Q: Do you have any advice for writers?

I have an entire section of this website devoted to advice for writers!

Q: What happens after Doll Bones?

Doll Bones is meant to be open ended. Not all the questions are answered, so readers can use their imagination if they want to. Feel free to speculate yourself— what do you think will happen? Was the ghost laid to rest? Was there ever a ghost at all? Will Poppy, Zach, and Alice stay friends? Will they keep playing some form of the game, and if so, as they grow up, how will the game change?

Q: How did you come up with the idea for The Spiderwick Chronicles?

Tony and I met three kids who told us they’d had real experiences with faeries. We had no idea whether or not to believe them, but we became intrigued by the idea and we’d also been looking for a project to do together. It was a perfect fit.

Q: Do you really know the Grace children? Can I have their address?

I really know the three kids who told us the story, but their real names were changed in the books. I also can’t give out their address. Their parents are very concerned about protecting their anonymity.

Q: Are you ever going to write more Spiderwick books?

We have no plans to do so at this point. Tony is finishing up the third book in his Wondla series, and I’m just starting Magisterium, but maybe someday in the future we will do another project together. We’re still great friends, and I’d love to work with him again.

Q: Are you ever going to write more Modern Faerie Tale books?

No, but Darkest Part of the Forest is another book about faeries. Also, I wrote a short story about the characters from the Modern Faerie tale series in my collection The Poison Eaters, called Land of Heart’s Desire.

Q: Are you ever going to write more Curse Worker books?

I hope someday I get to come back and write one or two more books in that series, but for now I’m happy with where I left everyone.

Q: Will there be a sequel to the Coldest Girl in Coldtown?

Coldest Girl in Coldtown was written as a stand-alone. That said, I know what happens next, and maybe someday you will too. Right now, as with Curse Workers, I’m happy with where I left everyone. I’m sure they’ll be fine. Right?

Q: Will there be a sequel to Doll Bones?

Here’s a book where, although I love the characters, I don’t think I’d ever want to write about what happens next. I think it’s important that there not be a sequel, so that you get to decide both what you think happened in the book and what you think will happen next to the characters.

Q: What are you writing now/next?

Magisterium, a five book middle grade series I’m collaborating on with Cassandra Clare.

Q: Is there going to be a movie about _______ ?

I want to take a step back and explain how getting a film made works. Oftentimes when people ask this question, they ask “Are you going to make a movie of (insert project)? Movies require millions of dollars and a lot of technical know how, and also distribution, none of which I have access to. So for one of my books to become a film, the following would have to happen:

1. The project would have to be optioned by a production company or studio. This is the first step and very exciting when it happens, because it means that someone has paid money to be allowed to develop the project for a limited period of time (usually a year or two). You may have heard that some of your favorite books have been optioned before. You will recall that some of them became films and some of them did not.

2. During the time when the project is “under option,” the producers will try and get it ready to be turned into a film. This means getting financing, paying for a script to be written and attaching directors and actors to the project. Depending on how well that goes and how much buzz the project attracts, it might go on to be:

3. Greenlit! This is the point when the movie is almost definitely getting made. This is when people begin talking about shoot schedules and release dates, scouting locations and making props. Once a movie gets to the point, you are likely to see talk about it on film sites. It’s also the point that I would be talking about it a whole lot on my blog.

I’ve simplified this quite a bit, but you can still see that it’s a convoluted process, and one that the author gets very little say in. It works a little different for TV, too. Even when this process is set in motion, it can take years and years to get get to the point that the studio is ready to greenlight it. It may sound daunting, but the Spiderwick Chronicles movie got made, and another movie could get made someday. Fingers crossed!

Q: Is there going to be a movie about Spiderwick?

There already is!

Q: Did you like the Spiderwick movie?

I liked it a ton. I thought Mark Waters did a great job directing and that Freddie Highmore and Sarah Bolger played the kids pitch-perfectly. They really seemed like the characters from the books. I was also extremely happy that the faeries seemed organic and a little bit frightening.

Q: Are faeries real?

I don’t know. I’ve never seen one, although I have met lots of kids and adults who have seen them. I want to believe faeries are real, but I also want proof. I hope someday I will see a faerie myself so that I can know for sure.

Q: How can I find out if I have faeries living in my house/yard?

Strange lights, things going missing or being rearranged, an abundance of clover among the grass and/or seeing things moving out of the corner of your eyes.

Q: What is your favorite book of all time?

I have more than one and I guess it depends on my mood. See here for a list of the books I think you might like, based on the books of mine you’ve enjoyed.

Q: Do you have any pets?

I have three cats: Lily, Miel, and Falcor.

Q: How did you know you wanted to become a writer? Why did you choose to become a writer?

I’ve always loved reading and I’ve always loved making up stories. I wanted to be a writer since I was young and I guess I just never stopped wanting it.

Q: What are your hobbies?

Reading, gothic interior decorating, planning elaborate theme parties, and drinking coffee.

Q: Did you get in trouble a lot as a kid?

I did not get in trouble a lot, although I hung out with many trouble-makers. My parents were not very strict, so my house was the house everyone slept over at when they wanted to sneak out and maraud around the neighborhood. Looking back, I’m not actually sure why I wasn’t in trouble more. Also, why are you guys asking me this so often? Do you get in trouble a lot? WHAT ARE YOU ALL DOING?

Q: Did you do well in school as a kid?

I did okay. I was good at reading because I really liked reading. I was bad at math because I didn’t really like math. I was bad at spelling because I didn’t like looking things up. I was a daydreamer, a doodler, and a a very inconsistent scholar.

Q: Both the Spiderwick Chronicles and the Magisterium series are collaborations. How do you go about collaborating with other authors?

Collaborations, in my experience, work differently every time. When Tony and I first sat down to collaborate on Spiderwick, we did a lot of brainstorming and sending bits of writing and art back and forth. Then I went off to write, he went off to draw and we continued to comment on each other’s work. He might send me the picture of a creature he thought might be in the book. I might tell him a scene I thought he should draw. If you look at the artwork in Spiderwick, it tells parts of the story that the text doesn’t — which was very deliberate.

With the Magisterium series, Cassandra Clare and I actually sit in the same room and hand the computer back and forth after we’ve written a few hundred words (between 200 and 500, on average), often when we get stuck. We have a pretty strict outline — something she’s really excellent at creating and which I am much less excellent at creating — but when we need to figure out something new, we can go off together and brainstorm.

Every collaboration of mine has been a unique process. When I worked on the graphic novels Good Neighbors with Ted Naifeh, I had completed the manuscript before he saw it — however, we were still able to talk about what happened after that — he’s the one who pushed me to let the villains take over the town, so that he could draw it. When Rebecca Guay first approached me about working with her on A Flight of Angels, I was just going to write one of the stories, but I wound up having the opportunity to write a story that wove between all the other tales — something I had no thoughts about doing when I first began.

If you are thinking about collaborating, I think the most important thing is that you really love the other person’s work, and that they really love yours. It’s also useful to know them pretty well, so you don’t have to be too polite.