Meet the Author: Eoin Colfer

Meet the Author: Eoin Colfer


the following program was a production
of the Fairfax network fairfax county public schools welcome to the special edition of meet
the author I’m in front of a popular book store in Washington DC and in just
a few minutes Eoin Colfer will be available to his biggest fans it may not
look like a rock concert is about to start but once inside it feels like one you’ll read books and they really are
like their own world and then meeting the creator of the world unlike making
like a king of a kingdom it’s like you meet the person that’s in charge and
something you never thought you would ever do and then you get to and it’s
amazing I’d like to think that the rocks are fantasy fiction made time just for
this program the as you can tell from the crowds Eoin Colfer has a loyal
following and I was like oh my gosh I have to go I’ve been reading them
forever and like telling all my friends about them and now I can actually say
i’m at the author did you know that there are currently 13 million artemis
sell books and prints the download numbers are pretty high as well here’s
another number 44 the books have been translated into 44 languages they’re
really interesting how he mixes fantasy and science fiction I don’t see many
books like that and oh it’s just like a really different genre I guess you don’t
really see this kind of stuff much you see a lot of fairies but not like this
artemis fowl is the main character of eight books he is part boy genius part
come in a mastermind he acknowledges the power of spells time travel in Irish
folklore Artemis Fowl fights bad guys he has a butler and travels everywhere
including the underwater metropolis of Atlanta his survival and biggest like
this captain Holly short she’s an elf go figure Artemis had to rush to his rescue
but was stopped short stop short get it by holy short this is why I Artemis is
not allowed to tell jokes and you should know better amateurs Eoin Colfer are
rocks out of the writing world and I’m lucky enough to have one on one
interview I’m here with a writer teacher and dad Eoin Colfer hi thank you so
much for letting me I’m delighted to be here Gary don’t be too don’t be too mean
was me you guys okay my first question isn’t really about your books but about
your name okay is because it sounds like Owen but it isn’t really spelled like
that and for Americans it’s kind of odd do you ever get like annoyed that people
no I understand because it happens to a lot of people not just me yeah
and it’s really once you know it it’s simple because in Irish Gaelic the
letter Z 0 together make the sound oh so basically if you just don’t look at the
first letter it’s simple yeah but I thought that zena’s we could all get
artists warts nagar you could get all in as well eventually I think we get there
so my first questions about the book artemis fowl is to me Artemis Fowl isn’t
really the good guy in the book I mean he starts to behave better towards the
end but I thought heroes had to be good like so his Artemis Fowl do you consider
him a hero um I consider him on the road to being a hero and at the end of the
last book he becomes a hero so the series is really all about a child’s
journey from being bad guide to a good guy and the the message well I’m not
very big our messages but the message would be anybody can change anybody can
turn around and be the hero and it sounds a little bit like an afternoon
talk show you can be here okay but that that’s that’s what I thought so as soon
as he became the hero stories over yeah one of my favorite books was a brilliant
book of Huckleberry Finn and that man character even though we know he’s a
hero now at the time he was seen as an antihero because he was not a good role
model in a way so the people thought I happen to think he was a brilliant role
model because he was a real boy but he used to smoke a pipe he’s to swear he
went under on a raft he skated school skipped out of school hated Church and
he went down a raft with a slave like that was amazing at the time that
someone would be doing this and will be in a book because usually all the heroes
were like straight up you know square jaws hands on the hips and her fighting
pirates and was fantastic and I’d never liked those guys as much as I like to
talk a very thin because I felt if i was with Huckleberry Finn I could hang
around with him I wouldn’t I wouldn’t feel I just feel
just the same assembly be great so I’ve always been interested in the anti-hero
from hook van to darth vader even to hannibal lecter to bart simpson these
are all kind of antiheroes that you like for some reason you like them and I
wanted to write a book where you liked the two sides who are fighting I thought
that would be very interesting because usually you want this guy to win but in
the artemis fowl first book you want both of them to win and that keeps you
interest right up until the last page and so that’s that’s the idea I thought
