Some of you, poor things, may know of my work on the books A Series of Unfortunate Events and All the Wrong Questions, but I am sad to announce that further trouble from Mr. Snicket has arrived, in the form of File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents, published today. Further sinister details can be found at


Alas, our back-and-forthing has come to a close. What a shame we were not all sitting around in person, conversing over beverages and/or smoked fish. I salute you, reddit citizens.

Comments: 1763 • Responses: 57  • Date: 

Jourdy2882631 karma

Dear Mr. Snicket,

I hope that this letter reaches you well, and upon its arrival, that it not be misconstrued as some sort of elaborate joke on account of the bizarre holiday that has today gripped the world. I regret to inform you that in my youth, I foolishly spurned happier works of fiction in favor of your thirteen book series that filled my childhood days with misery, tears, and an irrational fear of realtors, which made it very difficult for my family to get away our little town, where the reading of certain books is rather discouraged.

It is with a great heaviness of the soul, a phrase which here means that my life has taken on such an unimaginable and large burden that I am permitted to use such phrases as “great heaviness of the soul”, that I must inform you that your course of action in life has irrevocably altered my own. Instead of choosing an ordinary and risk-free career such as medical minstrel or designer of very fancy doilies. I chose to become an author, and my life is fraught with peril- I hope you understand what you’ve done.

Though I am reluctant, I feel that it is necessary to ask you this question- when did you know that you wanted to become an author?

Thank you for reading, I hope you don’t ruin any more lives,


P.S. Suppose we happen to be at the same place at the same time, would you care to discuss life’s difficulties over an aqueous martini? I’m still too young to consume one containing vodka.

P.P.S. Apparently, somebody has seen my letter Mr. Snicket and thought that my tale was worthy of gilding. To whosoever considers my memories of woe worthy of Gold, I thank you. It is a good bit of impetus to stop beating about the bush, a phrase which here means that I should discontinue using Reddit and finally publish my second book. If only I could convince my kindly illustrator to draw a little bit faster.

P.P.P.S. /r/ASOUE is so very sadly unpopulated.

DanielHandler2522 karma

My parents claim that when I was small I announced that my future occupation was going to be a man who lived on the top of a mountain giving advice. If this story is true - and my parents were notorious liars - then that was the only other occupation that interested me. My own memory tells me I always wanted to be a writer, even though my parents informed me it was a foolhardy and possibly dangerous occupation. It is important to inform young people of crucial information, which is why I am grateful to tell "Jourdy288" that martinis do not contain vodka. They contain gin. I pray I have told you this in time.

d0uble0h2224 karma

I'm not gonna lie. I had no idea you were alive. I'm sorry.

DanielHandler3454 karma

No apologies necessary. I had no idea you even existed until recently. Shall we call it a draw?

notimeforidiots1371 karma

Dear Mr. Handler,

Your books transported me to far off places in a time where that is all I needed in life.

Thank you for that.

DanielHandler2074 karma

I am sorry to hear that your life, for a time anyway, was insufficiently amusing, horrifically upsetting, or both. But I accept all compliments graciously.

flamingoboots1371 karma

What should I name my new cat?

DanielHandler2907 karma

"The Plague." Has anyone seen The Plague? Is the Plague in your room? It really rolls off the tongue.

hrmhrh1205 karma

Hello Mr. Snicket/Handler! I'm a huge fan. When The Beatrice Letters came out I spent hours dissecting it for clues. Here's my question: was there any reason you kept the ending of book 13 so ambiguous rather than answering a lot of the questions readers had about the series directly?

DanielHandler2896 karma

I think books which ask questions are more interesting than books which answer them. For instance, after reading this comment I had the question, "How can a huge fan manage to use a computer? Isn't it busy cooling the air someplace?"

HallieP1061 karma

What advice would you give to a struggling publicist?

DanielHandler2207 karma

Focus only on your most charming clients. By the way, it's been too long since we've had lunch.

hbrunelle241026 karma

What character of yours is most like you?

DanielHandler2781 karma

Lemony Snicket.

manofsticks984 karma

Hello Mr. Handler

1) How planned out was the story for A Series of Unfortunate Events when you started writing? Did you have the basic plotline of all 13 books planned out from the beginning, or did you develop the story as you wrote them?

2) Related to that, the first 7 books follow a consistent pattern (children moved to a new location, Olaf puts on a disguise and finds them, they get moved to new location), and then the 8th book onwards each book is a bit more unique. Was that the plan from the beginning, or were you originally planning each book to follow that pattern and then decide to mix things up later on?


