Describe your new book.
Paranoid Park is a spine-tingling story about a skater kid who accidentally kills someone and then doesn't know if he should tell or not. It's set in Portland, Oregon, around the Burnside Skate Park. It has some great action sequences but it's also a lot about the alienation teens feel, especially male teens. It's about how hard life can be at that age.
What fictional character would you like to be your friend, and why?
I would like Huckleberry Finn to be my friend, 'cause he's so funny and daring. Also I like the guy in The Stranger, because he's so at peace even though he's screwed.
Describe your most memorable teacher.
I had many awesome teachers, two I remember in particular are Mrs. Norma Eid from West Sylvan Middle School who was always yelling at me but who was very clear in her mind and well organized and very positive. Also Mr. Ralph Bliquez at Jesuit High School was my English Teacher and he was so much fun and sharp as a tack, but with a sense of humor about himself. He was awesome. Also, my wife, Beth Rosenberg, is a high school English teacher and she's pretty great.
How did the last good book you read end up in your hands?
I'm reading The Penderwicks because it won the National Book Award and I saw it in the bookstore and it looked old fashioned and funny and cute and I'm in the mood for that after my own book, Paranoid Park, which is scary and dark and philosophical.
What is your favorite breakfast?
Quaker Oats Oatmeal Squares. With milk, of course.
What do you do for relaxation?
Listen to Mastadon or ride around on the subway looking at people.
What is your idea of bliss?
I really love going to high school football games. Every year I come home to Portland for a couple weeks to watch them.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A musician or a writer. Writer won.
Why do you write books for kids?
I writer mostly for older teens, people in that difficult age from 15 to 19. I think that's a tough time and I admire kids for struggling through it and so it's kind of my attempt to show them: I remember, it's hard, get through it and you'll be fine. Also, I think your personality goes through some really important phases at that point. You really are yourself in a special way then. You are never quite so idealistic or romantic or whatever, after that.