Stephan Pastis Is What He Wanted To Be

What did you want to do when you grew up?

I was asked that question by a teacher when I was in the fifth grade. I had read the “Peanuts” 25th anniversary book (“Peanuts Jubilee”), which I’m looking at right now, and so I said, “A syndicated cartoonist.” I knew what I wanted to do.

In anticipation of his virtual Northwest Passages Book Club forum appearance Stephan Pastis is interviewed by the Spokane Spokesman-Review.

What advice did Schulz have for you?

He told me that narrators never work for comic strips. That experience of meeting him was incredible, but it was so nerve-racking. I have so much respect for Charles Schulz.

But how about Bil Keane? You parodied the creator of “Family Circus” a few times. That hits home since he’s an alum of the high school I attended.

That’s right. He’s from Philly. The dirty secret is that we were actually friends. He had a great sense of humor. When I joked around about “Family Circus,” he couldn’t have been nicer about the whole thing. I got to meet him, and he was just a great guy.

How much of an impact did “Dilbert” have on your career?

I owe my whole career to (“Dilbert” creator) Scott Adams. My strip (“Pearls Before Swine”) debuted online in 2001. Scott Adams said he was reading the strip, and he liked it. His endorsement meant so much to me. When he endorsed me, I knew that it was the moment for me.

For thousands of laughs, and a few tears, read Pearls Before Swine.

Keep up-to-date with Stephan Pastis at his Facebook page.