Monday, March 10, 2008

Brandon Mull Interview


This winter has been an exciting one for me. A time to discover new authors. To fall in love with new books. One of the new series I've discovered has been the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull. The third book is due to release in about a month. (I reviewed it here last Friday.) More of my interview with Brandon Mull can be found in the April edition of The Edge of the Forest. But here is just a small sampling of our conversation.

Becky: Can you share what “a day in the life” of a successful author is like for readers? What does a writer do behind-the-scenes?

Brandon Mull: I’m always daydreaming about future books. Always laying plans. I want to stay busy, to keep new stuff coming. I have a lot of stories to share. I spend almost half of the year visiting schools and libraries and book stores. It consumes a lot of time, but it increases awareness of my books and lets me have a chance to be social. The other half of the year is spent at the computer and with my young family. I love a good book, a good movie, or a good conversation.

Becky: You write fantasy books. What do you love about the genre? Did you grow up reading fantasy? Do you have any favorites among the genre that you’d want to recommend? What series is your favorite? What author?

Brandon Mull: I love that fantasy books allow for enormous imagination in setting and character. I love that you can have realistic characters contending with a system of rules we would never encounter in the real world. I love the heroic aspects of fantasy, the adventure, the discovery of strange new places and beings. Some fantasy books really bore me. Sometimes the writing style can be so annoying I have to quit. Sometimes there are huge pacing problems. At their best, fantasies are my favorite. I try to read outside the fantasy genre a lot in order to freshen my writing style.

Becky: Did you have a reading hero growing up? Someone who encouraged you to read, to lose yourself in a good book?

Brandon Mull: My mom played a big role in getting me to love books. She read to me a lot, and in the process I decided that reading was fun.

Becky: Have you always wanted to be a writer? Has this always been a dream of yours?

Brandon Mull: Writing books professionally has always been my dream. I can’t express how relieved I am to be pulling it off. I feel very lucky. I realize that many talented people never get the right break.

Becky: If you could meet any author—past or present—who would you want the chance to get to know better?

Brandon Mull: Probably J.K. Rowling. Does that sound dumb? The right answer is probably Shakespeare or somebody. I guess part of it is that she seems so inaccessible now, hidden behind walls of wealth and popularity. But I genuinely think that overall, Harry Potter is the best young adult fantasy series I’ve read, and since I’m writing in that category, I would love to have a conversation with her about writing. Who would be my second choice? Hemingway. He’s pretty inaccessible too.

Becky: In your opinion, what makes a book a classic?

Brandon Mull: The book must powerfully engage readers regardless of when it is read. The timeless element is what makes it a classic.

Becky: How do you find time—do you find time—to keep reading? Do you have any recent favorites?

Brandon Mull: I don’t read as much as I would like. I just read the Dark Materials books. That guy has an impressive imagination.

Becky: If you had twenty-four hours, a time machine, and a limitless supply of money, what would you want to do?

Brandon Mull: Honestly, I’d probably throw the money into a 401k and stay put. I’m pretty conservative. I’d be worried I would somehow mess up the space-time continuum and prevent my own birth. If I were feeling adventurous, I’d make like Bill and Ted and try to visit a bunch of famous leaders/thinkers/religious figures. Maybe I’d track down Hemingway.

1 comments:

Chris 12:29 PM  

Hahahaha! I love his answer to the last question! Put the money in a 401K and stay put...that's great. Awesome interview Becky :) I really enjoyed reading this!!

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

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