I loved my time in Minnesota! I spent time in Valley Bookseller of Stillwater, MN, a bookstore with an aviary ...
... and another in The Bookcase of Wayzata, MN, overlooking Lake Minnetonka.
I even got a chance to debut my awesome Author Action Figure pose, at the Blake School in Minneapolis.
Unfortunately, we received a parking ticket from a roving Vesper enforcer, but we were able to get it revoked. Whew.
THANKS for all the responses to the blog post and to my video question. I'm amazed at the places you all come from – not only the U.S., but Australia, Brazil, the Philippines, New Zealand, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, etc. Wow!
OK, now to the Big Question I asked in my video post. Here’s my thoroughly unscientific tally of the places you would go to, if you could visit any of the places Dan and Amy have visited.
Drum roll ... the winners by country:
5 votes: Italy and Australia: (some of you mention specific places, like Rome  and Venice )
4 votes: France, England, and Egypt: (Paris mentioned 3 times, Cairo once, London once)
2 votes: Korea, the Czech Republic, the Caribbean (Bahamas mentioned once), Mount Everest, Switzerland (Basel mentioned once), Milwaukee, and Everywhere! (Also Greece, although Dan and Amy didn't go there).
1 vote: Japan, Germany, Russia (the Kremlin), China. Also Cahill Island (even though it doesn’t exist) and Antarctica (even though they didn’t go there) Have you ever wondered what a travel map of the original 39 Clues series looks like?
I promised I’d answer some of your questions, so here goes:
EmeraldMaze45: What do you do to get inspired when you get a writer's block?
Well, of course, I never get writer’s block. Well, okay, sometimes. All right, every day! I take a walk. I eat chocolate. I answer emails. I do errands. I eat more chocolate. But in the end, I sit back down and write. The only real way you can beat writer’s block is to stick yourself in a chair and not get up until you write something. Often I try to set a page goal — it may be one page or maybe as many as fourteen, but I try to stick to it.
SingingDolphin36: How many languages do U know?
I studied German and I grew in a Greek-speaking family. I am proud to say that my younger son is fluent in Chinese, and I hope to learn that someday.
VivaciousReader1: If you could meet ANY Cahill from the past, who would it be?
Ben Franklin, hands-down!
FightingAgent826: Which book did you like writing the most?
I think I liked writing The Dead of Night most, but that’s a tight one, because I enjoyed them all.
AgentWolf1179: What do you think about Roland smith writing the 4th book???
I think we’re incredibly lucky to get him! I can’t wait to read his book. He is one of the few 39 Clues authors I have not met in person, and I hope to do so...someday!
BlueSnake45: Do you ever find it hard to sit down and just focus on what you have to do? If so how do you get yourself to focus?
I have no trouble focusing, because I keep an impeccably neat office. I believe it’s important to have a calm environment with few distractions — as you can see here:
SteelBone2: How do you say Lerangis?
Here’s the best way to pronounce my name: http://peterlerangis.com/about-peter/how-to-pronounce-lerangis/
FireDragon113: How did the giraffe like Vespers Rising? Will we be seeing him on the Message board?
Giraffes tend to like books with the word “Rising” in the title. And how do you know it isn’t on the Message Board?
GeneralAssassin155: What is hardest part of writing the books?
Getting started, when there are a million different possibilities for where the story can go. Sometimes it takes days just to write that first page or two. It gets a lot easier as I build momentum.
SingingReading6: What are some inspirations you use when writing stories and what type of stories do YOU like to READ?
Both questions are deeply related — I get a lot of inspiration late at night, when I relax by reading other authors’ work. I am voracious with my reading — action/adventure, history, historical fiction, all kinds of novels, dramatic, humorous, old, new. I find good writers exhilarating to read, and often their sense of story will unlock a particular dilemma that I’m facing in mine.
BoatFighting2: When was your first book published?
In 1983 I published a book of puzzles and games. About ten years later, my son’s teacher used that book in class. That was cool.
AuthorBlue4: Which character do you like writing about the most? If you could be any character, who would it be?
I like writing Dan, but I’m partial to Amy, too. And both Rosenbloom brothers were fun, too. But I must confess, I have a soft spot for all the Kabras. And for dear Uncle Alistair too.
AquaWolf324: Mr. Lerangis, have you ever thought of making comic books for the 39 Clues?
No, and you wouldn’t want to read them. My art skills are way behind my writing skills.
AmberSpicy5: If you were going to be a car, what would you be? and why?
A Ford Model A, because people would stare at me in awe and would be careful not to drive me too fast.
ClassifiedPink2: How can I write to an author?
Most authors have contact info on their websites. That’s the best way. Or simply write to the author in care of his or her publisher.
DecipheringEnthusiastic5: How do you feel about writing a series with so many authors? I mean, don't you guys get confused now and then when it comes to introducing things or explaining something?
The secret: we never talk about the books amongst ourselves. We discuss the plots, changes, etc., with our editor only, and she makes sure all of us are informed about the discussion.I like it. We all do.
SpiritedRogue3: My mom and I think that it would be amazing if one of the authors (such as yourself) come to the military bases in Europe.
That would be fantastic, and an honor.Each of us has a link on our own websites that explain how to set up author visits.
MonkeyTiger2: Do you watch tv, read or go on the computer to get your ideas?
Yes, all three are great ways to get new ideas.
DragonAlliance49: What was your most favorite book you read as a kid?
Anything by Dr. Seuss and Jack London. Also, the Freddy the Pig series.
As for your writing samples, I have one word: Wow! What talent and originality you guys have.I am convinced we have the most creative and energetic fans around. I commented on the latest batch here: http://www.the39clues.com/messageboard/show/18112/4.
Keep writing! There will be another post soon, with a third writing prompt — from Chicago!
This message has been modified by the moderator May 15, 2012