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dan Image via the LA Times

Susan Rich is the editor of  “Half-Minute Horrors”, a new anthology of  instant frights for young readers by a stellar line-up of writers and illustrators including Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, Adam Rex and Lemony Snicket.

Toronto families are invited to attend the launch of this collection of spooky stories on Halloween Saturday at the Gladstone Hotel.

Ms. Rich recently interviewed the mysterious Lemony Snicket exclusively for  Bunch.

Susan Rich: Hello Mr Snicket. Thank you for agreeing to speak with us about matters relating to Halloween. Halloween can be a very creepy time. What sorts of things scare you?

Lemony Snicket: Masks, silverfish, a woman I once knew, iced tapioca drinks, injustice, things that jump out suddenly at me in the dark, things that approach me slowly in the dark, corporate hegemony, flickering lightbulbs and bland, self-serving philosophies concerning the world.

SR: Many people who usually dress in regular clothes find Halloween a good time to put on a disguise. Can you tell us about your most successful disguise?

LS: No, but the next time you sit down at your “desk” you might look a bit more closely.

SR: Some readers enjoy frightening books. Are there any you might recommend for Halloween reading?

LS: I was most recently frightened by My Abandonment by Peter Rock and John Burningham’s It’s A Secret!  For this reason I do not recommend either title.

SR: When trick-or-treaters visit your home, what do you have for them?

LS: Caviar on toast, clear wild-mushroom consommé, endive and caper salad, gnocchi with dandelion-green pesto, broiled mackerel with leeks and artichoke blossoms, lamb filet mignon, Sally Jackson cheeses with fresh figs, bittersweet chocolate and almonds, all served with appropriate beverages and served in relative darkness so people stalking the streets in costume will think we’re not home.  Then, I join my guests stalking the streets in costume paying particular attention to the darkened houses.

SR: Is there a treat you are hoping for this Halloween?

LS: Peace on Earth, black liquorice.

SR: You recently wrote a very short story entitled “Something You Ought to Know” that appears in a spooky story collection titled Half-Minute Horrors. That story contains some excellent advice, especially for sleepers. Is there any other advice you would be willing to share with our readers as Halloween approaches?

LS: Candy ought to be checked thoroughly before eating it.  For this purpose, please send any candy you may be given to me, care of my publisher.  I promise a thorough investigation, particularly of any chocolate-and-peanut-butter items.

SR: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us.

Lemony Snicket (A Series of Unfortunate Events)  is also known as Daniel Handler. Daniel lives in San Francisco with his wife, Lisa Brown and their son, Otto, who is six and was born around Halloween.

As a Halloween treat for our readers, Bunch has Lemony Snicket’s contribution to this unpleasant collection available as a free download:

Something You Ought to Know

Make sure you pick up a copy of Half-Minute Horrors on Halloween!



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