Dan Elish writes novels for adults, fiction and non-fiction for young people, and musicals. His most recent novels are (for adults) The Misadventures of Justin Hearnfeld and (for middle-graders) The Attack of the Frozen Woodchucks.
From a Q & A at The Longstockings:
Daphne: What inspired you to write Attack of the Frozen Woodchucks?Read the full interview.
Dan: I started my career writing slightly over the top, Roald Dahlesque children's novels but had gotten away from writing that kind of book for a number of years. Fortunately, an editor at Harper Collins, Jill Santopolo, read one of my early books, The Worldwide Dessert Contest, and suggested that I try and come up with some sort of new zany novel. For some reason I thought of a deeply stupid inside joke I had with my brother during my college years. Don't ask me why, but we often referred to the sundry frozen woodchucks we kept in our freezers. I remembered that and got thinking about how I could use those woodchucks in a longer story. To my utter amazement, I guess I succeeded.
Lisa: Do any of the children in your life ever find their way into your stories? If so, how do they feel about that?
Dan: It wasn't intentional but most people simple assume that two and a half year old Imogene in The Attack of the Frozen Woodchucks is based on my daughter, Cassie. I suppose they're right. In the book, Imogene is a mechanical genius who rigs her stroller with motors and invents a Gameboy that can move objects through space. In real life, Cassie hasn't rigged her bike or scooter with an engine (she's almost five now) but she can sing most of the score of Singing in the Rain.
I haven't asked Cassie how she feels to be immortalized in my book, but I don't think she'd mind.
The Page 69 Test: The Misadventures of Justin Hearnfeld.