Sat, 10/13/2007 - 15:34 — kenneth.holm
James Moloney Interview
By: Kenneth Holm
Senior Staff Writer
My conversations with James Moloney began rather innocuously. I had just finished reading his novel Book of Lies and wanted to express my pleasure in reading it. Using the HarperCollins Author Web, I found his personal website. After tooling about for a bit, I found his e-mail address. I just wrote a simple e-mail saying how much I liked the book, I wanted to share it with other people, and that I was planning on writing a review for Dorkgasm. I was interested to see if he would like to read it. He replied thanking me for my interest and he would love to read the review. Then, though, the old brain started thinking. Could I get him to talk to Dorkgasm about his book? I wrote him and he replied quickly saying he absolutely would be happy to answer some questions. Well, some questions turned into seventeen questions, with another thirteen questions following up his previous answers. One clue on how cool this guy is most of the follow up questions were answered while he was at Internet cafes during his most recent school tour. This was, without a doubt, the most involved interview out of all of them I’ve done so far. His answers were so in depth that I have had to trim down his answers quite a bit in order to fit this into one article. Look for the WHOLE transcript to show up at a later date. For now, though, I give you James Moloney, best selling Australian author…
Okay, Jim. For everyone not in the know, could you please state your name, occupation, astrological sign and favorite ice cream flavor?
James Moloney, Writer (Books for the Young), Virgo, and Lemon Sorbet Gelato
Describe a typical day of work for you, if you would. Many authors have “little rituals” they do before they settle down for a day of hard writing. What’s yours?
I’m rather boring here, I’m afraid. I find that often it is simply time in front of the computer that gets the words written. I see my wife off to work, take my son to school and complete my share of the morning chores, all done by about 8:30 and then go down to a shed in my backyard, where I have a desk, computer, bookcase, filing cabinet and air conditioner (It can be quite sweltering in Brisbane in the summer). I work in bursts of one and a half to two hours, interspersing these with breaks for coffee, lunch, and the rest. I try to be disciplined, but sometime I’ll waste time answering e-mails that could be done in the evening. If I work hard through the morning and early afternoon, I’m often spent by about four. Some days I stay at my desk until six. I rarely write after dinner. (The last sentence has been omitted to protect the innocent author from his wife. Nothing bad, I promise, but he said not to tell his wife…)
Your first book in the series, Book Of Lies, is now available in the States, but I, like probably many before me, found it by accident. In the wake of the Harry Potter series ending, why is this book not being marketed more? Are you happy with the way HarperCollins is marketing it?
I’m not happy with HC’s marketing because they don’t seem to have done anything other than distribute the book. The Book Of Lies received some positive reviews in journals like Kirkus, but as far as I know, it has not been looked at by a large newspaper (True. I haven’t been able to find anything about it.). I have had some enthusiastic readers e-mail me through my website to say how much they enjoyed it, but apart from that the book seems to be sinking without a trace. Living in Australia, there’s nothing I can do
to promote it. Yes, I would have thought, in a post-Harry environment, publishers would do more to push a book that appeals to the same readers. I have a feeling that publishers are pumping out so many fantasy book that they are just sitting back to see which ones take off by themselves – after all, Harry Potter seemed to generate its own momentum to begin with.
In the FAQ section of your website, you explain where you came up with the idea for The Book Of Lies, which was listening to the radio about a court case where the jury had to decide which side was telling the truth. You said lie detectors have a tendency to make mistakes, so you came up with a magical lie detector. How did you decide to adapt it for a younger audience?
Naturally, I wasn’t going to write a modern day story about lie detectors and court cases – not for kids. Besides, there was the question of whether lie detectors can be completely trusted…On this occasion, I was…thinking of about a fantasy story and so the two came together – if my lie detector was created by magic, it would be infallible… But, then I thought, what if the magic became corrupted… The story plan changed direction to incorporate this and away we went.
Truth and deceitfulness are some very adult concepts for a book, and if they were handled wrong, it could have been a disaster. Yet, you crafted a story that makes readers young and old care and think about the characters. What went into boiling the story down for a younger audience?
