New from Simon & Schuster

Author Revealed

About Shaun David Hutchinson

Q. What is your birthdate?

A. 5/1

Q. Previous occupations

A. Waiter, Barista, office manager, retail clerk, computer wonk.

Q. Favorite job

A. I actually really enjoyed being a barista. Especially the part where I got all the free coffee.

Q. High school and/or college

A. I went to Jupiter High School in south Florida, and I went to college at Florida Atlantic University.

Q. Name of your favorite composer or music artist?

A. Natalie Merchant

Q. Favorite movie

A. Donnie Darko

Q. Favorite television show

A. Of all time? Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Currently? Skins.

Revealing Questions

Q. How would you describe your life in only 8 words?

A. Is the coffee ready yet?

Q. What is your motto or maxim?

A. Carpe Mortediem! (Seize the Deathday!)

Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?

A. A fresh cup of coffee, an awesome book, my friends and family, and new episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Q. What’s your greatest fear?

A. That I've used up all my best jokes and haven't got any left for my next book.

Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?

A. Boulder, Colorado.

Q. With whom in history do you most identify?

A. Sylvia Plath without the suicidal tendencies.

Q. Which living person do you most admire?

A. Joss Whedon

Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?

A. I begin too many sentences with SO.

Q. What do you regret most?

A. That I didn't say yes more often.

Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?

A. I'd love to be able to play guitar.

Q. What is your greatest achievement?

A. So far it's writing The Deathday Letter.

Q. What’s your greatest flaw?

A. Sloth.

Q. What’s your best quality?

A. My belief that I can do anything.

Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?

A. I really like being me.

Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?

A. My nose.

Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?

A. Ron Weasley.

Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?

A. Gollum

Q. If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?

A. If I could meet any historical character it would be Jack Kerouac so that I could tell him to put down the bottle.

Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?

A. People who can only see one side of an argument.

Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?

A. I like fixing computers, but don't tell anyone or everyone will want me to fix theirs.

Q. What’s your fantasy profession?

A. I'm doing it right now. Other than this, I'd also like to write for television.

Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?

A. Honesty, loyalty, ability to brew a good cup of coffee.

Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?

A. Cheese. Yummy, delicious cheese.

Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?

A. Hometown Glory by Adele, So Right by Dave Matthews, Oh! Sweet Nuthin' by The Velvet Underground, Malibu by Courtney Love, Breathe Me by Sia.

On Books and Writing

Q. Who are your favorite authors?

A. J.K. Rowling, Patrick Ness, Jake Wizner, Ned Vizzini, JRR Tolkien, Terry Brooks, The dude who wrote Beowulf.

Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?

A. The Knife of Never Letting Go, LIAR, All the Harry Potter books, Beowulf, The Hobbit,

Q. Is there a book you love to reread?

A. I love rereading the first Harry Potter book, especially when I'm sick. It's like chicken soup.

Q. Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?

A. If you're stuck, try writing longhand.

Q. What comment do you hear most often from your readers?

A. That I made them laugh. Which is the highest compliment I could receive.

Q. How did you come to write The Deathday Letter?

A. I'd recently found out that my mother wasn't doing well health-wise. It was pretty serious and it scared me. I started thinking about how terrible it would be if anything happened to her. That night I was trying to sleep and couldn't stop thinking about my mom. I was thinking that people should have more time before they die. Time to be with their friends and family. That's when the idea of the letter came to me. The Deathday Letters. They give people one precious day to prepare. I sat there in the dark thinking for a while about what I'd do with the concept. Then from the dark, the voice of Oliver Travers began speaking to me. He was pretty insistent and cussed a lot. I got up--it was about one in the morning--and let him tell me about his family and friends. When I finally got to bed it was clear that he had gotten a Deathday Letter, and that the story was his. Six weeks later I finished that first draft and my brother and I went with my mom on her first trip to Europe. We've got another trip planned for next year.

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