At the end of my school visit programs, I leave about 10 minutes for Q & A. Students ask me where I get my ideas, how I became a writer, what inspires me, how old I was when I published my first book, which of the books I've written is my favorite. The usual stuff.
Sometimes they ask questions that make their teachers uncomfortable. They ask how old I am and how much money I make. I tell them my age without hesitation. After all they're just trying to figure out what kind of future might be possible for them. My income varies a lot from year to year. And even if I gave them a number, it wouldn't mean much to them because they don't understand how much things like a mortgage and food cost. I do tell them that for some books I get a lump sum up front (work for hire). And for some books, I get a small amount up front and a few cents for each book that sells (royalties).
If they aren't satisfied with my answer. They ask if I live in a mansion or what kind of car I drive. Those questions are easy to answer--no (I often have a picture of my 1,200 sq. ft. ranch to show them) and a Toyota Corolla.
Another question they ask a lot is: "Are you famous?" I hate this question because I never know what to say. I usually say that fame just means that someone is "known", so now that I've met them, they are famous to me and I am famous to them.
This answer does NOT satisfy them.
So I'm still working on an answer.
But I will tell you this. For just an instant, as I pulled into Pollard School in New Hampshire and saw this sign with my name in big letters, I thought maybe I should just give curious kids a simple answer: YES!