EAGLEHAWK NECK, Tasmania — By the time Matt Zurbo plopped on the couch to write his 282nd children’s book, he’d worked all day at an oyster farm, laughed with his daughter on the beach, gone for a swim in the frigid waves and cooked a vegetarian feast.

It was just after 10 p.m., and his eyes were drooping. But not for long. Assisted by whiskey and a Venezuelan ballad, he finished , Twitter and Instagram, sign up for our newsletter or our literary calendar. And listen to us on the Book Review podcast.

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