A Scholastic Book Clubs Exclusive Interview
by Alana Pedalino
Share this exclusive Ron Roy interview with your students and discover his inspiration for the A to Z Mysteries and which character he relates to the most.
An award-winning author. A creative case cracker. A master maker of mysteries. Of course we are talking about Ron Roy, the creator of A to Z Mysteries: The Absent Author.
Fortunately for us, this author is not absent—he is very much here and even answered some of his readers’ most burning questions!
Read the interview below with your class to discover how Ron creates his clever book titles, how teachers inspired him while growing up, and some mystery books he loves to read.
Where did you get your title ideas for the series?
Ron Roy: The first manuscript to be seen by an editor was The Bald Bandit. It became the second book in the series. While writing it, I came up with the idea for The Absent Author, which became the first book in the series.
Being a reader, I was intrigued by the idea that an author could go missing on his or her way to a book signing. From that starting point, I let my imagination take over. By the time I finished the book, I was in love with the format and with my three young detectives. This led to other ideas for new books featuring the same characters.
An editor came up with the idea of doing a whole series based on the alphabet. It took nine years to write the 26 books.
What are some alternative titles that didn’t make the cut?
Ron Roy: For this book (The Absent Author) there never was an alternative title. But other books in the series have had titles tried on, and then off. The original title for the book that became The Bald Bandit was Dink and the Dimpled Detective.
The XX book in particular went through some agony before I settled on The X’ed-Out X-Ray. The JJ book title came to me from a friend who was in the hospital. Bored, she flipped through a dictionary, then sent me The Jaguar’s Jewel as a title.
How did your favorite teachers inspire you when you were growing up?
Ron Roy: I dedicated one of my early books to my fifth grade teacher, Ben Hancock. He was a smart, funny, inspiring guy, and to my young mind, a perfect human being. He would regularly bring a bunch of us kids into his home and family for cookies and conversation. His wife and kids became like a second family.
Probably unformed until many years later, the idea emerged that I wanted to grow up to be similarly important to children.
What about your favorite authors and mysteries?
Ron Roy: I read a lot in the mystery/detective genre. A few of my favs: Elizabeth George, Dick Francis, Martha Grimes, all three Kellermans [Jonathan, Faye, and Jesse], and P. D. James. Those are all modern. Before them, I enjoyed the writings of Dorothy L. Sayers, Agatha Christie, and Robert Barnard. I have to stop—there are at least a dozen more I could list.
Which character do you relate to the most in The Absent Author and why?
Ron Roy: I relate to Dink. He is quieter, more of a thinker, and has a big heart for his friends. I want to be like Dink when I grow up!
Do you have any A to Z Mysteries lovers in your life? Share this interview with them on social media and use the hashtag #ScholasticBookClubs!
Ron Roy is the author of dozens of books, including the popular A to Z Mysteries, Calendar Mysteries, and Capital Mysteries series. When not working on a new book, Ron likes to teach tricks to his dog Pal, play poker with friends, travel, and read thrilling mystery books.
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