The other night I heard what sounded like someone throwing a pot roast against the front glass doors.  I looked out and saw AAAAA!  A TWO POUND TOAD!  AAAAA!  I didn’t know toads came in that size.  He didn’t like his picture taken and hopped away.

But he comes back every night. I put the light on and the front screen fills up with moths, beetles, praying mantises and sofugids (eight-legged hunters that run like the wind).  Toady (a Sonoran Desert Toad) sits at the bottom and feeds.  When I turn out the light he goes under our car.   Harold has to leave a lamp there at night to keep the pack rats from shredding the engine.  They climb up inside, chew off the insulation, gnaw through plastic tubes and collect things they can pry loose.  The light, so far, has kept them out.  It hasn’t discouraged the chipmunks.  They don’t do damage, but they like to store seeds in the motor.  Once, when we first arrived, I went to sleep with a bowl of popcorm by the bed.  I finished the popcorn in the morning, but was surprised to find no unpopped kernels at the bottom.  I found them later, hidden under a cashmere sweater in an open suitcase.  The chipmunk had stashed them there, and that meant that she had to make at least ten trips across the bed, burrow into the popcorn, fill her cheek pounches and scamper off to the suitcase.  And I had been eating chipmunk flavored popcorn.

Now some comments on the your letters:  I’m writing the Scorpion sequel as fast as I can, but it’s going to take a while.  This is a long book.  I’m going to put the eBook of Do You Know Me and The Ear, the Eye and the Arm on Kindle.  Harold is busy scanning them and I’m looking for an illustrator.  I’m also talking to someone about making a graphic novel of The Ear, the Eye and the Arm.  So far, no one wants to turn my books into movies.

I like Thorgil and Jack, too, but unless I make back the advance on Silver Apples and Islands of the Blessed, the publisher won’t touch a sequel.  However, the whole world of publishing is changing.  People can publish their own books now.  They can put eBooks on the web without risking much money.  This situation makes publishers very, very nervous, but I like it.

I’m afraid most of my books are in the control of the publisher and I can’t give permission for people to write plays based on them.  This is especially true of The House of the Scorpion.  I will fight to keep control of future books.  J. K. Rowling did it, but she’s a lot more powerful than I am.

I’m afraid I can’t answer people personally (unless it’s an emergency) or help with homework or read essays.  There simply isn’t time.  I’m sorry.  My eyesight is poor and I have to conserve it.  But I really do appreciate and enjoy reading your letters and will give general answers.


Steven King’s second book, Danse Macabre, is an excellent book for learning how to build suspense.  He was widely criticized at the time for daring to tell people how to write when he’d only published one thing.  Nuts to that.  He already was an expert.  See if you can order it second hand or find it in a library.  It may be out of print.  One of his rules is to wait as long as you can before revealing a monster.  When the characters in a movie hear scratching noises on the door and one of them goes to open it and there’s a 30 foot cockroach on the other side, the audience screams.  But a second later they’re relieved because they thought there was a 300 foot cockroach outside.  The point is, no matter how awful the thing is, your imagination makes it worse.  The longer you put off opening the door – or show a peek at a claw-tipped foot or hear heavy breathing – the better the suspense.  Steven King explains it better.

The other thing I learned from him was to read a novel I really liked three times in succession.  The first time you are swept away by the plot, the second time you begin to see how the magic is done.  By the third time you memorize the pattern of the novel on a deep level.  It’s done subconsciously.  I compare it to practicing on a musical instrument.

9/5/2011 12:45:12 pm

After finishing The House Of The Scorpion recenty, I've become a HUGE fan! It was so compelling & beautifully written I'm not ashamed to say a thirty something year old woman considers a YA novel to be one of my all time favorite books now. I'm excited to delve into your other works, particularily The Ear, The Eye And The Arm. When will the ebook version be availabe?

9/9/2011 03:22:23 pm

Hello miss i have been a fan since i read the book when i was 14, i have a extreme love for the House of The Scorpion and im excited your making a sequel, and also im now 17 and i always thought it would be the greatest thing to see this as a movie because while im reading it. I can see the scenes clearly. Thank you ever since i read this book my outlook on life has changed

9/14/2011 05:00:22 am

I just picked up "Sea of Trolls" in the library the other day, and picked it up this morning to read the first page, and a chapter later had to practically fling it away so I could get to work before I was late! So thank you ... I think .. :)

Looking forward to browsing your web site.

