Book People: Brian Falkner
Many teens and pre teens will need no introduction to the work of Brian Falkner. His bestselling books are action packed, techno thrillers, time bending, suspense filled adventures and they are never on the library shelves.
Ten Things You Need to Know About Brian Falkner
1. Tell us about your latest book.
My latest book is ‘Ice War’. It’s the third book in my alien invasion series: ‘Recon Team Angel’. In this book, the aliens are poised to invade the Americas across the frozen Bering Strait in mid-winter. (Bering Strait is that narrow stretch of water between the eastern-most tip of Russia and the coast of Alaska). Recon Team Angel is sent in to investigate a mysterious death at a monitoring station on an island in the middle of the strait. Mayhem ensues…
2. How did you get started as a writer?
I always wanted to be a writer, and had made several attempts throughout the years, but as I was approaching my 40th birthday, I decided to really make an effort. I had an idea in mind for a story about Rugby League so I sent off four chapters to a publisher that I was in contact with at the time. They expressed interest, so I finished the novel. That became my first book, ‘The Flea Thing’, originally published in New Zealand as ‘Henry and the Flea’.
3. What does a typical day look like for you?
Writing from when I get up until lunchtime. Other stuff in the afternoon. Editing in the evening. Some days I even remember to eat. It’s a simple routine but those chapters won’t write themselves!
4. Can you describe your workspace for us?
My office is just a small room in my house, with a desk and a chair. The walls are covered with bookshelves and they are full of books, many of them signed by the authors. In pride of place is ‘Faithfully Mozart’, a fantastic book by Donovan Bixley (who illustrated Northwood and Maddy West).
5. Any words of advice for young readers and writers?
Read. And Write. And read books about writing. Then read more. And write more. Study the craft and practice the craft. That’s the way to get good at anything.
6. Do you have a favourite book or character?
Yes, I am a huge fan of Matilda, the book and the character, by Roald Dahl. She has a wonderful mixture of charm and attitude and the book is both funny and delightful.
7. If you were not a creator of books for young people what would you be?
Trying to be!
8. What is your favourite food to eat and/or your favourite music to listen to whilst you are working on your books?
I don’t really have a favourite food to eat while writing, in fact I often forget to eat. The music I listen to is whatever is suitable for the chapter I am writing. I listen to music to set the tone, that is to help create the emotion of the scene I am working on. This is a powerful technique and I teach it to students in my writing classes.
9. How much of yourself or people you know is in your books?
My third book ‘Super Freak’ is the only book in which I have used aspects of my own life. Certain characters and situations are fictionalised versions of real characters and situations. Other than that, the only aspect of real people in my books is their names. I often use real kids’ names in my books. They win this in a competition that I run when I visit schools.
10. If you could have one wish for the world what would it be?
That’s a kind of a big question. There are so many things that I would wish for the world that it’s hard to choose one. Let’s set aside all the obvious ones like an end to suffering, war and disease. Let’s move past world peace and a healthy environment and all the other things that would really make the world a better place. If I had just one wish for the people of the world it would be hope. To wake up each day with a sense of hope for the day, and for the future, is an incredibly powerful thing.