The kids LOVE to know about authors before they visit. It adds so much to a school or library visit so a half-dozen questions and answers are shared below. Special thanks to Diane Nelson a teacher and librarian at the Mark Delay School for originally proposing these questions prior to a fantastic school visit.
What is your favorite food?
Patrick: I love french fries, but know they are not the healthiest food. So I try very hard not to eat them more than once a week. I like to exercise regularly, because then french fries and all foods taste even better, and I feel better. I think my next favorite food is onions. Really, I eat onions in just about anything — in eggs, salads and sandwiches, with grilled vegetables, and sometimes even raw. It’s kind of weird, I know! Sometimes I have a craving for a hot dog or hamburger and I think it is just because I can put ketchup, mustard, and ONIONS on top and eat them!
Do you have any pets?
Patrick: I don’t have any pets, and it seemed as though every time I was about to get a dog, friends asked me house sit their dog(s) for a week, and that cured me. Not that I don’t love dogs or pets in general, but I just didn’t want to have to walk a dog first every morning, before I even had a shower. Plus, I like to travel on short notice. Growing-up the only pets we had were fish or hamsters, so I don’t miss having a dog or cat. I enjoy playing with other people’s pets, dogs especially. Cats are okay too, but I have a mild allergy to cats so have to be careful and wash my hands after playing with cats. Otherwise, if will touch my face or neck and I breakout in a mild rash that lasts for several hours, and that is annoying.
Why do you like bridges so much?
Patrick: I think bridges are cool. There is a beauty and strength to bridges AND the idea of a bridge is so powerful. Here are these structures that allow us to walk through the air over water or deep valleys. If there were no such things as a bridge imagine having to scramble down and swim or take a boat across a river or lake and scramble up the other bank. However, with a bridge people can cross over all kinds of obstacles over and over again easily and efficiently. So bridges are a very powerful, useful, and very cool! Bridges (both natural and man-made) have probably been around for millions of years, and yet even the simplest of bridges are still used today.
What sport do you play?
Patrick: My main sport now is racing sailboats, mostly here on Lake Michigan, but other places too. However from a very young age I have always enjoyed playing sports. Several times a week I exercise either going to the gym, swimming, or bicycling to stay fit. I really enjoy the competition and have made many friends participating in sports. I miss playing soccer most as I twisted a knee many years ago and can’t play and more. In Middle School I ran track. In High School I wrestled and played soccer. During college I played intramural basketball, football, soccer, and broomball. After college I continued playing soccer and the started sailing. I have also done triathlons, raced bicycles, run 5Ks, and have enjoyed snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, whitewater rafting, scuba diving, and even pine tree climbing. I like most any activity to get outside and play.
What is a favorite memory of when you were young?
Patrick: That is a tough question because I was very lucky to have a great childhood. I also experienced a living in several different places being born in Bloomington, Indiana and at two-weeks old we moved to Normal, Illinois. Then at age 7-1/2 we then moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas, and when I was 10-years old we moved to Youngstown, Ohio were I did most of my growing up. So I have a lot of fond memories of all those places and experiences. I live in Chicago and now can’t imagine calling anywhere else home.
Tell us something silly about yourself – the kids LOVE that kind of thing.
Patrick: Well I’ve already told you how I love onions, but I guess that is just kind of weird and not very silly. In general, I like to be silly and funny, and enjoy kidding around with people, especially if they are also funny and clever. I did take improv classes for a whole year just for fun and some of the things we did (like make up silly noises to pass an imaginary ball around in a circle) were very silly indeed. I can be very serious and there is a time and place for being serious and for being silly. It is fun to make people laugh, and a good way to get to know people, make friends, and find lasting friendships. Sometimes it is hard to resist being silly, because life is often completely silly!