“I think about my audience when I write, to some extent. Thinking of writing for young adults, I try to keep the stories moving, never a dull moment, to hold their interest.” – William Sleator
Born on this date in 1945, William Warner Sleator III wrote science fiction for young adults and children. Per his comment above, his highly entertaining books typically follow a “rapid fire” style – a technique that most young readers love but critics sometimes blasted. Despite that, most critics (and readers) love his stylish, often darkly comic prose and deliciously strange characters.
Working in a genre that straddled fantasy, science fiction, horror and suspense, Sleator (pronounced “Slater”) wrote more than 30 books before his sudden – and as yet unexplained – death in Thailand in 2011. Born in Maryland and raised in Missouri, he was the son of a scientist and a doctor. Sleator often liked to intertwine elements of theoretical science into his works, pitting his young heroes and heroines against some sort of peculiar phenomenon in the process.
Due to the suspenseful and often eerie nature of some of his books, Sleator has sometimes been compared to young-adult horror writer R. L. Stine, who once said he was a fan of Sleator’s work. One of 4 children, Sleator also liked the theme of family relationships and close friendships in his writing. “My stories,” he wrote, “develop from both things I read and from my own experiences; and the experiences of people I know.”
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