Eoin Colfer is the megaselling author of the Artemis Fowl series, Half Moon
Investigations, The Supernaturalist, Airman and The Legend of . . . books. His
brilliant new series WARP is out now. Eoin lives with his family in Ireland. www.eoincolfer.com
About Eoin Colfer
An Interview with Eoin Colfer
More About Eoin Colfer
PLACE & DATE OF BIRTH:
14 May 1965, Wexford, Ireland
Stig of the Dump
The Great Beyond - REM
Silence of the Lambs
MOST TREASURED POSSESSION:
When did you start writing?
My first attempt at proper writing was way back in 6th grade. I wrote a play for the class about Norse gods. Everyone died in the end except me.
Where do you get your ideas and inspiration from?
Inspiration comes from experience. My imagination is like a cauldron bubbling with all the things I’ve seen and places I’ve visited. My brain mixes them all up and regurgitates them in a way that I hope is original.
Can you give your top 3 tips to becoming a successful author
1. Practise – write every day even if it’s only for ten minutes. Remember, nothing is wasted. Eventually your style will emerge. Persevere!
2. Don’t submit your manuscript until it is as good as you can make it. Edit! Cut! Chop! Trust your editor.
3. Get a good agent – they will find the publisher that is right for you.
One of my favourite memories is from my wedding day when my wife and her 3 sisters lined up for an impromptu Irish dancing session. A precursor to Riverdance.
Favourite place in the world and why?
Slade, a small fishing village in Ireland. It’s where I spent the holidays of my youth fishing and now I go back with my own son.
What are your hobbies?
My main hobby is reading, I even read the labels on jars. I also love the theatre and have even written a few plays. I have recently been introduced to parachuting!
If you hadn’t been a writer what do you think you would have been?
If I hadn’t been a writer, I think I would continue as a primary school teacher. Kids are a great source of inspiration.
Who is the man behind Artemis Fowl? In an exclusive interview Eoin Colfer reveals his favourite character, what he would do if he was given the use of a mud shield (read on for more information!), and we get a sneaky peek at the sequel to Artemis Fowl
First of all, how did you come up with the name for anti-hero Artemis
Reading action-packed Artemis Fowl felt very much like watching a film and you have described the book as ‘Die Hard with fairies’. How did films and film characters influence the writing of Artemis Fowl?
The name was very important. I knew it had to be a mysterious name that would make an instant impact on the reader, like Titus Groan or Hannibal Lecter. Fowl was easy enough, Fowl by name, foul by nature. But Artemis was harder. I went through several first names: Bartholemew, Bartlemy, Archimedes before I found Artemis on a Greek boys-names website. The second I saw it, I knew.
Films definitely had an impact on my writing style. I am a huge movie fan, and the action genre is one of my favourites. I realised that very few action movies are specifically for kids, even though kids love them. So, I decided to fill the vacuum with a book that reads like an action movie. Hopefully when you read the book, the movie will play itself in your head.
Who did you base the character of feisty elf Holly Short on? Is she a reflection of the ‘girl power’ frenzy that’s swept the nation over the last few years?
Holly is based on a mixture of several girls that I have taught. They are real people and refuse to conform to some idea or fad. There have always been female heroes, it’s just that male authors didn¹t want to write about them.
Did you have fun playing with the Irish myths and legends in Artemis
Fowl and creating a futuristic (but still very magical) fairy world?
I grew up reading Irish myths and legends, so I had great fun putting a spin on them. I knew that there was no point in regurgitating other people¹sstories, so instead I gave them a technological makeover.
There is a lot of technical gadgetry in Artemis Fowl. Do you use technology a lot in your everyday life? If so, what gadget could you not do without?
I was introduced to computers about six years ago by a Scottish student, and they have been an indispensable part of my life ever since. I have written several books on my trusty iBook. However, my favourite gadget is a laser alarm clock that projects the time in huge red numbers onto the ceiling.
If you were given the fairy power to put up a shield (Mud People translation: making yourself invisible), where would you go and what would you do?
If I were shielded, I think I would float into a few banks and erase their third world debt accounts. Either that or follow my wife and find out where she hides the biscuits.
Do you have a favourite character in Artemis Fowl? If so, who is it and
Artemis himself is my favourite character. He is so complex that it takes me
days to come up with an idea he would have in a second. Mulch the flatulent
dwarf is a close second, because, basically I am a big juvenile at heart.
J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books, and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy are fantasy novels that appeal to adults as well as children. Artemis Fowl also appeals on many levels, did you set out to do this?
When I was twelve, my favourite authors were Stephen King and Robert Ludlum.
I believe there are millions of children out there reading their parents books, so it never crossed my mind to write down to them. I just wrote a book with material suitable for children, if their Moms and Dads like it too, great.
If Artemis Fowl is made into a film who would you like to see cast in the roles of Artemis Fowl, Holly Short and Mulch Diggums (I for one would love to see that ‘bottom flap’ in action!)?
If Artemis is transferred to the big screen I think they would have to find a newcomer to play Artemis. As for Holly I have a list of young actresses: Kirsten Dunst, Wynona Rider, Lucy Liu and Anna Paquin to name a few. Mulch could be excellently portrayed by David Spade, Danny deVito or Michael J Fox.
You’re writing a sequel to Artemis Fowl. Can you tell us a bit about that?
In the second instalment all the familiar characters return plus a couple of new ones. I’m not supposed to reveal too much about the plot, but I can tell you that Artemis and Holly are forced to co-operate in order to stay alive. Sparks will fly.
You’ve recently become a full-time writer. What happens in your typical
Typical day? To tell the truth, I haven’t had so many of those in the past
while. Not since Artemis entered my life. But when I do have a quiet couple
of days: Up at eight with my son, wrap him in some clothes and shovel a few
cornflakes down his neck. At nine we’re off to play school (my son, not me). The
working day starts at nine thirty. I try to write until lunch. Forty minute
break, then back to work. At four my boy, Finn, returns and I am on Daddy
duty until seven. After dinner I might do some editing until nine, watching TV
with one eye. That’s about it!
What books are on your bedside table at the moment?
The two books on my bedside table at the moment are: Mr. X by Peter Straub
and The Truth by Terry Pratchett.
If you had to put two things you really dislike into Room 101 what would they be and why?
Find Books by Eoin Colfer
Tough question. Obviously war, disease and famine would be everybody’s first
choice. A friend of mine, Larry O’Loughlin, wrote a book about child labour
which really struck a nerve. It is appalling to think that we might accidentally use something that has been made by a child slave somewhere. So that would definitely have to go in. On the lighter side I would also like to banish faulty computers, as all they do is crash and cost you months of work!
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