The Book Of Lies was roughly the twentieth novel I have written for young people, although many of those twenty were much shorter. I’ve been (writing) now for two decades and for the second of those two decades, it has been my only job. Before that, I was a teacher and teacher-librarian for twenty-three years. I point this out as a way of explaining that I don’t have to think consciously about how to form stories for the young – it comes naturally for me. I sometimes use language that is too grown up for the readership in the first draft, particularly if I have been reading some fine adult writing in my leisure time. For a while, I was on a binge of John Irving, Ian McEwan, and Annie Proulx, all of whom I adore as writers and found myself borrowing some of their sentence structures which were too complicated for what I was writing at the time. I usually pick this up myself in the second draft and if I miss it, my editor soon sorts me out. As an unwritten rule, I find the essence of writing well for the young is to drive the plot along at a good pace, stay focused on a small number of main characters I care about myself, challenge kids and don’t be afraid they won’t understand something. I trusted kids to understand that language can be highly ambiguous because of the sophistication of the human mind and that this was a loophole in the magic that The Book Of Lies was exploiting.
The books in the “Book Of Lies” series are very cinematic in scope. Has there been any talk of any movies being adapted from them?
Only last week a maker of children's film and television programs contacted me about BoL. He was interested in one of my earlier novels but nothing ever came of it. I'll have to wait and see what comes of this.
Which other book was being looked at for a movie? I'd like to point people to this so we could possibly start a groundswell in interest both in this and the BoL series.
'Black Taxi'. There was talk of it being used as a vehicle for Lindsey Lohan but I don't know how far advanced that idea had gone. It is a very different genre from BoL, of course.
Harry Potter, like it or not, has changed the face of youth orientated fiction, probably forever. How do you think this will affect the landscape in the years to come? It is a good change or bad change? Is it harder to write youth fiction now that the success of HP has raised the bar? Do you feel any pressure to succumb to writing a novel that copies, more or less, the style to sell more books?
Yes, HP has changed the landscape for youth fiction. Firstly, I think it has brought more young readers into the fold and that can only be a great thing. Of course those readers will soon grow up, but I think JK Rowling's legacy will linger in the collective memory of how children can become so powerfully enthused by a special book or series and so teachers, librarians and parents in general will be eager to see this ground swell continue. She brought back the fun element to children's books too. I think kids books became a bit serious through the seventies and eighties in response to social break down seen in single parent families, drugs and rising crime rates, the aftermath of the Vietnam War, the failure of leftist social and political policies to bring about the Great Society so many hoped for. I have to admit that my books have been part of this, although I'm lightening up now. Perhaps I'm doing so because Harry has given me permission. That's an interesting thought.
The publishing landscape has been affected by Harry too. Publishers always did better out of their children's lists than they would ever admit and many used the profits from their children's books, either to prop up less commercial adult projects, or take a gamble on a new writer in the hope he/she would become a big seller in the future. That's certainly the case in Australia and to some extent England. Not so sure about the US where things are more ferociously commercial. What Harry has shown them however, is children's books can be the huge earners in their own right. That has given children's books long overdue respect and attention in certain quarters and I'm quietly pleased about that. However, the danger here is that publishers will get pre-occupied with unearthing the next Harry, instead of nurturing a range of new talent that collectively creates the rich array of literature for the young that society needs, (but doesn't make a lot of money). Most children's writer don't want to get rich, they want to see their books in the hands of children. Personally, I haven't felt any pressure from publishers or the marketplace to write like JK Rowling. If I have taken on fantasy as a genre, it was to get away from my serious self, have some fun and try a new challenge in my writing. In fact, the view among my colleagues is that you'd do yourself a huge disservice by trying to copy the Rowling mold. Having said that, I was recently shown some sales figure for BoL in Australia and they are pretty amazing considering the size of our market. While I have
novels that have sold more, they are the type taken up by schools for study and so sell 30 copies at a time, year after year to kids who aren't choosing them personally. BoL has achieved these sales without that educational element and purely because kids like it.
So there is something about fantasy.
The trend is changing now though. The new hot property is adventure stories. The king of this genre is Anthony Horowitz and his Alex Rider Books. I am definitely noticing many copycat series emerging to cash in on this, and I know that publishers are looking for such manuscripts. In many ways, this re-birth of the Boys Own Adventure concept was always going to come. Poor old Biggles was retired forty years ago on the grounds of political correctness. Alex Rider is Biggles by another name, without the dated story lines and racism. I have no intention of joining the trend. I have written adventure stories in some of my shorter and younger books. I enjoy it and I do it for myself and my readers, not to please publishers.
You credit "Harry Potter" in giving you "permission" to lighten up. Before he hit, though, you had focused on the more social issues you had mentioned. Do you think that children's fiction could be ready for more adult minded premises such as
"the failure of leftist social and political policies"? Kind of a "Communist Manifesto for kids"? Is this almost expecting too much of the reader?
