I wanted to be some combination of writer, teacher, and drummer. I never really thought I'd end up doing all three, though.
I don't remember exactly, but it was really, really early in life.
Some kid named Anthony from down the block threw sand in my eyes, and my Grampa Sol sang the Sandman Song to me until I calmed down and fell asleep.
My eyes are terrible without my glasses on. Once when I was 13, I was showing off while waterskiing. In the middle of doing tricks on one ski, I crashed into a 15-foot-long wooden float. Afterward, I couldn't walk right for days!
Watching the 1977 and 1978 World Series with my dad. Or when my parents got me my first drumset.
My Grampa Sol. He was a teacher and author, which drove me to pursue those careers as well.
Either English, or making my friends laugh.
All through high school, I was a tutor and summer camp counselor.
With a big party in my backyard – tents, catering, and even a wiffleball game.
Mostly at the computer in my kitchen, but sometimes on a laptop wherever I happen to be.
From kids. My book ideas always start with a kid doing something that puzzles or amazes me.
Oh, gosh, ALL of them. No one character is 100% me, but each has big chunks of my personality, habits, strengths, and weaknesses.
My wife. In fact, she reads my pages daily while I'm writing every first draft.
Both; I just need a nap in the middle of the day.
My last Thanksgiving with my Dad. I wish we could have had a hundred more just like it.
Neither – I'm completely allergic!
Anyplace where I can play an instrument or read.
Just about anything. I laugh a lot.
Just about anything the Beatles ever wrote.
Probably Hagrid, from Harry Potter. He has such loyalty, and such a huge, brave heart.
Failing to come through for the people I love.
I don't really have one. I guess my default answer would be any televised Yankees game.
My family. Or anyone who was good at ship-building.
Back to my old summer camp in the Poconos, around 1985. Or to the moment when either of my kids was born – there's just nothing else like becoming a parent.
If you want to get better at writing, you'd better read a lot.
I don't really think about what I'd like them to remember, but I hope that while they're reading, they come to care about my characters as much as I do.
Go back to teaching. There are time when I really miss my old students.
My thick, lustrous hair. Just kidding! Really, I am proud that I am kind, and that I try my best to make other people's lives easier.
I dunno, probably my addiction to reading.
At home. Or in NYC, Houston, Philly, or London. It's funny: I like big cities a lot – but being in my quiet little house with my family is better.
Play guitar. I'm OK, but I am terrible about practicing.
Maybe that I love to cook, but hate using recipes?