9/14/2011 11:13:06 am

Ive just finished "The House of The Scorpion" and I was so in love with this book i read almost 20 chapters today, just to finish it. Also what will happen to Opium now that the main two drug lords are dead?

9/15/2011 10:37:41 am

I read House of the Scorpion at least 15 times. Now I'm reading it again for a book report I have to do in school. I chose it because it is my ALL TIME favorite book. We have to write why we think the author wrote it and what was happening at that time that inspired the author. Also we have to find similes and metaphors and all this stuff. I'm very excited. So if anyone wants to help me, feel free :D

And write the sequel :D

9/21/2011 04:34:54 pm

I am loving the photos you have been taking lately. The HUGE insects are so fascinating and terrifying! I don't know how I would feel about sharing my popcorn with a chipmunk, because I am very possessive of my popcorn. I wonder if it ever feels as though you're jostling for space with all these creatures who are also just trying to get on with life. Thank you and I hope you continue to write here.

charlie bone
9/22/2011 07:01:12 am

Chipmunk-flavored popcorn? Must be a new brand. Toady seems to be the only new neighbor who has manners. Pack-rats must be the greasers of the neighborhood. Bed bugs have taken over our beds at my house, and they're new mattresses too. maybe I should become a pest control specialist.

9/25/2011 01:38:56 am

Nancy I can't tell you how much I love the house of the scorpion. I "read" it when I was in jr. High and really liked it even though I only read enough to get a passing grade on a book report. I decided to do the book justice and actually read it and I have read it 3 times in a row. This is a perfect story and I would really love for someone to make a movie of this. You really deserve it for working so hard and writing such an interesting novel. When I seen that you were writing sequel I have been on edge waiting to hear any news and I find myself shocked about this because I am not the book reading type and could have never imagined loving a story as much as the exciting life you dreamed up Matt. Thank you very much

10/4/2011 09:47:39 am

The house of the scorpion is a phonominal book. Though at first I was doubtfull about it as I thought that it was a horror novel, once I picked it up I was washed away into the lives of Matt, Celia, Maria and many more I am not going to list. I loved the plotline of the story, the multiple themes and fantastic character development. I was enthralled by your description and after reading the whole thing in one sitting, found myself pondering the many ideas you portray about cloning. it is made all the more real as we have already foung the way to clone rats,dogs, cats, cattle, sheep and many more. Hopefully those that are cloning animals will read your novel before considering cloning humans. I can not express how much I enjoyed this novel and i am thrilled that you are writing a sequel. Sorry this is so long, I can't help myself.

Alex Iglesias
10/4/2011 10:01:44 am

Dear Mrs. Farmer,
Hi. My name is Alex I am a fifth grader in Tampa, FL. I have read your entire trolls trilogy in a matter of weeks. I love them so much I want to read them over again.
To my point. I actually want to speak to you about the trilogy part. The books are so amazing I have fallen in love with every character there is. It is not without loose ends though. What is the greater purpose Jack serves? Why does Jack get St. Columba’s staff and robe? What becomes of Lucy in Elfland? What of Hazel? What is Jack’s relationship with Pega and Thorgil? Does Ragranok Happen while Jack is alive(Don’t make that happen please. please don’t make that happen)? My main question is will you please make another book to continue Jack’s story? Because you left it wide open I feel like if there is no closure.
Please reply.
P.S. I could help with ideas for the book. After school work though!

Amanda Touchton
10/13/2011 09:36:26 pm

I just wanted to let you know what a wonderful book The House of the Scorpion is! All I can say is WOW! It is one of those books that hangs on your heart for a few days. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful talent. I just read that there is a sequel in the works and I am very excited!

Harry Bickford
10/19/2011 02:34:14 am

Hi,I just was wondering if you could email me so I can ask you questions about The land of the Silver Apples. I've read The Sea of Trolls and The house of the scorpion. You are my Favorite author so if you can respond with an Email that would be great!!!!