No, no. I mentioned the political jargon in explaining why some writers tended towards social issues in their stories for the young. I think there should be less of in youth literature, not more. You can write gutsy, thought-provoking literature for adolescents without hunting for the social issue du jour.
Adventure stories are starting to boil rather than simmer now, as you pointed out, but some would argue they never went away. Alex Rider (who just had a somewhat successful movie debut here with "Stormbreaker") is still somewhat unknown here in the States, but how much does he owe to Ian Fleming's James Bond books? Is everything old suddenly becoming new, or am I just imagining things?
Yes, you are probably right about adventure stories never really going away. I still feel they were de-emphasized, certainly here in Oz and I blame this at least in part for the drop off in boys reading. Perhaps everything old is new again. Children's literature is prone to fashions and fads. Fantasy has been the big one lately but I feel it is starting to
die. Horowitz is taking the mantle from Rowling, although the Alex Rider film didn't make anything like the splash that Harry Potter did.
I believe that the Fleming family have engaged a couple of writers to continue the franchise, one being Charlie Higson to write about James Bond as a teenager.
I noticed that, being your first more widely known book in the US, there does seem to be an emphasis in our conversations in getting the word out. Success in America does appear to be tantamount to being a success worldwide. Harry Potter
could have been a blockbuster in England, but if it never reached America and inspired the furor that it did, do you think it would have gone differently? Would I be correct is thinking that authors abroad want to break in the US because we are such a media obsessed nation?
There probably wouldn't have been the commitment to seven films, and the merchandizing for HP, if America hadn't taken Harry to its heart. That is true. It's a
bit like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. They had to conquer the US to be considered a global phenomenon and earn the truly big bucks. Getting published in the USA is part of 'the dream' for Australian writers. Another dream is getting the call from Hollywood. It's not hard to see why, 20 millions Australians versus 300 millions Americans. We all get dollar signs in our eyes from time to time and when you understand how little financial return most writers receive, you can't really blame us.
However, like all dreams, it is an illusion and I am rapidly coming to understand this. A writer named Gary Crew, who has been something of a mentor, told me this years ago. His books were starting to get published in the US at the time and one was even short listed for the Edgar Allen Poe award. He told me that while the market is huge, so are the number of competing titles. The media is much more decentralized as well. Without a marketing push from the publishers, the sales simply wouldn't come. I understood this even better when I went to New York in 2005 and looked for my recently released novel 'Black Taxi.' Borders had only three copies on the island of Manhattan and when I found two copies in a quaint bookshop in Union Square, I had to climb a ladder to reach them and then fight with the tightly packed books which had it jammed in place, just so I could look at the cover. What teenager was going to find it? So if I have mentioned to you a
couple of times that I'd appreciate any help getting the word out, you'll understand it's like the drowning man grasping at whatever floats into reach. One of my Australian colleagues, Garth Nix, has managed to negotiate these difficulties and done very well with his fantasy stories Sabriel, Lireal and Abhorsen in the USA. I saw his books in airports while I was there. I understand he travels to the US twice and three times a year, mainly to keep his face in front of the editors and sales executives. He's a businessman as well as a writer and a natural charmer -good at self-promotion. I'm rather shy and awkward in those situations or maybe I am simply complacent in this regard because I do well enough in Australia to get by.
I'm sure that most children's writers are happy with getting their books in the hands of young readers, but how would someone ensure more than that? Is self-promotion, hand-shaking, and book signings that important to getting the printed
I'm not sure how things work in the USA. A colleague of mine has had a huge hit in the US with his novel 'The Book Thief' but that was because he appeared on Good Morning America. I understand his publishers greased a lot of palms to get that spot on
GMA and it paid off, because apparently on-line sales went ballistic in the 24 hours after his appearance. Mind you, it is an excellent book. Few authors will ever get that kind of backing for their work. One of the most effective ways to bring your novel to the attention of librarians and teachers is to win a Children's literature Award and this certainly helped me get established. My name became known and now almost everything I publish will be purchased by school and public libraries and the YA novels get closely looked at as possible books to study in class. And I have a few loyal fans not attached to schools or libraries who look for my books.
