About Dan Gutman
Q. What is your birthdate?
Q. Previous occupations
A. I used to be the editor of a magazine about video games, back in the Pac-Man era.
Q. Favorite job
A. See above. It was the only job I ever had.
Q. High school and/or college
A. Vailsburg High School in Newark NJ, and Rutgers University in New Brunswick NJ
Q. Name of your favorite composer or music artist?
A. Back then, The Beatles. Now, Fountains of Wayne
Q. Favorite movie
A. Raiders of the Lost Ark
Q. Favorite television show
A. The Daily Show/Colbert Report
Q. How would you describe your life in only 8 words?
A. I try to make people--and myself--happy.
Q. What is your motto or maxim?
A. Keep it simple, and never make the same mistake twice.
Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
A. I don't think there's any such thing. It's human nature to always want what we don't have, so if we ever achieved perfect happiness, we would want something ELSE. People are funny that way. I'm perfectly happy right now, but I'm always looking to make myself a better person anyway.
Q. What’s your greatest fear?
A. That we are slowly making our planet uninhabitable.
Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A. On a huge, grassy field, playing catch with a baseball or a frisbee.
Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
A. Thomas Edison
Q. Which living person do you most admire?
A. Al Gore
Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
A. "Turn off the lights when you leave a room."
Q. What do you regret most?
A. Not asking if I could pitch in Little League
Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A. Playing guitar
Q. What is your greatest achievement?
A. Turning reluctant readers into enthusiastic readers
Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
A. I am terrible at socializing in large groups.
Q. What’s your best quality?
A. I communicate very well in writing.
Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A. Paul McCartney
Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A. Austin Powers
Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A. Dr. Evil
Q. If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A. John F. Kennedy. I would say to him, "If you go to Dallas, somebody's going to shoot you."
Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A. Riding my bike
Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
A. Rock star, or professional baseball player
Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A. Honest, openness, originality
Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
A. "I Saw Her Standing There" by the Beatles, "Katmandu" by Bob Seger, "Everything is Broken" by Bob Dylan, "Life in the Fast Lane" by the Eagles, "Travelin' Band" by Creedence Clearwater Revival
On Books and Writing
Q. Who are your favorite authors?
A. Roald Dahl, Ernest Hemingway, Robert Cormier, Jack Gantos, Peg Kehret, Mark Twain, Gary Paulsen, Carl Hiassen, Andrew Clements, Kurt Vonnegut Jr. and lots of others. But to be perfectly honest, most fiction bores me. The only thing I read, every day, from cover to cover, is The New York Times.
Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A. The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Hatchet, Ball Four, Cat's Cradle, Huckleberry Finn.
Q. Is there a book you love to reread?
A. No, I rarely read a book twice.
Q. Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
A. Have a conversation with the reader.
Q. What comment do you hear most often from your readers?
A. When I read your books, I feel like I'm watching a movie in my head.
Q. How did you come to write Homework Machine?
A. Well, it wasn't any genius idea on my part. I just figured that every kid would love to have a machine that does homework automatically. It was a no-brainer. After that, I had to come up with a twist to make that story even more interesting.