I told Jacob further down. I dedicated Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock to my brother because he’s like Anansi in a lot of ways, good and bad.

Favour from Maryland asks: What was your first book?

Eric answers:  My first book was The Tartar’s Sword. I based it on a period of Russian history that interested me. It was mostly guys on horseback chasing each other around with swords. The book came out in 1974. 

Kahliyah from Ohio asks: How old are you?

Eric answers: Old enough.

Billy from Maryland asks: Where do you live?

Eric answers: Portland, Oregon.

Jacob from Maryland and Ma’kiya from Ohio ask: How many books have you written?

Eric answers: Somewhere between 130 and 140.

Winta from Maryland asks: Where were you born?

Eric answers: Brooklyn, NY. I’m a city boy.

Haylie from Ohio asks: When’s your birthday?

Eric answers: I was born five minutes short of Halloween.

Jack from Maryland asks: I love your books. Hope you comment back.

Eric answers:Thanks for the compliment, Jack. Got any favorites?

Brad from Maryland asks: Four facts about Eric Kimmel?

Eric answers: There’s a page on my website that gives you four facts and more.

Ruth from Maryland asks: Do you love books?

Eric answers: You bet I do! I’ve loved books since before I knew how to read

Leah and Nathaniel from Maryland ask: Do you have kids?

Eric answers: Yes. Our daughter and her husband live about 20 minutes away. My grandson is in his freshman year in high school.

Cameron from Maryland asks: Which of your own books do you like the best?

Eric answers: That’s hard to answer. Your books are like your kids. You love them all, even though they’re different. I’d have to say that Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock, Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins, and The Fisherman and the Turtle would be among the top 10.

Ruth from Maryland asks: What is your favorite book in the whole wide world?

Eric answers: I have lots of favorites. Grimm’s Fairy Tales would be up at the top of any list.

Gianna and Ruth from Maryland asks: What do you like to write?

Eric answers: I’ve written in all genres. My favorites will always be picture books and folktales..

Sheldon and Brandon from Canada asks: How are you so good at making books?

Eric answers: The same way you get good at doing anything. I work at it.

Gianna from Maryland asks: What do you like to write?

Eric answers: I’ve written in all genres. My favorites will always be picture books and folktales..

Cameron from Maryland asks: Did you ever give up on your dreams?

Eric answers: No, but I’ve often had to rethink what I wanted to do. If something isn’t working out, go at it a different way or try something else. I tell beginning writers to make failure and disappointment their friends. They’ll be seeing a lot of them.

Juliana from Maryland asks: Is there any book you hoped to get published but didn’t?

Eric answers: Lots! I have three novels on Amazon that I published myself because nobody else wanted them. I think they’re pretty good. You can check them out if you’d like. Look for Magic, Unlimited;  American Leprechaun; and Snot Boy.

Ariana and Brian from Maryland ask: How many books have you made?

Eric answers:It’s probably somewhere between 130 and 135. Remember, I’ve been doing this for a long time and the books have pictures.

Analisth from Maryland asks: Who inspired you to be an author?

Eric answers: I had two wonderful teachers in the 1st grade and 3rd grade, Mrs. McGroarty and Mrs. Miles. They loved books. They spent a lot of time reading stories aloud to us. They made it clear that the reason we learn to read is to read BOOKS. They also introduced us to the wonderful authors, artists, and books waiting for us in the library. I love books and I loved stories. I became a good reader because I read alot. It was only natural that I’d try my hand at writing my own stories, although sending them out to editors came much later.

Lucy from Maryland asks: Why do you like to write books?

Eric answers: Look down the page and see what I told Camila.

Luciana from Maryland asks: What inspired you to make books?

Eric answers: Writers write, so if I wanted to have a career as a writer, I had to start writing. You might say that ambition inspired me.

Noe from Maryland asks: What gave you the idea of the topic. What age did you make your first story?  Why did you make your books?

Eric answers: I don’t worry about topics. I start with interesting characters facing a challenge that will make for a good adventure. I can’t remember when I wrote my first story. I began my professional career in 1968 when I began sending stories to editors, hoping they might be made into books. To answer your last question, look down the page and see what I told Camila.

Maame Yaa from Ghana asks: What will Jack do to the giant when you write your next book?

Eric answers: I hadn’t really thought of a sequel. It’s an interesting idea. What could a Texas boy and a Texas giant do together? Go to the rodeo?

??? from ??? asks: What are you going to make next?

Eric answers: Don’t know yet. I’ve just finished several projects. I’m waiting for a good idea to come along before I start anything new.

Giovanni from Maryland asks: How did you come up with all that magic in The Fisherman and the Turtle?

Eric answers: I’m glad you like that book. It’s one of my favorites. Coming up with the magic was easy. I based my story on one of my favorite tales in Grimm’s Fairy Tales, “The Fisherman and His Wife.” I moved the story to Mexico and changed the flounder into a sea turtle. Mexico and sea turtles make for a more colorful setting than the foggy coast of Northern Germany.

Maame Yaa from Maryland asks: Please help me write a book when you come to Maryland.

Eric answers: I have no plans to come to Maryland any time soon. The best advice I can give you is to write a true story about something important that happened to you. That’s always a good way to start because you don’t have to make anything up. Just tell your story as if you were sharing it with friends.

Nathaniel from Maryland asks: What is your favorite book that you made?

Eric answers: It’s impossible to pick a favorite book. My books are like my kids and I love them all, although they are different from each other. 

Terrence from Maryland asks: How do you come up with your stories?

Eric answers: Look down the page and see what I told Sheldon.

Camila from Maryland asks: Why do you like making books?

Eric answers: I enjoy the challenge of creating a good story that readers will enjoy. It’s my favorite activity.

Joseph from Canada asks: How are you so good at making stories?

Eric answers: I’m glad you think they’re good. I work hard at it. Second rate isn’t good enough. I strive to make each story as good as it can be.



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


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