I speak a lot in schools but I do it because the schools pay a handsome fee to have me. It is a supplement to my royalties and an important part of my income. I doubt that school visits actually result in many kids doing down to their local bookstore and buying my book. This is especially so if you write serious, literary fiction. We have a few very popular authors of hilarious, irreverent and quirky stories who have managed to build a market by the hard slog of school visits and other promotional events – Andy Griffiths is the best known of these. Now that he has established his reputation, he doesn't do much of it at all. When I was in NY talking to Harper Collins, the sales manager confessed to me that a lot of their children's writers didn't make a living from their royalties and in fact it was the school speaking circuit that provided the money to keep them writing. Appearances in bookshops are not a big part of Australian book culture. It happens, and famous chefs, sportsmen and other celebrities attract good crowds, but on the few occasions when I've been talked into doing this, the attendance has been embarrassingly
small. I think the big hope is the Internet. With kids being so on-line savvy, this has to be the way to reach them. Some organizations are starting to understand this, but I don't think is has reached anything like its potential yet for getting the word out about good and fun books to read.
I can totally understand the eyes of dollar signs with any author, film director, or any artist for that matter. You said you would never compromise your writing for money, and I respect that. However, do you feel that this may be coming for
people? I know of an author who has thrown all personal respect aside and began writing in the style of J.K. Rowling. I think this is a sad travesty, but in what situation could
any author justify this?
I'm in a privileged position because I already make a modest living. Some of my colleagues are desperate to give up the day job and work simply as writers but can't do so unless they tap into the trends and fashions mentioned earlier. That is sad. In this regard, I remember James Mitchener’s wonderful book titled 'The Novel' - one of the last books he wrote. In it, a writer sticks to what he does best, writing heartfelt and beautifully written novels about the farming communities of Pennsylvania. He sells only a few thousand of his first title, tens of thousands of his second, hundreds of thousands for this third and
fourth. He managed to make it and retain his integrity. That should be the aim for all of us, I feel.
I, unlike many of your other US readers, have had the pleasure of reading the second book in the series, “The Master of the Books”. Last time we talked about this, there were not any plans to bring it out here as of yet. Has this changed at all?
Could HarperCollins be doing something incredibly stupid by publishing the first book in the series and deciding, due to sales figures, not to bring the second book out? While it is only the first book, many people I’ve had read it are hungry for more. Theoretically, how much time would it take for such a decision to be made? How can we at Dorkgasm help out?
I seriously doubt that HC in America is thinking of publishing 'Master of the Books.' Partly, this is so because my previous novel 'Black Taxi' did not do well. (By the way, HC New York wanted me to pick a pseudonym to use for BoL because bookshops often look at an author's previous sales performance when ordering copies and they felt the low sales of 'Black Taxi' would hold BoL back. I refused.) I fear there are other factors involved as well. BoL had a difficult gestation. After initially winning a deal for Australia, UK and USA, I started to receive conflicting editorial advice from Melbourne, London and New York. Instead of making the different editors get their heads together and then talk to me, I foolishly tried to re-write the book to meet all independent comments and after eighteen months had made a complete mess of it. At this point my agent stepped in and demanded that one editor be appointed for me to deal with. This was done, but even then there were problems. The editor (an Australian) quickly helped me draw the book back to where it had been, and then tried to take it in her own direction.
More time was chewed up as I fought this intrusion. The result was that while I first had a contract with HC USA in late 2002, the book didn't appear until April 2007. By then, I think HC had lost interest in the book and in me as a long-term prospect. The only thing that might turn this around is that by an entirely independent route, another of my novels,
'Lost Property,' has attracted the attention of a different editor at Harper Collins - one who has her own imprint and more influence in the company. I have no contract yet, but my agent is hopeful.
If this comes off, James Moloney might be back in the good books and HC USA might take MotB as well.
I can't even believe HC would try to force a pseudonym on you for BoL. Is this something that is done on a regular basis? How can the publishing industry even think of compromising someone's integrity this way?
I must admit that I was stunned and rather angry. My agent took care of making HC back down. What it brought home to me was the cutthroat nature of the publishing business in America.
Talking more about “The Master of the Books” now. I noticed that this book didn’t pull the same trick a lot of young adult series are with getting darker for no reason. When it does get a mite darker toward the end, I felt it was because it had to. What are your thoughts on this phenomenon? Are books getting progressively darker just because it’s the cool thing to do?
I find it difficult to comment. I haven't read past the second Harry Potter but I'm aware from the commentary that the stories became darker. I don't read a lot of other fantasy but I haven't noticed any gratuitous 'darkness' of theme or events in the ones I
have read. I have an inbuilt barometer about such things in my own writing that combines with the technique noted above of imagining that I am telling the story to someone from the target age group. When you see yourself talking aloud to a real person, it is difficult to go beyond a certain limit. You feel uncomfortable. You can see the distress, disengagement or incomprehension in the reader's mind. If I thought too consciously about it, I would lose that judgment.
