Ask Eric

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

Most recent questions seem to be coming from schools in Maryland. So I’ll just leave out the “from” and answer the question:

Mellesa writes: How do you feel about making kid’s books instead of books for adults?

Eric answers: It’s fine with me. I never wanted to write for adults. They’re boring.

Haleigh writes: Can you write more Anansi books?

Eric answers: I’m glad you like them, but I’m afraid I won’t be doing any more. Janet Stevens, my artist friend, wanted to work on new project. I’m getting interested in writing comic books and graphic novels. I’m sure someone else will come up with Anansi stories. Anansi goes on forever.

Eric writes: How do you like to express your stories?

Eric answers: I usually use a storyteller’s voice. I pretend that my audience is sitting in front of me and I’m telling them a story.

Jovany writes: How do you make the books? Are they fantasy?

Eric answers: I’d say they were more variations on folk tales. How do I make the? I sit down at my desk and write the stories in my head.

Jose writes: Will you ever stop making those amazing books?

Eric answers: Not as long as you continue to enjoy them!

Adam writes: How would you rate yourself? I’d rate you 100 out of a 100.

Eric answers: You’re too kind, Adam. Thank you for your confidence. I believe I’m pretty good. 30 out of 100 would be okay with me. 

Mirei writes: Do you think the fisherman’s wife will ever be satisfied?

Eric answers: NO!

Collin writes: What is your best book?

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. 

Allyson writes: What was your first book you made and how did you come up with the idea to change a book into something awesome?

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. I can’t say that it was awesome, but it was pretty good for a beginner.

Kristoffer writes: Why is the fisherman’s wife so upset when he asks for four fist?

Eric answers: Wouldn’t you be just as upset when you could have had anything?

Sebastian writes: Did you have other careers beside making books?

Eric answers: I was a college professor for many years.

Brooklyn writes: Is anything happening to you that relates to one of your stories?

Eric answers: Not right now. I’m working on learning how to write stories for comic books and graphic novels.

Aurah writes: How did Moby Dick bite the captain’s let?

Eric answers: He put it in his mouth and went CHOMP!

Kristoffer writes: Are your books based on traditional stories?

Eric answers: A lot are, but some are original. Some are reworkings of older tales.

Brookie writes: What age were you when you began writing books?

Eric answers: I began writing professionally when I was 22

Kristoffer writes: Why did the two tamales make unstable houses?

Eric answers: They didn’t think the problem through.

Madi writes: In The Fisherman and the Turtle, why did the wife say she wants to be a god and not a goddess. Isn’t she a girl?

Eric answers: Who’s more powerful? That’s your answer. 

Aaditya writes: What is the moral of The Fisherman and the Turtle?

Eric answers: I’m just the storyteller. What do you think the moral could be?

Adam writes: What is your least favorite book?

Eric answers: I don’t have one. They’re different, but I love them all.

Arianna writes: Is the fish in The Fisherman and the Turtle real?

Eric answers: What fish? Do you mean the turtle? Could be. It’s a big ocean.

Jose writes: Do you work with other people besides the ones who make the pictures?

Eric answers: I work closest with the editor who helps me get the book the way I want it. Lots of people are involved in making a book, but my main contact is with my editor.

Melody writes: What did they do at the fiesta?

Eric answers: They had a party and enjoyed a great time.

Brooklyn writes: In The Fisherman and the Turtle, why is the wife a king and not a queen?

Eric answers: Who’s Number #1? The king or the queen? There’s your answer.

Ben writes: When would you retire?

Eric answers: Why would I? I like what I’m doing.

Mirei writes: Why did the sea get stormier when the fisherman asked the turtle god for more things?

Eric answers: The storm reflects the fear and uncertainty that is going on inside the fisherman’s mind.

Alfredo writes: Is it possible for fans to make books with you?

Eric answers: Doubtful. I work alone when I’m writing. But feel free to adapt any of my books to make stories of your own..

Mirei writes: Is cactus soup real?

Eric answers: Try it out and let

Mirei writes: Is cactus soup real?

Eric answers: Try it out and let

Alfred writes: Why did the dad die in Jack’s Giant Barbecue?

Eric answers: He had a heart attack when he realized his life’s work had been stolen.

Sebastian from Maryland writes: What do you think is the best book you have made?

Eric answers: Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins is the most popular. I’m partial to The Fisherman and the Turtle because it’s such a great story to tell.

Ben from Mill Creek Town writes: What inspired you to make these amazing books?

Eric answers: I’m glad you like them. I always loved good stories. I thought  it might be fun to make writing good stories my career. I was right.

Adam from Maryland writes: Why was the mother so scared to eat barbecue in Jack’s Giant Barbecue?

Eric answers: If a giant smashed up your house, gave your husband a heart attack, and ruined your life, you might want to stay away from things that remind you of that.

Ben from Mill Creek writes: Is Cactus Soup a real thing?

Eric answers: You bet! Try it some time.

Adam from MCPSMD writes: Why was the wife in The Fisherman and the Turtle so greedy?

Eric answers: I think it was because she was desperately poor for so long. She wanted as much as she could get to make up for the years when she had nothing. She just didn’t know when to stop.

Ben from Maryland writes: Is Moby Dick a real whale?

Eric answers: Herman Melville based his novel on a real  whale named Mocha Dick and a real whaleship, the Essex, that was sunk by a whale off the coast of Peru.

Owen from Maryland writes: What is your favorite book?

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. 

Malia from Maryland writes: Is it nervewracking to make a mistake?

Eric answers: No. You correct it. It’s only nervewracking if you worry about it.

Erica from Maryland writes: In what way do you express your stories?

Eric answers: I write them. I’m not a musician, a dancer, or an artist.

Frankie from Maryland writes: Why did you want to become an author?

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

Timothy from Maryland writes: What is the point of The Fisherman and the Turtle?

Eric answers: What do you think it is?

Michael from Maryland writes: What is your least favorite book?

Eric answers: The Hunger Games. I don’t believe in changing the rules in the middle of the story.

Tim from Maryland writes: How many years have you been a writer?

Eric answers: I began writing professionally in 1968. Figure it out.

Quinn from Maryland writes: What is the point of Jack’s Giant Barbecue?

Eric answers: I get this sort of question a lot. I think parents and teachers are telling children that every story needs a point, a lesson, a moral to be worthwhile. I disagree. My goal is to tell a good story. I often like to take an old familiar tale like Jack and the Beanstalk and move it around to see what happens. I moved it to Texas, stuck in a barbecue and a juke box that plays old Country hits and ended up with Jack’s Giant Barbecue. It’s a good story. That’s all it has to be. So what’s the point? My point is I love to find ways to make old stories new. That’s all I care about.

Maliyah from Potomac writes: How many books have you written?

Eric answers: About 140. I have a couple more coming out this year.

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

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