- Handler started writing the Lemony Snicket books after
he published his first novel The Basic Eight. The suggestion came
from Susan Rich,
a children's book editor who now works at Harper Collins. Initially he thought it a
terrible idea thinking that the sort of things he would come up with would be
totally inappropriate for a children's publishing house, but then he had an idea
- which she liked, and the rest is history.
- His pseudonym came about while researching The Basic Eight, when he
needed to contact right-wing organizations to get pamphlets and learn their
dogma but didn't want to use his real name. It quickly took on a life of
its own and became an in-joke with his friends who presented him with Lemony
Snicket business cards one year and invented a drink called the Lemony Snicket
(Handler is partial to cocktails), it also came in useful when writing letters
to the editor of the local paper as an undergrad, and for ordering pizzas!
- Many of the characters' names are borrowed from literary greats, such
as Charles Baudelaire, Edgar Allen Poe (the children's guardian is Mr Poe,
and his children are Edgar and Albert), and George Orwell (optometrist Georgina
Orwell in The Miserable Mill); others tend to
have descriptive names such as the Squalors and the Quagmires.
- Handler frequently cites Haruki Murakami, Vladimir Nabokov and Lorrie Moore among
his literary influences and says that he enjoys "a good Wilkie Collins novel to
- He is planning to write more books for children, but not immediately.
current project is a book about pirates.
- He plays the accordion and has been involved with a number of musical groups.
He took up the accordion in college when he wanted to join a band but "it was in the brief, strange era
in the late 80s and early 90s when keyboards were not cool" so he turned in his
synthesizer for an accordion and found himself "in a very boring band attempting
to be the Cowboy Junkies."
- Interesting Link:
A video in which Daniel Handler offers advice for young writers.
This article is from the December 6, 2006 issue of BookBrowse Recommends.
Click here to go to this issue.
This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access become a member today.
- "Beyond the Book" backstories
- Free books to read and review (US only)
- Find books by time period, setting & theme
- Read-alike suggestions by book and author
- Book club discussions
- and much more!
- Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
- More about membership!