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5 Questions With... Michael Buckley (The Sisters Grimm and NERDS series)

by Michael Buckley
January 14, 2013
This post originally appeared on the Engage/Teacher to Teacher blog in January 2012.

Michael Buckley is the New York Times bestselling author of the Sisters Grimm and NERDS series. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and son. The most recent addition to the Grimm series, THE SISTERS GRIMM: A VERY GRIMM GUIDE, was released in hardcover earlier this month.

Your recent release, THE SISTERS GRIMM: A VERY GRIMM GUIDE, comes just before the final book in the popular series. What are some ways that teachers could use the guide to introduce students to your series and fairy tales in general?

My wife, Alison Fargis, was instrumental to the design and concept of this book. Her company, Stonesong, put all the pieces together and we both agreed that we wanted to make it fun and useful. On top of all the fun insider info, the Very Grimm Guide has some historical info on the origins of some of the most famous fairy tales as well as biographies of the writers behind them. Teachers and librarians have been my biggest cheerleaders so we were thinking about them when we put the book together.

Puck is a very humorous character, and you’ve given him the role of editor for A VERY GRIMM GUIDE. What made you select him as your editor?

Hands down, Puck is the most popular character in the series. I get more fan mail about him than anyone else. When we had a working draft of the book I realized the fans would kill me when they found out there were only a few pages dedicated to Puck. Having him take over the final edit sounded hilarious and he has scribbled his little comments all over the book. I think it makes it unique from other fan guides.

There has been a recent proliferation of fairy tales in pop culture. Why do you think traditional tales (and creative remixes) have become so popular?

I think fairy tales are written into our cultural DNA—we go back to them again and again and again. There are always movies and books and comics that dive into the material because it is so rich. I'm happy to see that my series is inspiring so much of what is being produced these days.

There is an upcoming Sisters Grimm movie. As someone with experience writing for television, how does it feel to have your series turned into a movie?

Well, we don't technically have a movie in place. We have an amazing producer, a great script, and an up-and-coming director. Now all we really need is someone to write us a check for $100 million dollars so we can get it done. I'm excited about what is going on as I've talked to so many producers and studio executives who really didn't get the books. They wanted to make them boys or make them teenagers or try to write a bigger part for a movie star. Really, in its essence, the series is about two girls and a flying boy who fight monsters. I don't know what's so hard to understand. But these days we have a team that not only gets it, they love it. So, keep your fingers crossed.

You’re also the author of the wildly popular N.E.R.D.S. series, which Horn Book called “great girl books for boys.” What does that mean to you?

I'm often called a writer for girls but I shy away from that description. I write for kids—boys and girls. Sometimes I ask the boys to be brave and read about girls and sometime I ask the girls to tap into their inner obnoxious boy and jump in head first. I'm happy that what I do is hard to define—it keeps the readers on their toes. It's so easy to get into this idea that there are books for boys and books for girls. I believe that they both really want the same thing from a book:adventure, thrills, laughs, and a little something to think about when the book is done. I think that's what kind of writer I am.

Michael Buckley will be appearing at IRA’s 58th Annual Convention in San Antonio, as part of “The Serious Business of Writing Humor: The Importance of Funny Fiction in the Classroom.” The panel includes fellow authors Andy Griffiths, Laurie Kellar, and Devin Scillian.
© 2012 Michael Buckley. Please do not reproduce in any form, electronic or otherwise.


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