DanielHandler2154 karma

Hello. 1. As with a dead body on the sidewalk, I had an outline for A Series of Unfortunate Events, but only a few clues with which to proceed. 2. The idea was that the books would become more and more complicated, in form and in content. You know, like life.

halfassdude953 karma

If you reply to this worthless post does that mean we're still total strangers?

DanielHandler2077 karma

Well, I prefer my acquaintances fully-assed.

uberlad941 karma

What's your very best life advice?

DanielHandler3159 karma

One hears it a lot on airplanes: "Make sure you have your own mask on, before helping others with theirs."

DunkRyder925 karma

What's your opinion of the film? How did you feel about the whole thing during development, after release and how do you feel about it now?

DanielHandler2045 karma

"I have nothing to announce at this time."

paisley1885 karma

I didn't realize this was a sad occasion.

DanielHandler1221 karma

Have you been good to your mother?

ajlposh859 karma

You are one of my childhood heroes! What time period/geographic location is the series supposed to take place in?

DanielHandler2283 karma

A Series of Unfortunate Events takes place in the city and regions surrounding it, during the week and sometimes on weekends. All The Wrong Questions takes place earlier, in a smaller town. I do hope this clears things up.

SycamoreSoldier734 karma

I know this is a strange request, but given your incredible power with wordplay I you implore this:

What are a few clever names for a band? They can be related to your works or generated off the top of your head. Thank you for your time.

DanielHandler1476 karma

I've had the name Walking Pneumonia in my head for years, but have had no appropriate band, so I pass it on to you. Remember me when you get huge.

thejpn728 karma

When I was in 5th grade I sent you an email telling you how much I enjoyed your books and received a generic form letter response. I crushed my little 5th grade heart. I have managed to get over it somewhat but still want to tell you that I still greatly enjoy your books.

DanielHandler1518 karma

It does break my heart that I cannot answer all of my mail myself, but I'm glad we've both managed to get over this heartbreak.

Kknowsbest660 karma

What is the best advice ever given to you?

DanielHandler1625 karma

"Turn around. Leave while there's still time."

johncahill619 karma

Do you have "nothing to announce at this time" because,

  1. There is honestly nothing to announce, because nothing is set in stone and the earth could be hit by a meteor tomorrow.

  2. There are juicy, relevant details that you have been sworn to secrecy by both business and secret organizations by signing your hand on a non-disclosure agreement.

  3. There is nothing to announce because life is miserable and why get people's hopes up?


DanielHandler871 karma

2, and a little of 3.

Maddie_N579 karma

Because it's April Fool's Day, what's your favorite prank you've been a victim of?

DanielHandler1299 karma

When I was in college, the newspaper announced that Salman Rushdie and Cat Stevens would be lecturing together, and I'm sad to say I believed it wholeheartedly.

Maddie_N565 karma

How did you come up with some of the strange and morbid ideas in your stories? I adored them as a child and I still have the complete Series of Unfortunate Events collection on my bookcase.

DanielHandler1293 karma

One cannot wander the world, and its bookcases, without seeing strange and morbid things. I simply wrote some of them down.

hbrunelle24551 karma

What is your favorite breakfast cereal?

DanielHandler1535 karma

Do you mean "breakfast serial?" I do enjoy reading P.G. Wodehouse's Jeeves books with my double espresso.

PterodactylTaylor535 karma

I’m planing to visit San Francisco, do you have any off-the-beaten path suggestions for when I’m there? I’m so excited to be in the city that was part of your brilliant novel Adverbs. You captured San Francisco’s spirit really well and I’d love to see some of the places that inspired you.

DanielHandler1687 karma

If you are not frightened of the cold, head over to the Dolphin Club and ring the bell. Wait for awhile. Eventually someone will open the door and you will put a small amount of money into an envelope and sign a piece of paper saying you understand you are about to do something foolish. Then, go change into your bathing suit and swim in the Bay. It is very cold but you will see many beautiful things, including old ships, which you may touch, and sea lions, which you may not. A good thing to do while waiting for someone to answer the door is read a new book you have picked up at Green Apple, Booksmith, City Lights or any other of my town's amazing bookstores. If you see me in the water, I do not need rescuing although it might look like it.

daniel_decrissio528 karma

Do Lemony and Daniel ever have fights inside your head?

DanielHandler1116 karma

They are usually fighting, not with each other but with rightwing ideologues and various irritating people who, like myself and Mr. Snicket, often pop into my head.

thelonelinessherself368 karma

Hi! Can you please tell me what were your favourite books in different stages of your life: as a child, as a teenager and as an adult?

