Gordon Answers The TOP 10 QUESTIONS Kids Ask
10) Were you in the gifted program when you wrote your first book in seventh grade?
Absolutely not. I was just as ungifted as Donovan Curtis. I wrote UNGIFTED to play around with the idea that there’s a little bit of genius inside every kid, gifted program or no.
Actually, THIS CAN’T BE HAPPENING AT MACDONALD HALL was kind of an accident. My English teacher was the track and field coach, and he just told us to write whatever we wanted for the rest of the year.
9) Have you ever been hypnotized?
No, but I have a close friend who’s a licensed hypnotherapist. He helped me a lot.
For THE HYPNOTISTS, I wanted to up the ante and create a true paranormal ability. But I’ve never done much with supernatural/fantasy, so I didn’t have those tools. Where I do have experience is with research-based adventure series like EVEREST and TITANIC. So I created my own concrete Rules of Hypnotism and substituted them for my research.
8) How much money do you make?
You knew it was coming -- the inevitable question. So let's get it out of the way. I earn less than LeBron James but more than the French-fry-box unfolder at the local drive-thru. I'm in that gray area.
7) Have you tried all the adventure activities you write about?
I’m not a sailor, a scuba diver, or a high-altitude mountaineer, and I certainly wasn’t aboard the Titanic (exactly how old do you think I am?!)
It was in writing my adventure series that I discovered research. Before that, I’d relied heavily on experience, since I was so close in age to my characters at the beginning of my career. Research is awesome because it replaces the experiences you don’t have.
6) What is your nickname?
One of the reasons I wrote The Sixth Grade Nickname Game was that I hardly ever got cool nicknames as a kid -- Gordie, Gord-o — nothing too creative. But when I was in sixth grade I was the G-Man. I loved it. I've been waiting decades to get another nickname that good.
5) What did you want to be before you became a writer?
When I was two years old, I wanted to be a dog when I grew up. I don't actually remember this, but my parents tell me that I used to eat dinner under the table in preparation for this career. Good thing I wound up a writer. I never could have gotten into the union.
4) Which book was the hardest to write?
The ISLAND trilogy was a real challenge for me because it was the first time I had to switch gears from comedy to action/adventure. Here were six shipwrecked kids who were in real danger of dying every minute. That's not the time to be cracking jokes. So it's not humour that keeps the reader turning pages; it's suspense and fear.
3) What was it like writing the multi-author 39 CLUES series?
At first, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about sharing a series with other authors, but I love it. It’s almost like having co-workers – something most writers don’t get. It can be complicated at times, especially when you’re writing one of the later books in a series. You have to be really careful that your details match the storyline that’s happened so far.
I actually think the multi-author style brings out the best in us as writers. We all try to outdo each other, and that creates a series that’s heart-stoppingly exciting from start to finish.
2) Why is there a dog on the cover of the SWINDLE books?
Covers are tricky, since you have to find a single image to represent an entire story. SWINDLE is about a group of kids who pull off a daring robbery to steal back a million-dollar baseball card they’ve been cheated out of. The scariest part of that is Luthor – a giant trained attack dog. He was a natural for the cover, and after that, he became kind of the “spokes-beast” for the SWINDLE series.
P.S. I never had dogs growing up, but Luthor has turned me into a total dog person. When I was writing SHOWOFF, I researched all the breeds, and even attended the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York City. I’m hooked!
1) What is the answer to all the world's problems?
Come on, how could I know that? But since this is my top ten, I’ll take a stab at it.
Not all of my books are funny, but I do believe in the power of a good sense of humour. Although laughter may not solve anything, it sure makes the bad stuff a lot easier to take. So maybe the answer to all the world's problems is: keep on laughing!