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Mahlen Morris sent in this comment.
From: Mahlen Morris
Date: 2007 Dec 17
Subj: A Series of Unfortunate Events at Lowell
I never went to Lowell or read The Basic Eight, but an interesting side note to this novel; based on the strength of the characterizations in The Basic Eight, Daniel Handler's agent (I believe) suggested he try his hand at writing children's fiction. He thought it was a terrible idea, but lacking any other success at the time, he wrote a short book that was pretty much the opposite of any of the children's books he disliked as a child. He also decided to use a pen name so that this wouldn't be associated with his serious fiction career. The name he choose was "Lemony Snicket", the book was "A Series of Unfortunate Events", and the rest is history.