DanielHandler689 karma

My favorite books are like an unruly crowd in my head, pushing themselves up to the front and then drifting off to a far corner. But when I was a child I very much enjoyed The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily; when I was a teenager I liked very much Clock Without Hands; nowadays I find it difficult to discover a book that's better than The Black Brook.

SpeedBeatz332 karma

Ahoy! Any announcements at all about an alleged acting-based adaptation of your already authored autobiographical anthology? Also thanks for writing some of the most entertaining books I’ve ever had the pleasure to read.

DanielHandler697 karma

Have you ever managed to corner someone who clearly had vital and perhaps exciting information but who only told you they had nothing to announce at this time? "I have nothing to announce at this time."

NumerousTacos297 karma

I love the Series of Unfortunate Events. How do you suppose that children/teen books with such dark subject matter are so well received?

DanielHandler685 karma

It is more interesting when something dreadful might happen, particularly in a book, when it likely will not happen to you.

8bitNaner252 karma

Dear Mister Handler,

Although I have met you twice already up in San Francisco, there are so many things I've been too nervous to say. So, through the anonymity of the internet, I would just like to thank you for teaching children of any skill level that they can read no matter what any nasty teacher has told them previously. You will always hold a dear place in my heart because of that, thank you. I only dream of inspiring kids that way when I'm older.

Now, for actual questions: What got you into writing children's literature and do you prefer that audience compared to your more 'adult' writing?

DanielHandler795 karma

I fell into children's literature as into quicksand, after an editor suggested that, after the Basic Eight, I write something not just about young people but for them. I refused, and continued work on my mock-gothic novel which eventually became A Series of Unfortunate Events. You never love a book the way you love a book when you are ten. It is an honor to be in that sacred space in some children's brains.

ChuckEye234 karma

How long have you played accordion, and can you point me to any specific recordings you've played on that you're particularly fond of?

DanielHandler424 karma

Marred only by my own accordion playing, the 6ths' Hyacinths and Thistles is one of my favorite albums in the world, although it is very difficult to say out loud.

PterodactylTaylor200 karma

So this sounds kind of schizophrenic but have you ever had the experience of of having the “writer” part of you break off to observe the response that the rest of you is feeling? I’m curious about your perceptions as a writer. I’d also like to say that you’re my favorite literary hero and your work has been a big inspiration on my own writing! Thank you so much.

DanielHandler359 karma

I am very flattered by your heroic remarks and somewhat puzzled by your other ones. I must think about them longer.

PterodactylTaylor192 karma

If the Beatles never broke up which modern band would you like to see collaborating with them?

DanielHandler983 karma

If they never broke up, and wandered the Earth, two living musicians and two corpses? What a terrible thought.

belleslettres186 karma

I started reading the Lemony Snicket books when they were first published, and somewhere along the line, I discovered Adverbs, The Basic Eight, and your other adult works. (In fact, you signed a copy of Adverbs for me in Brooklyn a few months ago. Thanks for that!)

Although I've been enjoying All the Wrong Questions, I'm curious if there's been any major progress on new Daniel Handler titles--whether it's the "one about pirates" that was mentioned in interviews several years ago or anything else. Obviously the writing, editing, and publishing process takes a lot of time, and I'm sure All the Wrong Questions is keeping you busy. I'm just quite figuratively dying to know what's ahead.

DanielHandler403 karma

My long-awaited pirate novel - long-awaited by me, anyway, although it is nice to know I'm not entirely alone - will be published in the Spring of 2015. It is titled We Are Pirates.

schizophrenicmuffin186 karma

How exactly in the name of all sanity did you develop your writing style? Also, book recommendations, please.

DanielHandler461 karma

One does not develop a writing style in the name of all sanity - quite the opposite. One develops a writing style by studying, imitating and rejecting the styles of writers one admires. It is not a sane thing to do, but it beats working.

As for book recommendations, in April I read only poetry and invite all bookish souls to stop me. Let's start with Matthew Zapruder's new book, shall we? He's so very good.

CrazyContender176 karma

Mr. Handler, what did you have for dinner last night?

DanielHandler509 karma

Last night I had the pleasure of dining with Piper Kerman, an old pal, before she took the stage to speak movingly and righteously about prison. I had grilled Yellow Jack with tomatillo salsa and braised greens, along with a Bulleitt Manhattan and a handful of Ms. Kerman's fries.

johncahill172 karma

Are there any funny/tragic/hilariously tragic instances in your novels going through translation? I am about to buy ASOUE in Italian, and was just wondering.

