Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events contains just enough disheartening warnings—and mature undertones—to give the best-selling children's series crossover appeal. The author, one Daniel Handler, is both merciless and empathic toward the Baudelaire orphans, for whom no caregiver is too nefarious and no reversal of fortune too operatic.
KP: Your characters have interesting names—Klaus, Violet, Sunny Baudelaire. Do you think a name influences a child's self-image?
DH: Certainly. All of the details influence you; you just never know what will turn into a profound detail.
You have a 1-year-old named Otto.
It's a palindrome. We want our child to know himself inside and out.
Do people predict that your books will change now that you're a father?
For [years] people have said that, as if not having a child somehow made me completely indifferent to the process of child rearing. I certainly haven't said, "I can't believe I was putting fictional children in dire circumstances. What was I thinking?"