On ten years as a professional writer …

Leave it to the fans to let me know that this week marks the official ten year anniversary of the publication of Sisters Grimm 1 and 2. It’s hard to believe that the life I now have started a decade ago. It has flown by like a rocket and as I sit here a million faces flash before my eyes – kids, teachers, librarians, book store owners, authors – all the amazing people who have popped into my life to offer support and encouragement. I’ve still got fan letters from those early days and still get a ton of them every week. I still have the Sisters Grimm buttons and the invisible ink spy pens for NERDS. Now I’ve got a house full of Undertow towels and beach balls. Everywhere I look I see evidence of a life completely altered by writing.

Book 1 cover
Early cover design by Peter Ferguson

Book 1 and 2 came out while I was on my honeymoon in Hawaii and my wife and I went to the store everyday to see if it was on the shelf at the Borders in Maui. There was a terrible storm and books are often shipped via boat so the delivery was late. It arrived on our last day and I’ll never forget that moment – seeing it face out in the kids section. I’ll never forget my first lunch with Susan Van Metre at the Blue Water Grill which I thought was so fancy. I’ll never forget meeting my publicist, Jason Wells, whose fresh face hid his experience and brilliant energy. All the places we went together – all the odd hotels and funny little stores and schools out in the middle of nowhere. We worked hard in those early days – I felt like I was on the road all the time.

Chapter Headers from Book 1
Chapter Headers from Book 1

I’ll never forget how Book 2 landed on the best seller list much to the surprise of a lot of folks. My father-in-law printed it out, circled it in red, and framed it for me as a Christmas present. It still sits on my book shelf. It might be one of my proudest moments.

My first Book Expo
My first Book Expo

First time I saw it on a shelf

Sisters Grimm, and later NERDS, and now Undertow have taken me all over the world. I’ve met the French publishers for lunch, seen a children’s theater performance of the first book in Prague with Czech-speaking actors, and I’ve presented the book in Beijing and Edinburgh. I’ve seen the foreign translations in stores in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, Lisbon, Portugal,ย and an airport bookshop in Honduras – and I’ve gotten fan mail from kids all over the world – in languages I don’t speak and can’t read – lol.

Kids at a school in 2006. Many of them have probably graduated from high school by now. ๐Ÿ™‚
The birthplace of the NERDS idea. The school hosted a character parade and this kid dressed as me instead of a fairy tale character. Last time I saw him he was nearly as tall as me.
The birthplace of the NERDS idea. The school hosted a character parade and this kid dressed as me instead of a fairy tale character. Last time I saw him he was nearly as tall as me.
The Yahoos attack the Dwarves in the NYC subway - by Peter Ferguson
The Yahoos attack the Dwarves in the NYC subway – by Peter Ferguson
A design from an artist before Peter Ferguson came on board. Sorry, I don't recall who did this.
A design from an artist before Peter Ferguson came on board. Sorry, I don’t recall who did this.
The original design for the Tales from the Hood cover by Peter Ferguson
The original design for the Tales from the Hood cover by Peter Ferguson

There were nine books in the series – always meant to be nine. It was hard to walk away from it. I felt safe in Ferryport Landing and I don’t think I’ve written anything since where I knew the characters as intimately as I know Sabrina and Daphne Grimm. The fandom never ceases to amaze me – the thousands of fan fiction stories that circulate online, the fan art, the creations of “Puckabrina.” I suspected girls would enjoy the books but I’ve come to understand that the boys who have been brave enough to read a book where the main characters are girls are even more rabid for it. Perhaps it’s Puck they identify with – or maybe, I hope, they see a couple of girls in a book that remind them of the real girls in their lives.

I'm embarrassed to admit I can't remember the artist but they sent this to me on a big sheet of metal - it's gorgeous!
I’m embarrassed to admit I can’t remember the artist but they sent this to me on a big sheet of metal – it’s gorgeous!

Sisters Grimm didn’t win a lot of awards – I was nominated for a feminist literature award once. That’s very cool. But I don’t think I’m the kind of writer that wins a lot of awards. What I do has always been for readers and not stuffy grown ups so I suppose the folks that give out medals don’t get it. But the kids always got it and their fan letters are all the awards I’ll ever need.

Two super talented friends - author/illustrator Peter Brown, and art director mastermind Chad Beckerman
Two super talented friends – author/illustrator Peter Brown, and art director mastermind Chad Beckerman
IMG_1781
Visiting with kids in Honolulu

Fan dressed as SabrinaFan dressed as Puck

There have a been a few disappointments of course – movies that never got made – and a mountain of rip offs – but they’re nothing compared to the joy this job has given me. It might be the anniversary of the series but in a lot of ways it’s the anniversary of the world finally telling me what I should be when I grow up (a bit late – but better late than never). So thank you all for my decade of happily ever after. If you hadn’t bought these books and passed them on to friends and family it wouldn’t have happened. All of these experiences have been gifts from you to me. I have loved and cherished each and every one.

For years people have asked me if I would ever write another Sisters Grimm book and the answer has always been no, but I have to admit I’m missing my girls. We’ll see. Until then, I’ve got a Hall of Wonders inside my mind and lots of little rooms to explore. ย Perhaps one day I’ll open one and find Sabrina and Daphne on the other side.

13 thoughts on “On ten years as a professional writer …

  1. My ten year old daughter has read all the Sister’s Grimm books as well as the N.E.R.D.S. books as well. She might try the Undertow series as she gets older, since she still isn’t into middle school realistic fiction right now, but I hope she will be soon! Your passion for good storytelling is very evident and respected by her!

  2. artist of the metallic print was David Walker…my husband who read each and every book aloud to our daughter in character voices to her delight each night ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Hi Kim!!!!!! I believe I met him and your daughter in person. I still have the piece and cherish it – easily the best fan art I ever received. I hope everyone is well.

  3. HI! I know you are rewriting the sisters grimm. When are those supposed to come out/ could u pleeeease put more puckbrina romance in? love them!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. What happened to the everafters who got stuck in charmings castle in the last book did they just stay there forever because I don’t think that would be good for the grimms

  5. I love the books aulthogh I only finished up up to book five. I want more Sabrina and puck moments like when they kiss.

    From your fan khushi Bhutra
    P.s. Please respond, it will make me very happy

  6. I really hope you make more sisters Grimm or mabey even do something with Emma and Alison that would be really great. I just finished the series and am ready for more!๐Ÿ˜€

  7. Hey Mr. Buckley, I have just finished reading the Sisters Grimm Series again and I was wondering, Would you ever have Briar Rose come back to live because she is my favorite character. She is described just like me but then she died and it made me sad. Also would absolutely love if there were more kiss moments with Uncle Jake and Briar Rose also with Sabrina and Puck!

    Your number 1 fan Cortney

    P.S. would you please answer me back it would really make me happy and I have been wanting to ask you this for a very long time! Thanks!

    P.P.S. Don’t listen to any of the people that hate your work they just don’t know what they are missing also just keep writing your books.

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