Monday, January 30, 2006
So after a week of emailing his agent, I managed to arrange the interview with one of the most popular fantasy writers for young adults. And here it is, for you all to see.
Q: Who or what was your biggest influence in deciding to become a writer after years of teaching? Have you been planning it since the day when you started writing plays, or did it come all of a sudden? Why did you become a writer?
I had been for a long time, since I was a boy. While the other kids were out playing sports or climbing trees, I was inside writing plays and drawing comics. It was always a hobby for me until I hit thirty and realised that I had not written the book I had always planned to eventually write. I was living in Africa at the time and so had inspiration going on all around me. These surroundings and my advancing years spurred me on to put fingers to keys and write Benny & Omar, my first book for young adults.
Q: Your Artemis Fowl books made you famous in a really short time. How, if did, it affected your family life?
There was very little effect on my relationships within the family. I have been married for fourteen years and I have had the same friends for over two decades, so things just continued on as normal there. Obviously financially, things are different now. I don't worry about money so much anymore, which is a great relief. But I did not go crazy, we still live in the same house and I don't drive a Ferrari.
Q: A lot of reviewers compare your Artemis Fowl series with Harry Potter. How do you feel being compared to the writer of the most popular series at the moment? Which writer's book of the present you enjoy reading the most?
I think the HP comparisons are inevitable. Harry is the most famous boy in the world no writer can escape the comparisons. Luckily I usually come off okay, so I am happy to be compared with the most successful series ever. At the moment I am back with the classics. I am stuck into A Scanner Darkly. Dick is still the boss.
Q: Is there significance to the fact that so many of your redeemed characters - Mulch, and Artemis himself - have an innate ability - or a marked inability - to recognize and produce the humorous moment? Mulch is extremely funny, Artemis is - well, he's funny, but it's not his natural MO. And not just these two - Meg, even Mona... Is humor the way to goodness?
Humor is a trademark of mine, everything from slapstick to sarcasm. I just can't help putting it in. I really tried with the Wish List to write a scary book- but as soon as an opportunity to clown around presented itself, i couldn't help taking it. And I do believe that a person with a sense of humor can't be all bad.
Q: Mulch, Belch... why do our professional thieves sound like after - lunch events? How do you think up the names – are some based on real characters from your life?.
I like to have fun with names. It is a great advantage of fantasy fiction that you can make up names that would not be acceptable in straight fiction. The name can be used to establish the characters, which I think 'Mulch' does quite nicely.
Q: How long will Artemis Fowl stay with us? Do you plan writing more books about this super hero, or will you write another series about the similar plot and characters?
I think Artemis will last for 6 books in total. When the end comes, I hope to have established a new series already, so that the transition will be painless.
Q: Seeing that nowadays a lot of movies are based on books, (Narnia, Harry Potter, LoTR… can we expect some of your works on the big screens? If yes, when?
Miramax/Disney have bought the rights to Artemis, so I hope they will start shooting sometime in 2006. So fingers crossed we will see the movie in 2007.
Q: When and where do you write? Do you have a writing routine, or do you write only when you have inspiration? How do you come up with your ideas?
I try to put in a full day of work every day. If inspiration is not striking, then I generally have a lot of editing to do. When I am finished that, I generally find that my brain has kicked into gear and I have some fresh ideas.
Q: Have you been thinking about working with some other authors? If yes, who with?
I am working with English Writer Andrew Donkin on a comic book adaptation of Artemis. I am very excited about this, as I have always been a big comic fan.
Q: The last question is the traditional question of the OF: If you owned monkeys, how many would you own, and what would you name them?
Ah yes, the monkey question. I was wondering when this would come up. If I had two monkeys, I would call them McCloud and Ramirez after two of the characters in Highlander, one of my favorite movies.
Thank you again for this interview you did for wotmania.com. We all wish you the best of luck with your work and look forward to reading your forthcoming books.