Markus Zusak
by: Rochelle Waldroop

The book I'm reading is one of Markus Zusak's novels, I Am the Messenger. He has written 5 books so far, The Underdog(1999), Fighting Ruben Wolfe(2000), Getting the Girl(2003), I Am the Messenger(2002), and The Book Thief(2005), and is now working on another book called Bridge of Clay(2011). He was born in Sydney, Australia on June 23, 1973 to Austrian and German immigrant parents. Zusak studied teaching at a university and had experience teaching at high school level. While working on his books, he teaches part-time in Sydney. In his spare time, he likes to surf. With that, I have made a FAQ page about his novels and how he became a writer.

When did he start writing?

At first, Zusak wanted to be a painter just like his father. Many times he went to work with his father and he seemed to fail and mess up a lot. He would knock over the paint cans and, somehow, paint himself into corners. He realized that he wasn't very good at this job and thought it was boring. While he was a teen, he read books that brought him into their worlds and thought: This is what I want to do (“Markus Zusak”, Random House).

How old was he when he wrote his first book?

Zusak's first published his book called The Underdog. He started to write it around 16. Seven years later, when he was 23, The Underdog was finally published (“Markus Zusak”, Wikipedia). During those seven years, Markus says he made countless failures trying to write the book. He realized his writing was just not good enough, so he made himself improve to become a great writer today, which in my opinion, I think he is (“Markus Zusak”, Random House).

What types of books does he write?

A shelf full of books is all Zusak needs to get inspired. Books that he loved and loves, like The Old Man and the Sea and What's eating Gilbert Grape. He also hears stories from his mother about where she was born in Germany near a concentration camp (“Biography of Markus Zusak”). From these books and stories, most of them are young adult fictions, but Zusak thinks it becomes irrelevant to know if the books are young adult or adult. He is trying to aim for people to say "I loved your book", not "I loved your YA(young adult) science fiction comedy" (Ball).

Does he follow a set routine when he writes?

Routines are good to follow when you are trying to accomplish something. Zusak has two different routines that he follows. One is what he calls the non-lazy routine, and the other is the lazy routine. With the non-lazy one, he gets up at 7am and tries to get finished with work around 11:30, 12, or 12:30ish, with wasting time in between. After that, he takes a long break and does a few more hours of writing. The lazy routine is a little different. He starts his day at 10am and will write past the afternoon into night time (“Markus Zusak”, Random House).
These times will change when he starts a books or is finishing one. If he is starting a book, he doesn't like to do it in the mornings. He feels that his self-belief levels are the lowest in the mornings. When he finishes a book, he usually stays up until he is done, and that could be past midnight (“Markus Zusak”, Random House)!




Ball, Magdalena. "Interview with Markus Zusak." The Compulsive Reader. Magdalena Ball, 2001. Web. 30 Apr 2010. <http://www.compulsivereader.com/html/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=1273>.

"Biography of Markus Zusak." GradeSaver. Gradesaver LLC., 1999. Web. 16 Apr 2010. <http://www.gradesaver.com/author/markus-zusak/>.

"Markus Zusak." Random House. RandomHouse Inc., 2009. Web. 19 Apr 2010. <http://www.randomhouse.com/fetures/markuszusak/author.html>

"Markus Zusak." Scolastic. Scholastic Inc., 1996. Web. 28 Apr 2010. <http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/contributor.jsp?id=2403>.

"Markus Zusak." Wikipedia. Wikipedia Foundation, Inc., 18 Apr 2010. Web. 20 Apr 2010. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Markus_Zusak>.