10/19/2011 10:16:52 am

I'm a 7th grader living in a small town in NY. I have read the trolls trilogies twice now. I love every word on every book, except one. On the front cover of 'The Islands of the Blessed', on the bottom in rather small text, there is a sentence that includes "Conclusion". Up until then, i was completely content with the series. I have also read through the Q&As and you said that you couldn't really get a sequel published if the first book didn't go so well. At this point i'm ready to advertise The Islands just to get another book. Even if you couldn't get a new book out, i'd REALLY like if you could write me a small epilogue tying up some of the loose ends left in the book. That would be highly appreciated
Other than that, i absolutely love the characters, plot and setting of the series. Thorgil is a strong character with a very interesting story. I think that the inner struggle between life and death for her (Yggdrasil and Odin) is very interesting. Jack is also very interesting, how he's struggling with responsibility and maturity. The Bard is a very mysterious character, and for better or for worse, who knows?
You really deserve more acknowledgement than you get. Thank you for reading this, and may the life force hold you in the hollow of its hand :)

Joey McCannon
10/24/2011 07:14:18 am

Well. Before I get into my ranting on your books, i feel the obligation to share a little about yours truly.
I am currently fourteen, in love with your books, and struggling to write my own story based on the works of Rick Riordan (just for fun). That should cover it. Ha-ha.
But on to business;
I absolutely love the books you have produced, especially the tales of Jack Gilesson (as I have picked up saying from the works of Paolini). The series has a flowing ease, with both producing in-depth characters and weaving in history of a time that sadly has been largely forgotten. It's true is it not? This time period, after the influx of Roman culture and Christianity and before the rise of Powerful monarchs of the time of the crusades. These two time periods seem to eclispe the sad little time when Druids and saints walked down the road together and Romans were fading. The series interests me very much also as it brings in my all time favorite warriors of time, The Vikings. These mysterious warriors that occasionally lose their grip of sanity and flee to madness are some of my all time favorites from the tombs of time. In fact i once started a small little novel based on the Norse culture where the gods themselves have been vanquished from Asgard by trolls (with the help,of course, of my favorite mythological beast, Nidhogg the dragon that slowly devours the great tree of life.) This small little ten thousand word begining is inspired by your novels in fact.
And laying aside the Trolls series for a moment, My sister introduced me to the fascinating world of The House of the scorpion, which is also a favorite of mine and held my "Place of Honor" on my bookshelf for two weeks. Ha-ha.
I'm aspiring to be a writer you see, and writing and drawing out my stories are some of my favortie pasttimes.
And as i noticed somewhere on the Q&A's you haven't had enough success with Islands of the blessed to produce a sequel honestly i am currently combing online for an affordable set of the series. 'Cuz my school librarian keeps reminding me that other kids might like to read your series too, and that i have already read them all four times, give some one else a chance too. OPPs.
Thank you, Mrs. Farmer
May the life force hold you in the hollow of its hand. And God bless you.
Joseph D. McCannon -~^~-

Jazmine A.
10/28/2011 02:21:00 pm

Ha ha. Just last Wednesday I was desperate for a decent book to read after a full 20 minutes of searching in the library. Finally, I ended up going, "The House of the Scorpion. Sounds good, let's go." I expected some cliche book (picked that up from the word "scorpion" in the title), but it completely mauled any expectations I may have had. I'd go as far as to say it's my favorite book ever, and I'm not even quite done with it yet. I don't think I've ever read a book this fast either (something like two thirds of it in two days, which is a lot compared to my usual pace). Anyway, so as I was reading, beyond the gears that were happily turning as I was piecing together every gorgeously written part, I was thinking simply, "Dang, this is a good book." Then I quickly realized, "Good book = good author." I've been mildly obsessed with the quality of authors of the books I've read lately. Oh yeah, by the way, I'm 14, a freshman girl from a small school and I would really like to be an author when I grow up. So anyway, my realization that you're an amazing writer led my curiosity to want to learn more about you. To google! Soon I was brought here, to this site. I don't know exactly what is possessing me to write a little wall of text to you, although I'm fairly certain you read most of them, I don't really know what I expect to come out of this. Well, would you look at that; I'm beginning to ramble. Alright, anyway, I suppose I just wanted to tell you that I think you're a fantastic writer, that you've in a way inspired me (not quite sure how..), your writing style is flabbergasting, I really like it, and thanks for writing such an intriguing book and I hope to read much more from you.
Wait, I forgot some stuff I just wanted to throw out there:
1. Please don't turn The House of the Scorpion into a movie! I know that sounds so weird coming from a teenager, but I just know that attempting at turning such an awesome book into a motion picture would fail, and I don't want to see that. When I was reading the book, I already had an astoundingly vivid image in my head. It was much better than anything a camera could duplicate.
2. I just about crapped my pants when I heard you're working on a sequel. WORK FASTER! Just kidding, don't work faster, then you might hurry and produce something low quality and we mustn't have that.
3. I know how stupid and unrelated this whole thing probably sounded, especially considering how many other people most likely tell you similar things daily, but oh well, if you took the time to read this whole (and possibly boring) thing, I really appreciate it. It'd just make me feel all awesome and stuff knowing that one of my favorite authors read something I had to say.

