Handler is married to Lisa Brown, who is a graphic artist he met at the University, and he lives in an old Victorian house in San Francisco. His father Louis Handler is an accountant, and his mother is retired City College of San Francisco dean Sandra Handler. He also has a younger sister, Rebecca Handler. Handler has one son named Otto, who was born around Halloween 2003.
Handler is politically active and helped form LitPAC, a political action committee formed to assist liberal candidates.
Watch Your Mouth, his second novel, was actually completed before The Basic Eight was published. It follows a more operatic theme, complete with stage directions and various acts. Described by HarperCollins, the book's reprint publisher, as an "incest opera," it mixed Jewish mythology with modern sexuality. Watch Your Mouth's second half replaces the opera trope with the form of a 12-step recovery, linguistically undergone by the protagonist.
His most recent effort under his own name is Adverbs, a series of short stories that he says are "about love." It was published in April 2006.
Handler has stated that his next adult novel is about pirates - or, more specifically, a modern-age pirate who "wants to be an old-fashioned kind of pirate".
Handler has also appeared at author appearances as "Lemony Snicket's handler," as well as appearing as Snicket himself in various other books and media, including the commentary track for the film version of his books, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. He also wrote an introduction to Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography under his own name.
The Lemony Snicket books have been international bestsellers, and the 13th and final instalment of the series came out Friday, October 13, 2006. On the day the thirteenth book came out, Handler appeared on the Today show as Lemony Snicket's representative.
Daniel Handler sings a sorrowful tune.
Handler is an accomplished musician, having played accordion on various recordings as well as worked on an unfinished musical with The Magnetic Fields singer and songwriter Stephin Merritt.
He was in two bands following college, The Edith Head Trio and Tzamboni, neither of which had any noted success. He has also played accordion in the Merritt project The Gothic Archies, which have provided music for the audiobooks in the Series of Unfortunate Events.
Handler also contributed accordion to a number of tracks in the Magnetic Fields project 69 Love Songs. In the box set of the project, Handler provides a lengthy interview with Merritt about the project, as well as conversations about the songs.
Handler was involved in the screenwriting process for the film version of A Series of Unfortunate Events, but was ultimately removed from the project. He had completed eight separate drafts of the film before giving up following a change in those who were producing the film. Robert Gordon (screenwriter of Galaxy Quest) was hired to replace Handler and eventually received credit for the film's screenplay, and Handler has noted his pleasure with the film.
Handler did submit a commentary track for the DVD version of the Lemony Snicket film, alongside director Brad Silberling. In character as Snicket, he derides the Snicket in the film - played by Jude Law - as an imposter, as well as choosing to play accordion and sing about leeches rather than pay attention to the film. He also made several interesting comments about the film which include the company Nickelodeon, "being on another planet, I see" when he saw the planets in the Nickelodeon Movies title, as well as being "frightened by the sudden appearance of an eye" when Aunt Josephine looks through her front door's eye hole. At numerous times during the track he comments on the horrible things that are happening to the poor children, and implies that he is being held captive by the director in order to do the commentary.
List of works
- The Basic Eight St. Martin's Press/HarperCollins (1998)
- Watch Your Mouth St. Martin's Press/HarperCollins (2000)
- How to Dress for Every Occasion, by the Pope (with illustrations by Sarah "Pinkie" Bennett, pseudonym for Lisa Brown) McSweeney's (2005)
- Adverbs HarperCollins (2006)
- A Series of Unfortunate Events (as Lemony Snicket) HarperCollins (1999 to 2006)
- Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can't Avoid (as Lemony Snicket)
As editor or contributor:
- Nonsense Novels by Stephen Leacock (Introduction) New York Review of Books Classics (2004)
- Rick (2003)
- Kill the Poor (2006)
- 69 Love Songs - The Magnetic Fields
- The 6ths.
- The Tragic Treasury - The Gothic Archies
Handler has also written some other books and short fiction under the Lemony Snicket name.
The name Lemony Snicket ostensibly came from research for Handler's first book, The Basic Eight. Handler wanted to receive material from organizations he found "offensive or funny", but did not want to use his real name, and invented "Lemony Snicket" as a pseudonym. He would also use the name to write prank letters to newspapers, pretending to be outraged at a trivial news item. When writing A Series of Unfortunate Events, he and his editor decided the books should be published under the narrator's name, rather than his.
Biography of character
Like the Baudelaire children, Snicket came from a family of three children. His brother Jacques and sister Kit were also V.F.D. members and friends of the Baudelaire parents. Both Jacques and Kit appear as supporting characters in the Series of Unfortunate Events books. He also knew Count Olaf in his early life, as the two attended school together.
In his youth, Lemony Snicket attended a V.F.D.-run boarding school with several other characters from the series. He received later tuition at a V.F.D. headquarters in the Mortmain Mountains, and was employed at newspaper The Daily Punctilio after graduating.
During his early life, after meeting at school, Snicket conducted an ill-fated romance with an actress and V.F.D. member named Beatrice, revealed at the end of the series to be the mother of series protagonists Violet, Klaus, and Sunny. Lemony and Beatrice were engaged to be married, but Beatrice broke off the engagement for unclear reasons (although the series heavily implies that she believed Lemony to be responsible for crimes committed by Count Olaf) and returned her ring to Lemony, along with a two-hundred page book explaining why the two could not be wed. She eventually married another man, Bertrand, and finally suffered a tragic death in the fire that destroyed the Baudelaires' mansion. Snicket frequently alludes to Beatrice in his narration and dedicates each Series of Unfortunate Events book to her. Certain dedications, however, may refer to Beatrice Snicket, his niece whose mother, Kit Snicket, died.