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Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly BlackDescribe your latest project.
Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World around You is a lavishly illustrated guide to identifying trolls, goblins, unicorns, and other faerie-folk. It is done in the tradition of the old naturalist guides reminiscent of John James Audubon with detailed color plates of the various creatures and observations of their habits and habitats. And it is a book we are very proud of.
What fictional character would you like to be your friend, and why?
Holly: I would love to be friends with Jacky Rowan from Charles de Lint's Jack the Giant Killer. She'd be the kind of friend that you could wake up in the middle of the night because you are having faerie problems and she'd make you a pot of coffee and fix them. Also, if you didn't have faerie problems, I think Jacky might get you into some.
Introduce one other author you think people should read, and suggest a good place to start.
Holly: I think that people should read Elizabeth Marie Pope's The Perilous Gard. It is a wonderful book. And while I have your attention, I think you should also read Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising. To pick a more recent title, if you think you are tired of vampires, Scott Westerfeld's science fiction vampire novel, Peeps, will blow your socks off. Okay, I'll stop now.
Describe your most memorable teacher.
What is your favorite breakfast cereal?
Offer a favorite sentence or passage from another writer.
Holly: From Ellen Kushner's Swordspoint, "Let the fairy tale begin on a winter's morning, then, with one drop of blood new-fallen on the ivory snow: a drop as bright as a clear-cut ruby, red as the single spot of claret on the lace cuff."
How did the last good book you read end up in your hands?
Holly: One of my favorite things about being a writer is getting to know other writers and conning them into letting me read their books with some kind of vague promise of giving them feedback. Using this method, I recently read Delia Sherman's first middle-grade, Changeling, which won't be in stores for a while, but which is a really fresh and clever take on Faerie. I also just managed to finagle an untitled manuscript out of Shannon Hale. Ha! Go, me!
If you could choose any story to live in, what story would that be?
What was your favorite story as a child?
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
1. Be Jim Henson
I loved the Muppets when I was younger and I had this book (Of Muppets and Men) that showed some behind-the-scenes stills. The Henson team seemed so creative and so playful. It looked like the perfect place for an artsy kid to be.
Holly: I actually really wanted to be a writer. I didn't think I would manage it, either. Shows what I know.
Why do you write books for kids?
Tell us about your pets.
Holly: My husband, Theo, and I have quite a menagerie. We have an ex-racing Greyhound called Chamberlain because he looks like one of the Skeksis from The Dark Crystal. Despite being extremely fast if he's running away from us, he mostly spends his time lying on our fainting couch, drooling on the cushions. We also have a parrot that is in love with Theo and will try and bite me if I get close to her cage, an ancient and scabrous cat named Delphi, and a furious Blue Persian called Fizzgig (also for the character from The Dark Crystal). We used to have a Chihuahua called Blutsauger, but my grandmother spirited her off to New Jersey, where she's fattening her up so that she's large enough to resemble a dachshund.
For what author would you like to illustrate?