DanielHandler667 karma

It turns out that the phrases "Volunteer Fire Department" and "Very Fancy Doilies" don't have the same initials in every language. Who knew?

Waddles77157 karma

I've got many pressing questions, but here's one that comes to mind: Does the new book fall into the same universe as ASOUE? Peace!

DanielHandler348 karma

If you think the universe of A Series of Unfortunate Events is "peace," you might read a little more closely. But File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents is part of the world of All The Wrong Questions and A Series of Unfortunate Events both. I myself would not call it peaceful.

Frajer154 karma

How did you become involved with the Magnetic Fields?

DanielHandler276 karma

I had been a longtime fan of Mr. Merritt's music for quite some time and had spent many an hour dreaming of collaboration, when by coincidence I met someone who knew someone who knew him. "He writes songs every day at the same diner," I was told, and so I went there and sat down at his table and introduced myself. He saw I was reading a Henry James novel. We began to talk and are still talking.

darktask61 karma

Which Henry James novel?

DanielHandler131 karma

"The Spoils of Poynton," if memory serves.

InMyBrokenChair153 karma

Would you be open to a new, better movie (or series of movies) based on A Series Of Unfortunate Events?

DanielHandler683 karma

"I have nothing to announce at this time," the author repeated, wishing he could say something else.

Biopharmer115 karma

When you're on the run and suchlike, what essential items do you pack?

DanielHandler374 karma

Poetry and water. The rest you can pick up elsewhere.

667_Dark_Avenue114 karma

The Duchess wants to know:

  1. Is anyone in ATWQ going to die?

  2. What is standing behind you? Ha! April Fools.

  3. What happened to Elington's mother?

  4. If there's nothing out there, what was that noise?

From the archives of 667 Dark Avenue

DanielHandler359 karma

  1. Everyone dies, my dear, in books and in life.
  2. Well, hello, Ms. Fools. May I offer you a gimlet?
  3. She had a baby. That's how people become mothers.
  4. I could be wrong, but it sounds like someone has put on Shostakovich, in order to answer questions on the Internet. No, wait, it's Destoyer.

theinkblotwriter109 karma

Mister Handler,

I'm aware that occasionally when you publish a book that there is a tour posted (I believe the current Tumblr for ATWQ has kept up to date about the last two books and you previously had the first tour up on, but there are many events that you do throughout the states (and many more up here in Northern California that you do - mostly speeches and colleges and some signings) that you'd be lucky to stumble across when you weren't looking for them.

Do you have any sort of website keeping track of ALL of your signings/events or at least a main one we can keep an eye on for that sort of information? Thank you kindly, sir.

DanielHandler497 karma

I apologize for my skittish and unreliable Internet presence. I should do better at it, but that would mean cutting into my time lying on the floor listening to sad music, and it seems a shame to cut that short. I also continue to have trouble getting used to the idea that anyone is actually interested in my goings-on.

Neverpunchelves97 karma

Hello Mr. Snicket, huge fan. I was just wondering if you have ever listened to the Welcome to Night Vale podcast? I enjoy both it and your writing style as they are similar in many characteristics.

DanielHandler138 karma

As I have no commute and cannot write while other people are talking, I'm very behind on my podcasts.

heyaniston96 karma

Would you consider yourself a fan of Stephen King? If so, what's your favorite novel of his?

DanielHandler357 karma

I am proud to say that Mr. King and I once shared the same stalker, which was almost as chilling as Salem's Lot.

MrBubbles00789 karma

Why was there never a sequel to the first movie? I enjoyed it quite a bit

DanielHandler294 karma

"I have nothing to announce at this time."

ljbm86 karma

Thank you for your books (& accordion!) You were very responsible for my interest in Russian literature and French poetry, among other things. I keep finding new connections to things you referenced, so you have the appearance of being everywhere... stalker. But I ask:

  1. When you started writing, it was difficult to convince someone to publish your work. I'm assuming this is no longer a problem. How has this affected your writing?

  2. Does Otto get personalized stories and songs? Are they gloomy and dower, or you you give him the cheerful rejects?

  3. You write books for all ages, and movies, and play the accordion, AND sung in a choir, but can you dance?

DanielHandler223 karma

  1. Oddly, the freedom to write what one wants without fear of financial and logistical disaster is more liberating than words can express.

  2. What I try to give my son is shelter from the public eye until he chooses to attract it himself. But our household is stuffed with literature and music, much of it self-created.