Wendy R.
11/3/2011 03:16:54 am

Hi Ms. Farmer, my 6th grade students write a snail mail letter to our favorite authors. One student would like to write to you! Is there any chance you would write back and if so, what is your address? In this day of technology, we know it's a longshot!

11/16/2011 10:23:26 am

I saw you can't email so I thought I'd tell you how BIG of a fan my teacher and I are of The House Of The Scorpion, she knows the characters like the back of her hand! Can I write you a letter and request something for my teacher? And when do you anticipate the completion of your new book, both my teacher and I are so excited! We can't wait!
Best Wishes from,

11/23/2011 09:16:58 pm

i'm your absalout biggest fan
my name is maya and i'm almost 11, i live in amman, jordan. sometimes at my school, ACS, we have guest athers, and i thought maby it would be awesome if you were a guest auther at my school. i REALY HOPE YUO REAPLY.

Jeongran Nam
11/26/2011 09:09:45 pm

My dear author Nancy Farmer,
I am a 18-year-old Korean girl who really loves your novel.
I wanna send you an e-mail.
May I have your e-mail address?

Janice Kohl
12/2/2011 06:08:18 am

I liked House of the Scorpion and didn't really expect to. :))

Janice Kohl
12/2/2011 06:11:35 am

See above comment ... Just so you know I liked House of Scorpion and I am 54 years old.

1/20/2012 04:52:24 am

I read The House Of The Scorpion in 7th grade as a required reading. I had no intention to actually sit down and read it but when i finally had to i feel completely in love with the book. I am now a senior in high school and actually just ordered the book online and read it within one day. I have never felt so much emotion in reading a book especially since i am not one to EVER like to read. Your book completely moved me to tears and really made me feel like i was there right with Matt and could feel everything as he felt. I was so ecstatic to find out you were writing a sequel and was wondering when it would be coming out? I also wanted to say that you are definitively my favorite author now and I have gotten many of my friends to read this book, and I look forward to reading your others. Also to say thank you so much for writing a sequel haha it really made my day when I read that you were going to:]
Best wishes

Juan Cervantes
2/4/2012 03:35:11 pm

This book was amazing I started reading it when I was in high school but I couldn't finish it that was in 07...I bought it last month and I just finished it last night and now I can't wait for the sequel...give us a hint of when it might come out...please!!!!!!

4/16/2013 04:09:46 pm

I admire you very much! Thank you for letting us read what was once just an idea in your head :D! I even dragged my parents to book stores just to buy your books. I am currently in 7th grade, and the first book I've read from you was The House of the Scorpion when I was in 5th. Ever since that day, I went crazy! I reallyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy cannot wait for the sequel to The House of the Scorpion. I also like Sea of Trolls and The Ear, the Eye and the Arm. I am in love with how you write. Totally, super friggin awesome. I look forward to buying alllllllllllllllll your published books!!!!!!!!! I so can't wait for September 3 for the sequel, because my birthday is in September, and you know what that means! THE SEQUEL IS MY BIRTHDAY PRESENT <3333 (House of the Scorpion)

Sofia, again...
4/16/2013 04:12:27 pm


7/28/2013 10:11:19 pm

Hello Nancy, I am a big fan of your books. I really like the themes on which you write about. The way you put down the words is like making me understand what you really mean with those words. Thanks a lot for sharing this page. I am looking forward to more posts from you.

10/27/2013 04:42:32 am

Found this from the Weebly directory, great blog.


Leave a Reply.