Something else I really liked about “TMOTB” was the theme of accepting your responsibility and destiny. It also goes to say that this was also a sad book in a number of ways; involving people who lose loved ones. You have packed quite a bit of social commentary into this book, as well, with the class struggles involving the people of Cadell. It’s quite a lot to fit in and hope people get some message out of it, or is it? Did you create this book intentionally trying to make people think about the issues raised, or was it all in the name of good fiction?
No, not in this one. I deliberately put the class divide into the story - the pampered rich in the citadel and the poor masses outside the wall, but this was for the specific purpose of defining Osward's weakness and extravagance and allowing Demiter to forge a new direction to unite her people. There is no message here. I suppose this concept is supported by personal, egalitarian ideals, but I didn't put them in this story for any reason other than those stated above. The themes of accepting responsibility and destiny are definitely there. So some extent youth literature is about growth and development as a
person. It doesn't have to be worthy and certainly should preach, but it should contain the seeds of wisdom - as much as the author has been granted such wisdom. To me, good novels are a sophisticated form of human communication - a way of spreading ideas about humanity and so such themes are appropriate. There is a lot going on in MotB, but then I think there needs to be for a satisfying children's story, in order to keep the pace rattling along. I thought long and hard about Finn's fate. It is a crushing blow to Nicola, but I feel the audience is able to deal with it. I didn't want a sentimental recovery, particularly one perpetrated by Marcel. It also allowed me to have Marcel discover the limits of his powers. Magic is such an undefined thing, isn't it? It doesn't obey the physical laws of the real world; so where do you stop - I mean you don't want wizards as
all-powerful as a God? I also didn't want Nicola to have a fiancé at such a young age - with a view to a third book, as well. In fact, I still wonder whether some people are uncomfortable with a romance between a twenty-ish young man and a fifteen year old.
I understand your quandary about having a twenty-something being with a fifteen-year-old girl, as with Nicola and Finn, but are there other things you may have taken out because they would be difficult for other people to deal with?
Apart from poor writing, inconsistencies and the rest, the thing I'm most likely to take out of first drafts are themes and scenes which explore matters that young adults have no interest in, experience of, or are unlikely to understand. That is why I abandoned an early plot line in Master of the Books which saw Fergus chase Damon into a 'half-world' inhabited by Viking warriors who lived only to die in battle and then be re-born with the next sunrise, as in Norse myth. To stick with this story line would have asked young readers to bring too much already existing knowledge to their reading of the book.
Now, I know you’re writing a third and final book to the series right now. After it is all said and done, is there any possibility of revisiting the series in the future, or do you believe the tale of Nicola, Fergus, and Marcel, once told, is at an end?
Oh, three is definitely enough. In fact, I am struggling to find fertile ground in the lives of my three main protagonists - Marcel in particular, since he has been at the heart of the first two books. I am concentrating on Bea, bringing her back into the story and making her as important as Marcel. I think Marcel needs to reveal a few character flaws from which Bea might help to extricate him. Fergus still appeals to me but what I'm going to do with Nicola, I have no idea. Things are not progressing well and I've started
another short project to stop myself from worrying about it.
Well, since the third book is having a troubled start so far, is there any possibility of the third book being darker? I know Rowling wrote darker as her audience grew, and it looks to be a while before Book 3 will hit. I've broached the "darkness" subject before, but now, as "The Demonata" by Darren Shan is beginning to pick up more steam in America, this seems suddenly more relevant. "The Demonata" is some of the darkest writing I've ever laid eyes on, yet kids eat them up like candy-coated chocolates. Do you also feel that writing like this could be damaging to younger children?
That's a difficult one. I haven't read any of Darren's work, but I learned long ago that kids can and will read some pretty dark stuff- much darker than adults think they should. That doesn't mean that it is right that they do so and that adults are wrong to feel concerned, but it does call on us to continually assess where the fine line sits. Years ago I read John Marsden's 'So Much to Tell You' and it changed my view of how gritty a book for young adults should be. It certainly influenced by writing in books like 'Crossfire', 'Dougy' and 'A Bridge to Wiseman's Cove.' Honesty in dealing with young readers is a valuable, indeed vital quality. Without having read Darren's stuff I won’t comment on his books, but I do believe there is a line and there are some absolute parameters to all this. For example, I believe that some of the graphic novels now being hailed as the next big thing for YA, especially amongst boys, is in fact violent erotica and should be sold in sealed packets in sex shops, not available in school libraries. I base this view on the highly sexualized representation on female characters and the violent harm done to them in the stories, often clearly depicted. But I doubt this is what you are getting at. In the
end, my answer to this question is that writers must be very careful when presenting utterly hopeless situations to the young - scenarios in which the young protagonists have no choice and no chance of happiness, survival or redemption. The inexperienced in life can all too easily misjudge the conclusions presented. There is a difference between great tragedy and depressing fatalism. In Romeo and Juliet both lovers die, yet the audience leaves the theatre uplifted by the triumph of love. But badly handled, unrelieved darkness can send the young reader off to slash his/her wrists in hopelessness and despair.
