Who is Louis Sachar?
I was born in East Meadow, New York on March 20, 1954 and lived there until third grade. When I was nine years old, we moved to Tustin California. I enjoyed school and was a good student, but it wasn't until high school that I really became an avid reader. After high school, I attended Antioch College in Ohio. My father died during my first semester, and I returned to California to be near my mother. During that time, I had a short but surprisingly successful career as a Fuller Brush man. For those of you too young to know what that is, I went door-to-door selling cleaning products.
I returned to college, this time to the University of California at Berkeley where I majored in Economics. On campus one day, I saw the unlikely sight of an elementary school girl handing out flyers. I took one from her. It said: "Help. We need teachers aides at our school. Earn three units of credit." I thought it over and decided it was a pretty good deal. College credits, no homework, no term papers, no tests, all I had to do was help out in a second/third grade class at Hillside Elementary School. Besides helping out in a classroom, I also became the Noontime Supervisor, or "Louis the Yard Teacher" as I was known to the kids. It became my favorite college class, and a life changing experience.
When I graduated in 1976 I decided to try to write a children's book, which eventually became Sideways Stories From Wayside School. All the kids at Wayside School were based on the kids I knew at Hillside.
It took me about nine months to write the book. I wrote in the evenings. In the daytime I had a job at a sweater warehouse in Connecticut. After about a year, I was fired (my enthusiasm for sweaters was insufficient), and I decided to go to law school. Sideways Stories from Wayside School was accepted by a publisher during my first week at Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco.
I finished law school, graduating in 1980, passed the bar exam (which was required to practice law) and then did part-time legal work as I continued to write children's books. It wasn't until 1989 that my books began selling well enough that I was finally able to stop practicing law and devote myself fully to writing. I write every morning, usually for no more than two hours a day. I never talk about a book until it is finished.