The Scholastic Books website has lots of wonderful information about their published books and authors, including James Howe. Here are just a few questions for Mr. Howe from his readers and his answers...
Why did you become an author? I became an author because I love words. I enjoyed playing with them when I was a kid, writing stories and plays, and doing whatever I could think to do with words. I kept my love of them growing up and still love to see what they can do.
What inspired you to write the Bunnicula series? Debbie [the late Mrs. Howe] and I loved vampire movies. This was in the 1970s when there were a lot of vampire movies shown on late night TV and we stayed up late many a night. Some of them were a lot sillier than they were scary. I don't remember the moment when the character Bunnicula came into my head. I suspect it came from the asking the question, "What's the silliest, least likely vampire I can imagine?" It was never intended to be a series; it just grew out of the first book. I loved writing about those characters so much, particularly Harold, so I continued the story.
Is there anything that you really hoped people would notice or think about when they read this story? I would hope they laugh a lot. I did have a young reader write to me years ago that what she learned from the book was to accept other people's differences the way that Harold accepted Bunnicula into the home. And I liked that. That's become a theme in much of my work and it's interesting that it might have unintentionally been a theme in my first book.
What advice would you give a student that wants to be a writer? Two words: read . . . write. Reading is the best way to learn to write, but the way to get better and better as a writer, is to write, write, write. Write what matters to you, write what makes you laugh, write what makes you cry, write in order to get a reaction from the reader, write because you have to, and write because it is fun for you.