The rules of our Five Questions interview series are simple: we send each of our guests a long list of questions. Some are serious; some are . . . not so serious. They choose their favorites and respond.

Our guest today is Jean Leroy, author of A Well-Mannered Young Wolf. Leroy lives in France, where he worked as a teacher for ten years before becoming a full-time writer in 2010. He has written dozens of children’s books, several of which have been published in multiple languages.

When we asked for a picture, this is what Jean Leroy sent us, with the caption below:

Rather than a picture, I usually give a portrait. It was drawn by my father. It looks like me very much!
Rather than a picture, I usually give a portrait. It was drawn by my father. It looks like me very much!

This is what Leroy actually looks like, as far as we can tell:

Jean Leroy (for real)
Jean Leroy (for real)

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1. How did your collaboration with illustrator Matthieu Maudet begin, and what’s your process for working together?

A Well-Mannered Young Wolf

I published my first book with Matthieu Maudet in 2008. Since then, our method for working together hasn’t changed: I send him my text arranged on facing pages; he sends me his comments; I revise the text; he sketches the illustrations and sends them to me; I comment on them; he revises his drawings; I make more modifications on the text; he makes more modifications on the images . . . until the project finally seems ready. A true literary ping-pong match—and one in which the number of exchanges can vary greatly depending on the project!

2. What are you reading right now?

The Complete Peanuts 1983-1984, by Charles Schulz.

3. What were your favorite books when you were a young reader?

Comic strips! You should never, never forbid children from reading them!

4. It’s two a.m. and you can’t sleep. What book do you reach for to while away the early morning hours?

The Lily of the Valley by Balzac.

5. What question should we have asked you (but didn’t)?

Are you proud that your book has crossed the Atlantic thanks to EBYR?

And my response: Yes, of course! And I only didn’t say it before because I’m very well-mannered!

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Read a starred review of A Well-Mannered Young Wolf from Publishers Weekly, and order the book at