A pithy and not particularly revealing interview with the author of the desperately depressing Series of Unfortunate Events books. How did you start writing A Series of Unfortunate Events? For various personal and legal reasons, I began researching the terrible things that happened to the three Baudelaire children following the death of their parents. The good people at HarperCollins offered to publish my findings, both as cautionary tales and for the general good.
Daniel Handler failed in his attempt to write a flop of a children's book. He was wrong in assuming that kids and their parents don't want to read scary stories about kids who are orphaned, after which the really bad stuff starts to happen. That's why he has sold 1. Handler, a year-old San Francisco native, has played it coy about the identity of Snicket. But the jig is up when he answers his door wearing a lemon-yellow shirt.
With that sentence alone, first published 20 years ago, Snicket — AKA author Daniel Handler — hooked a very particular audience. Released in , when the adolescent book market was dominated by Harry Potter, A Series of Unfortunate Events provided even darker fare in a field full of orphans and murder. It was dark and difficult, and appealed to morbid and precocious children by toeing the line between child and adult fiction in a way nothing ever had before. It was controversial — some schools restricted access to the books over their suggestions of incest and swearing — but this only enticed children more. In the 20 years since The Bad Beginning, A Series of Unfortunate Events has sold more than 60m copies around the world and survived an unsuccessful film adaptation in , to eventually land a three-season Netflix series, which gave room to do the books enough justice to please even the most pernickety of fan.
We have no idea which one. So the latter would enjoy the bittersweet adventures of the tragically orphaned Baudelaire siblings and their travails with venal uncle Count Olaf and his unpleasant henchpersons? I still meet children who, when I make that kind of joke, are alarmed.