Todd Strasser is the author of more than 100 books for teens and middle graders including the best-selling Help! I’m Trapped In … series. He has written numerous award-winning YA novels including The Accident, The Wave, Give A Boy A Gun, Boot Camp, If I Grow Up, Fallout and the forthcoming No Place. His books have been translated into more than a dozen languages, and several have been adapted into feature films. Recent novels include the YA “Thrillogy”, Wish You Were Dead, Blood on My Hands, and Kill You Last. He has also written for television, newspapers, and magazines such as The New Yorker, Esquire, and The New York Times. For more info, visit his website.
Would you rather live in a world where there were no problems or a world where you ruled supreme?
We were just talking about this the other day. I fear that a world with no problems would be dreadfully boring and leave authors with nothing to write about. And unfortunately I would make a terrible ruler. What I actually do think would be best would be if only women were allowed to hold the highest leadership positions. I suspect it would take a lot of the testosterone out of world politics and make it a better and more peaceful place. Woody Allen would probably add that the worst that could happen would be that two countries wouldn’t speak to each other for a few months.
Would you rather endure a zombie apocalypse or World War III?
They’re sort of the same thing, aren’t they?
Would you rather be able to speak with all animals or all foreign languages?
This is a tough one. I really would like to be able to speak to all animals, especially my girlfriend’s Tibetan terrier, who I accidentally walked through the invisible fence a few nights ago. It was a total accident. It had been months since she’d had that collar on. She (the dog not the girlfriend) still hasn’t forgiven me. On the other hand, I’ve always, and I do mean always, wanted to speak other languages. It makes you seem really smart even if you’re not.
Would you rather be deaf in one ear or only be able to use the Internet one hour per week?
Are you kidding? What do we need two ears for?
Would you rather have a free Starbucks for a year or free iTunes forever?
Believe it or not, I use neither. Instead, can I please speak all languages AND talk to animals?
Would you rather be considered a total oddball to everyone you meet or be considered completely average with nothing particularly interesting about you?
Well, since I’m pretty much the latter, I’d really enjoy being an oddball, but a nice oddball who you wouldn’t mind having dinner with.
Would you rather be the richest person alive or immortal?
To me there’s not much difference between having enough and having more than enough, so I’d go with immortality as long as I could be 35 forever.
Harry Potter or Twilight? Or neither?
To me they’re not even in the same ballpark. HP hands down.
Mac or PC?
Depends on where I am. I’m PC at home but my kids and girlfriend are all Mac.
If you could choose to write your next book on a typewriter or with a quill pen, which would you choose?
Would you rather always be underdressed or overdressed?
You can always shed layers.
Would you rather have a rewind button for your life or a pause button?
What would you do if you found out that your whole life is actually just one long dream?
If you could change one aspect of our society through your work, what would it be?
The dissolution of violence and hate.
What made you decide to follow a creative career choice (though possibly risky) rather than something more stable?
In a way I had no choice. I have to write and I’m fortunate enough to make a living at it. Otherwise I’d still be writing, just not making a living.
In terms of your writing, how would you like to be remembered?
At this point I’d just like to be remembered, period.
How has personal experience influenced your writing?
This is a joke question, right? Right?
What do you do to keep yourself motivated and interested in your work?
I like to vary my subjects and approaches. My most recent book, FALLOUT, is partly memoir and partly alternate history. My next book, NO PLACE, is realistic fiction. The book after that will be science fiction adventure and the one after that, I hope, will be a steampunk romantic mystery.
If you had to start over, would you choose a different path in your career?
I think I would basically take the same path, but would add a few movie scripts to the oeuvre.
What do you do to get into your writing zone?
Coffee > New York Times > E-mail > Get to work!
What is your favorite accomplishment?
After my kids and my career? Learning to surf at the age of 52.
Do you ever create hidden meanings or messages in your work?
I like to keep my messages in plain sight.
Do you pay attention to others’ strong reactions to your work?
Yes, especially the ones I disagree with.
If your writing were edible, what would it taste like?
Dark chocolate sea salt caramel.
Has rejection ever affected your desire to continue writing?
I faced a lot of non-writing rejection before I started writing, so when the writing rejections came it was just more of the same. No bigggie.
What kind of jobs did you have before your career took off?
Newspaper reporter, advertising script writer, beer vendor, proprietor of a risqué fortune cookie company (no joke).
What was the biggest opposing force that you encountered on your writing journey?
The inability to spel.
If you had the chance to live during a different artistic movement other than now, which one would you choose?
The golden age of Hollywood (1927-1963)
If you could interview any author (past or present), who would you choose?
Shakespeare 1) To know once and for all if he really existed 2) To find out how he produced so much phenomenal writing.
If you could choose a theme song for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I’d Rather Have A Bottle In Front Of Me Than A Frontal Lobotomy by Tom Waits