  3. Put Prince on, and find out for yourself.

mrshatnertoyou83 karma

I heard you were in the chorus growing up. Do you still sing and if so what genres?

DanielHandler335 karma

I spent quite a few years of my youth as a boy soprano in the San Francisco Boys Chorus, and my college days in an a cappella group, long before Glee made such a thing generally acceptable. Nowadays I sing in the genre of "while songs are playing on the stereo and I am cooking."

DayseD76 karma

do you think people from your high school are still bitter because of The Basic Eight?

DanielHandler326 karma

Some of them are, yes. But you shouldn't do terrible things, and if you do terrible things, don't do them in front of a writer. They will be written down.

heyaniston75 karma

Hello, Mr. Handler! I am an aspiring writer, and I hope to one day be as accomplished as you. What is the best advice that has been given to you that you would share with a fellow writer?

DanielHandler207 karma

"Reread, reread, reread the things you like."

alex_squeezebox64 karma

Hello Mr. Handler! I am a great fan of your style of writing. The Series of Unfortunate Events was one of my favorite series growing up! I wanted to ask you not about writing though but about your accordion playing. I absolutely adore playing accordion too, especially Klezmer music and French musettes. What are some of your favorite pieces to play on accordion? How did you get started playing it, and what inspired you to use it in your presentations?

DanielHandler134 karma

I started playing the accordion in college, after years of piano lessons. I wanted to be in a band, and during a strange, brief window in American pop music history, no keyboard instruments were cool. The nice thing about playing the accordion is that it is a gypsy instrument, and thus can suit virtually any style, although my heart is in klezmer and other sad, minor songs.

kaecoops34 karma

Hello I just wanted to say (like most of the people on here) that your books are the reason that I'm now so passionate about reading. They were the first things that pulled me completely out of my world whenever I read them, which up until then I had no idea books could do. So thank you for that.

My question is who is your biggest literary inspiration?

DanielHandler68 karma

My biggest inspiration remains Sun Ra, although "literary" might not be the best word.

667_Dark_Avenue13 karma

Sophie can't wait to learn:

-What was your favourite childhood book?

-What do you think of the plays of William Shakespeare?

From the archives of 667 Dark Avenue

DanielHandler29 karma

  1. The Hapless Child was one of them.
  2. In favor.

ScrabbleDudesGF6 karma


As a nanny and future teacher, I have read my fair share of your books. A favorite around here is "The Dark" illustrated by Jon Klassen. The two of you teaming up was a bit of a dream come true for me. I love your work, but most of the kids I watch are a bit young for most of your work. Your books span a wide range of ages. Which age range is your favorite to write for and why?

Thank you for taking time for this AMA. I cannot wait to read it all. Well, honestly, probably not all of it...

DanielHandler14 karma

Mr. Klassen has been a swell collaborator, and he and I were just recently sitting together on a strange balcony cooking something else up.

flamingoboots6 karma

Dear Mr. Snicket,

I saw you do a book signing once for nearly five hours, and you still seemed completely sane by the end (though to be fair you sang a lot of "Strange Weather" during our conversation). Do you have a particular method for keeping up your stamina at book signings?

P.S. I just started The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily. I love it so much. I think I remember hearing that you pushed really hard for the reprint. If that's true, thank you so much!

DanielHandler18 karma

Thank you for waiting all that time, and for reminding me of a song I love. Frankly, the dedication of people willing to stand in long lines sustains me as I sit at a table at the front of them, although caffeine helps too.

I did indeed push for the restoration of The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily into print, and even dragged an American publisher into an Italian bookstore to prove it could be done.

Nahmida5 karma

Do you know the Myers Briggs Personality Test? If so what Personality Type are you?

DanielHandler49 karma

Like many artists I was once subject to intensive psychological prodding and concluded that I'd rather construct my own narratives than pay to have them constructed around me.

DayseD4 karma

what's the most frustrating part of the whole business?

DanielHandler13 karma

"The whole business?" The most frustrating part of the whole business is the whole business, isn't it?

cwiis3 karma

as cliche of a response as this is, i'm a huge fan and your books helped define my adolescence so thanks for that

as for a question, do you have any tips for writing?

DanielHandler15 karma

Write down things that interest you. It does not matter what they are. It matters that they interest you and that you are writing them down. In this way you are participating in the history of literature. Other people will likely not be very interested. Pay them no mind.

cowboyjohnsontime1 karma

During the writing of which of your books did you have the most sex? How?

DanielHandler5 karma

I reserve sex for my leisure hours, almost exclusively. "How?" With Ms. Lisa Brown.