Louis Sachar was born in East Medow, New York in 1954. His family moved to Southern California when he was nine and he attended college at the University of California at Berkeley. During his last year of college he received school credit for working at Hillside Elementary School, an experience that inspired him to write his first children's book, Sideways Stories from Wayside School. Many of the characters in the book are based on children that Sachar taught and the teacher is based on Sachar himself. Sideways Stories from Wayside School was published during Sachar's first year at Hastings College of Law in San Francisco. He did not know if he would be able to support himself by writing children's books, so he continued his legal education. He graduated from law school in 1980 and, after passing the bar exam, became a lawyer.
Sachar continued to write children's books even as he worked as a lawyer. After eight years of writing books and practicing the law part time, he decided to focus solely on his writing. He met his wife, Carla, while visiting the school she worked at as a visiting author. They married in 1985. Carla is a school counselor and served as the inspiration for the character of the counselor in one of Sachar's most popular books, There's a Boy in the Girl's Bathroom. In 1987, Sachar and his wife had a daughter named Sherre and they all currently live in Austin, Texas. Sherre was four years old at the time that Sachar began his popular Marvin Redpost series, and for this reason the character of Marvin has a four-year-old sister.
Holes is Sachar's most successful book and has won numerous awards, including the Newbery Medal, the National Book Award, and the Boston Globe- Horn Book Award. It was also listed as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a New York Times Book Review Notable Children's Book of the Year, and a Publisher's Weekly Best Book of the Year.
Although Sachar is never completely sure where the inspiration for his books comes from, his knowledge of the unbearably hot Texas summers did serve to set the scene for Camp Green Lake. Many of Sachar's books, including Holes, are about children who don't fit in or who have low self-esteem. Like these other books, the main character in Holes gains self-confidence by the end of the book and makes some friends in the process.
Sachar does not talk about his work before he finishes a book. He thinks that if he does not allow himself to talk about his books then he will be more motivated to write them down. He generally revises his work four or five times before sending it to the publisher, and after that he often revises it again. In addition to writing children's novels, Sachar enjoys skiing, playing guitar, chess, and cards. Some of his favorite children's authors are Katherine Patterson, Lois Lowry, and Walter Dean Myers.