I know a good deal of comic artists who enjoy fantasy novels. If I were to get someone interested in converting BoL and MotB to graphic novels, where would be the right place to start?
I would probably start with the creation, by Lord Alwyn, of the Book of Lies, when he was much younger and at the height of his powers. This would make an interesting prologue. Despite my comments above, I think these books would make good graphic novels, but I would insist that the artwork should respect the female characters and not employ them for cheap titillation.
In America, many books and films are having prequels done in the form of comic books. Would you be open to a comic book adaptation of your books? Also, do you think there might be a prequel story to be made from the series?
I can see BoL and MotB as graphic novels. I'm not keen on a prequel, when you consider the massive twist that has to be fresh and surprising for readers in BoL. If I try my hand at fantasy again, it will need to be in a different world, with new characters.
Many authors of young adult fiction have been lured into the world of adult fiction, like Darren Shan of the Cirque du Freak series, and R.L. Stine. Somewhere, is there a James Moloney adult fiction lurking around?
I met Darren when he was in Australia some years ago. Nice guy. Very intense. I have a half-written adult novel in my computer and it's going to stay there. I haven't touched it now for many years and its time has passed. I don't feel that I need to publish an adult story to legitimate myself as a novelist. When it comes to sales, I'm one of the most successful authors in Australia. Many acclaimed adult writers would kill for my sales figures. They, however, get all the column inches in the review pages and that rankles a little at times. One can't help wanting a little respect. Perhaps I am put off by what happened to one of my colleagues. She's a modestly successful YA writer but some years back she wrote a quite excellent adult novel. It was well reviewed and I remember wishing I could write as well as she did in that book, yet it barely made a ripple in the
marketplace and is now out of print. If I write an adult novel it will be somewhat literary, in the way this woman's was, but I can't help thinking, why bother when so few people read literary fiction. Ultimately you write what moves you and if you only write with commercial interest in mind, you'll lose your artistic integrity, so I try to put this out of
my mind. Maybe I'll write an adult novel simply for the challenge, in the same way that I took on fantasy with BoL and humour with 'Black Taxi.'
If you were to write an adult fiction book, what direction would you be looking to go in, genre-wise?
I would probably stick to contemporary realism. I have thought for a while that I might write a novella to pick up the story of my best-known book in Oz, 'A Bridge to Wiseman's Cove.' I would use the same characters, but place the story ten years after the
end of the YA novel, so that the main protagonist is 26 and his younger brother 20. I would write it for adults, and in such a way that people could read it as a 'stand-alone' book without reference to the first book, but such that adolescent readers who liked the
first YA novel would also be able to engage. There is a woman in the original named Joy who more or less becomes a surrogate mother to the two boys when aged 16 and 10. I thought I might kill her off suddenly and have the younger boy so distraught at the
loss of his second mother that he takes off into the bush and the older brother Carl, has to go find him, talk him through his grief and bring him back for the funeral so there can be closure for them.
Is there anyone or some way for fellow readers to get in touch with HarperCollins and request MotB and the third book to be brought out here? I know my wife and I are insanely interested in this happening.
I have dropped enough unsubtle hints for the editors in New York to know I'm hoping for such an outcome. You could try writing to them as an enthralled reader, saying have seen MotB on my website and wonder when it is to be released in the US, since you enjoyed BoL so much and can't wait to find out what happens next. However, if you mention that you have been in correspondence with me, they will assume I have put you up to it. But thanks for the thought and yes, a ground swell of response from readers might be the impetus needed. The people to contact would be the marketing people because they are more attuned to market response than editors.
Well, folks, that’s a wrap. One of these days, I’ll write down the whole interview and follow up questions as I sent them and his responses. You are only getting about three quarters of the interview right now, so keep it tuned to Dorkgasm!