Richard (Rick) Yancey Interview, plus links to author biography, book summaries, excerpts and reviews

Richard (Rick) Yancey

Richard (Rick) Yancey

An interview with Richard (Rick) Yancey

Rick Yancey explains the inspiration behind his bestselling children's book, The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp.

What are your favorite children's books and why?
Charlie & The Chocolate Factory — love the humor 
The Hobbit — love the whimsy and the adventure
The Borrowers
A Wrinkle in Time

Who are your favorite children's authors
Roald Dahl — nobody was better

Who or what was your biggest influence in deciding to become a writer?
My wife, who knew how much the dream of being a professional writer meant to me and dreamed for me when I lost all hope. She rescued manuscripts from the trash, gave me pep talks and bought books to encourage me. She's my biggest fan and toughest critic.

What inspired you to write your latest book?
I've always loved the Arthurian legend, and swordplay, too! My son Jacob, who is eight, fell in love with swords and we spend hours play-fighting with them. I wanted to write a great adventure story that combined my love for swords with the Arthur stories. 

What's the best thing you've ever written?
My next book!

Is there any particular ritual involved in your writing process?
I write best away from a desk. I use a laptop, and most of my books are written while I'm sitting in the car, during soccer practices or during karate practice (like right now!) or while I wait for my son to get out of school. I've written beside pools and on porches and even on my bed at night! Somehow, if I try to set aside special "writing time" it never happens!

What is your favorite colour?
A tie: green and blue

What is your favorite food and worst?
Favorite food: Red Meat!
Least Favorite: beets

Do you have a pet?
Yes, two dogs, Maddie and Casey. Maddie is a little dog and Casey is a big dog. But Maddie is definitely in charge! It's funny to see such a little dog boss around such a big one!

What subject did you enjoy most as school... and least?
Favourite subject: reading
Least: Math

What is your favorite film?
That's a tough one — there's so many good movies! Practically anything with Russell Crowe. My favorite kid's movie has to be Charlie & the Chocolate Factory. But I also love The Karate Kid.

What music do you like?
U2 (How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb is great! My eight-year-old LOVES Vertigo.)

If you hadn't been an author, what would you have been?
A scientist. 

How long does it take you to write a book?
Usually about six to nine months, if it's any good. If it's bad, a lot longer!

How long have you been writing books?
I wrote my first book at 14 (about a year younger than Alfred Kropp), so for a long, long time. It was only recently, though, that somebody noticed.

Where do you get your ideas from?
I'm not really sure. Probably in the area around the hypothalamus. I usually start with a character, follow him around and write down everything he does or happens to him.

Unless otherwise stated, this interview was conducted at the time the book was first published, and is reproduced with permission of the publisher. This interview may not be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the copyright holder.

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