Get to know Robert Munsch
Writing and books
Why did you start writing?
I started writing so I would remember my stories.
What was your first book or story?
The first story I made up was Mortimer. My first book was Mud Puddle.
How did you start writing your books?
Well I didn't start by writing at all. I started by telling stories in a daycare centre and I told stories for kids for 10 years before I ever wrote any down. Finally my boss told me to write them down so I did. Then he told me to send them to publishers and I did. Actually, I was glad he told me to write them down and send them to publishers because I had been meaning to do that for 10 years, but I just never got around to it.
I sent out 10 stories and one of them got a "yes" and nine of them got a "no."
At what age did you start writing books?
I started telling stories when I was 25.
I started writing when I was 35.
I got published when I was 36.
Why did you start writing?
I started writing because friends of mine kept saying that I TOLD very good stories.
How many hours do you work a day?
Some days I do not work at all and some days I work all day and even at night. So it changes a lot.
How do you make your books so funny?
I get my stories funny by telling them to kids till they get funny. If they don't get funny, I stop telling them.
Why do you only write funny books?
This is a very good question, because I don't mean to write funny books. It just happens that when I tell stories, the stories are always funny. Even when I try to make them not funny they end up being funny. So, why does my brain work like that? I don't know. Maybe I just like to hear people laugh.
What do you think makes your books so popular with kids?
I think my books are popular because they are funny and are about things that kids really care about, like snowsuits and snot and teachers and underwear and junk food and hugs.
I have some great stories and have thought about being an author, how do you get started?
It's easy to start!
1. Write down your stories.
2. Play around with them till they get good.
3. Show them to your friends.
4. Send copies to everybody you know.
5. Maybe send them to publishers, but publishers sometimes just don't get it and send back really good stories, so you don't have to do this if you don't want to.
How can you write so much?
Well, I just keep making up stories. I have lots of stories that are not books yet.
hat is your funniest story? What is your saddest story?
I think my funniest story is I Have to Go.
I think my saddest story is.... Well, I don't think I have a really sad story.
Why did you want to become a writer?
I became a writer so kids could hear my stories even if I was not telling them. I also hoped it would be fun, and it is.
Did you like writing when you were in Grade 2?
I did not like to write in Grade 2. I did not even know how to make all my letters when I was in Grade 2.
What is your best book that you wrote? Why?
I do not know what the best book I have written is. I just can't figure it out.
How many days does it take to write a good story?
It takes me about two years to write a good story. Two years at least!
Are the people you write about in your family?
Some of the people I write about are in my family.
Julie in David’s Father.
Tyya in Something Good.
Andrew in Andrew’s Loose Tooth.
Julie, Tyya, Andrew, Ann (my wife) and me are all in Finding Christmas and Pyjama Day!
The kids in the other books are usually the kid I first made the story up for.
Where do get all those names for your characters?
The kids in my books are real kids. So Temina and Leonardo and Arie and Cheryl are all real. I just use the names of real kids. Each name in each of my books is the name of the FIRST kid that I made the story up for. Some of the kids were all grown up by the time their stories got to be books!
How did you plan the story ideas?
I don't plan story ideas. My stories grow by telling and I don't plan them in advance.
What is your favourite colour and animal? What book do you think is the scariest and which do you think is the funniest? Which character is your favorite?
My favorite colour is black.
My favorite animal is an orange beetle.
A PROMISE IS A PROMISE is my most scary book.
I HAVE TO GO is my funniest book.
My favorite character is... ahhhh.... ummm.... I don't think I have a favorite character.
What is your favorite show on TV?
My favorite TV show is STAR TREK.
What is your favourite food?
What is my favourite food? That is a hard question. Some people have the same favorite food forever, but I change my mind a lot.
Sometimes my favorite food is HOT CHICKEN WINGS.
Sometimes my favorite food is INDONESIAN LEMON GRASS AND COCONUT SOUP.
Sometimes my favorite food is RAW CARIBOU.
Sometimes my favorite food is HOME MADE VEGETABLE SOUP.
Sometimes my favorite food is NOTHING 'CAUSE I DON'T WANT TO EAT.
What is your favourite book?
My favorite book of mine is Love You Forever (sometimes!).
My favorite kids' book not by me is Blueberries for Sal.
My favorite book with no pictures is Five Families.
Other interesting facts
Do you have a pet?
Yes I have a pet. A big black poodle named Guinness. He does not have that dumb poodle haircut, so nobody knows he is a poodle. Guinness likes to chase squirrels and rabbits. We also have a Yorkshire terrier named Winston, but he is more my wife’s dog. Before Guinness, I had another black poodle named Cinder. Here is something I wrote about Cinder:
Two days ago my dog went out onto a lake and fell through the ice (dumb dog!). Lucky for the dog, I heard him yelping and found where he was. A beaver had left part of a tree trunk by the lake. I took the tree trunk and threw it out onto the ice and then crawled out the trunk, using it to spread my weight out over the ice. When I got to Cinder, he was in bad shape and starting to sink under the water. I grabbed him and got him on top of the ice. That made the weight on the ice too heavy and all the ice gave way; but I was able to pull both myself and Cinder out of the water by pulling along the tree trunk. I was only in the water for about 20 seconds and I still got really cold.
Where do you live?
I live in Guelph, Ontario, Canada OR Canada, Ontario, Guelph.
It is near Toronto and Lake Ontario and Niagara Falls.
Do you like living in Canada?
I LOVE living in Canada.
Is Robert Munsch your real name, or is it just a pseudonym?
Bob Munsch or Robert Munsch or Robert Norman Peter Maria Munsch is my real name and it always has been. I know it is a weird name but IT IS MY NAME AND I LIKE IT.
How many brothers and sisters do you have?
I have eight brothers and sisters:
What is the neatest thing you have ever done in your life.... or what is the neatest thing you would want to do in your life?
The ABSOLUTELY NEATEST thing I have ever done is being alive. Right now the neatest thing I do is take my dog for walks out in the country. I just came back from that kind of walk.
Where were you born?
I was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, on June 11, 1945. Anyway, that is what my mom and dad told me. I don't remember it myself.
Are you happy that you are famous?
I like being famous because I like it when people know me and think that I am neat because I write books. Actually, I am sort of a boring person even though I write neat books and it is nice that people think I am neat even though I (and not my stories) am boring. At least my daughter, Tyya, says I am boring.
Do you like to go fishing?
I love to fish, even though I am a lousy fisherman.