RIF: You launched your first book series in the 1990s – while you were both busy television stars. What made you decide to start creating books?
Mary-Kate: The first book series was a companion to our Adventure videos. Since we were playing little detectives and solving 'crimes' in the videos, it made sense to turn them into little mystery books as well. The stories are now originals and not connected to any videos.
RIF: All of your series books are popular with kids and teens. (Two of a Kind and The New Adventures of Mary-Kate and Ashley are often bestsellers.) What is it about your stories that you think kids can relate to?
Ashley: I think kids can relate to the fact that they are fun and interesting and also grounded in reality. They can imagine themselves in the story with our characters.
RIF: What advice would you give to a kid who didn't like to read? Why do you think it's important for kids to read?
Mary-Kate: When we were growing up there was an ad campaign to encourage reading that had the theme 'reading is fundamental.' I think that sums it up very well. Reading well and comprehending what you read is crucial to success in every area of life. I think the main reason to read is because it is the best way to exercise your imagination.
RIF: Were books a part of your life when you were kids?
Ashley: Of course. We come from a large family so our parents would read to us separately and sometimes all together. Those are the stories you never forget.
RIF: What was your favorite book when you were little?
Ashley: The Mother Goose nursery rhymes and The Velveteen Rabbit were favorites!
RIF: If you could be any storybook character, who would you be and why?
Mary-Kate: There are too many to choose from to pick a favorite. Cinderella is a good one. She was totally underestimated by everyone, but it works out for her in the end. I think it’s the first girl power story. Timeless.
RIF: Since you're both so busy with your careers, how do you make time for reading?
Ashley: We have to read for school, of course. We spend a lot of time traveling, and being on a plane is a great place to catch up on our reading. Newspapers, magazines, books, whatever.
RIF: Your latest book, New York Minute, is based on your new movie. Are there any books that you think would make good movies?
Mary-Kate: I think almost any book could be made into a good movie. It just depends on who is directing!