Kid Reporters

Snicket’s Second Story

Daniel Handler talks to TFK about book two in the Lemony Snicket-focused series, All the Wrong Questions

November 11, 2013
COURTESY RIGSBY FAMILY

TFK Kid Reporter Kristen Rigsby meets with author Daniel Handler in Chicago.

Have you ever stolen melons from a neighborhood grocery store, thrown a fishbowl out a window, or been on the trail of a dangerous criminal? Young apprentice Lemony Snicket has experienced all of the above, and he chronicles his adventures in the new mystery book, When Did You See Her Last?, the second book in the All the Wrong Question series.  Daniel Handler, the “official representative of Lemony Snicket," recently spoke with TFK Kid Reporter Kristen Rigsby about the new book.

TFK:

What gave Mr. Snicket the idea to write this series?

DANIEL HANDLER:

I guess he would look back on his life, as to when he was an apprentice at Stain’d by the Sea, and he thought it was worth writing down what kind of sinister things he found there.

TFK:

How does When Did You See Her Last? continue the mystery introduced in the first book of the series?

HANDLER:

Depressingly. It does it in such a way that the second volume is much more upsetting than the first volume. The first volume, Who Could That Be At This Hour?, focuses on theft, and this focuses on kidnapping, and I think that most people find kidnapping more upsetting than theft. I guess it’s a form of theft in a way.

TFK:

Mr. Snicket focuses on one question: “When did you see her last?” Why did Mr. Snicket choose this question as the “wrong question?”

HANDLER:

I like that question. I think it is the most crucial one for people who read the book. What seems like a simple question as to where you saw this young woman last turns out to be a more complicated one.

TFK:

Mr. Snicket’s second case leads him to mysterious settings and introduces him to unique characters. Does Mr. Snicket find his new whereabouts and associates enjoyable, unfortunate, or just fate?

HANDLER:

That is a great choice. Enjoyable, no. Unfortunate, yes. Just fate, maybe.

TFK:

Kid Reporter
Kristen Rigsby

Mr. Snicket often makes spontaneous decisions. How do these actions lead to the predicaments he gets himself into?

HANDLER:

I think Mr. Snicket makes spontaneous decisions because sometimes you have no idea what decisions you are going to face. You knew that you were going to come here and ask me questions, but if a fire broke out, and we had to decide to leave, we would leave in whatever way seemed most convenient when we made that decision. We would make that decision quickly.

TFK:

Why does Mr. Snicket focus on the wrong questions instead of the right questions? Does Mr. Snicket think the plot of his book would turn out differently if he focused on the right questions?

HANDLER:

I think wrong things are more interesting, and I think Mr. Snicket probably agrees with me. I don’t know if the book would turn out differently, but I think the book would sound differently and read differently.

TFK:

What does Mr. Snicket hope his readers will learn from the series?

HANDLER:

I think Mr. Snicket hopes that his readers will learn to read something else other than Mr. Snicket’s work.

TFK:

Can you give us a little preview into the plot of Mr. Snicket’s next book in the series?

HANDLER:

Each volume in All the Wrong Questions focuses on a specific crime. And the crimes escalate. So in the way that kidnapping is worse than theft, than the third crime will be worse than kidnapping, as much worse than kidnapping as kidnapping is worse than theft. It will be getting direr, more sinister, and more unnerving.

TFK:

Most of Mr. Snicket’s books contain elements of mystery and suspense. Why does Mr. Snicket enjoy writing books in these genres?

HANDLER:

It’s hard to think of a story that’s interesting that doesn’t have an element of suspense. Like for instance, when I take the occasional pause when I’m answering you (pause), it increases the suspense because you think to yourself, ‘I wonder what’s going to happen next.’ I think that’s interesting.


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