it was an exercise for me do you see yourself in the character and myself no
I am I didn’t realize I was in at all but i think i’m a bit my wife said that
I was a bit like Foley is the center because I sit around my computer and you
know I’m trying to be funny she said that’s dude that’s what you do all the
time you sit down your computer and you’re acting out everything and it’s a
bit weird actually now that the subject has come up and she’s right what I do is
I sit on my computer and I type away and very often i forget where i am and i
start acting at the party though you’re gonna die no you’re gonna die I’m know I
said at first i’m gonna give you well i’m really other way and then so if you
know what I’m doing it’s fine but if you don’t know looks a bit weird sometimes
you don’t know where the ideas come from they just pop out if I look back through
it i can fight see some characters definitely but other ones I don’t know
until someone points it out to me do you get your inspiration from things around
you yeah absolutely i mean there are definitely cards that I purposefully did
Artemis is based a little bit of my little brother and now my one of my sons
commander root is based on a guy who taught was me holly is based on a girl I
was teaching so some people I I liked them so much as people and I admired
their characters so much that I put them in the books yeah where did Holly short
come from that’s the big character in the book that’s the biggest character
has more time than artists and everything when I was teaching this boy
in my class he was a nice kitty was just loud he was like shout shout shout all
every whatever subject he just wanted attention
and he would even share that stuff from a different subject that you were doing
two days ago so you would be on the board like 19 x 7 and he would say Mark
Twain and I said that’s not even we’re not even doing that today I could see
this little tiny girl Rachel she was getting more and more upset with this
guy because she wants to listen she wanted to learn stuff and she was
shooting him dagger looks and he wasn’t paying any attention he was just look at
himself in them in the window Hey yeah that’s right that’s right that his right
mind said my friend I don’t know what he’s talking about so one day at break
time I was looking at the window and I saw Rachel gone for this guy she ran
over after him and she’s like tiny and he’s mass when she’s gonna get hurt I
don’t know what she’s saying but I don’t think it is look at my finger if I shake
it really quickly it looks like two fingers isn’t that bad that think she
was probably saying you keep your mouth shut up so I learning they’re all you
ever do is cause trouble and your waste of my time and then she punched him on
the knee and he didn’t know what to do like he was like what oh and he froze
like the commuter I’m had to lead him back in and sit down and he never for
about a week he was brilliant he didn’t say anything course he went back to
being himself and I realized oh my god i have got a heat-seeking missile on my
hands here i’m not saying that I used Rachel for disciplinary purposes but
occasionally I might drop a little mite oh listen to this guy Rachel he’s very
chatty today isn’t he and then he disappeared be found in a
dumpster three weeks later so I love the character of that girl and I abused her
then as the model for a holly short he said you were a teacher did you learn
from your students as you were writing your books for your kids yes I did learn
and while i learned i think the most important thing is how to communicate
with with younger people because i found in my years teaching that adults forget
what it’s like to be a child and they think if you’re a child on your life a
little bit dumb so they have to make everything really simple for you and as
you know Katie you’re probably the smartest person in this room and the
only difference between us is that you don’t have the life experience stuff
that we’ve had maybe but you’re certainly not going to put up with
somebody dumb and down a story you just won’t even read that book and so that’s
what I wanted to do and the second thing was that but people often think that
boys want something fast and simple but that’s not true boys want something fast
in complex so it can still rock it along but they do want a good story and they
do on good characters and a lot of the books were boys were just like these
silly books with cardboard characters and no plot development a nice to get
very annoyed at that of course there are also hundreds and hundreds of amazing
wonderful books for boys too but when I was writing my books I said I want bunny
fast and complex there were my three rules we’ll take a short break but first
let’s hear from a few fans tell me why you came today
well I came today first I really didn’t want to but because my mom made me at
first but second well how I kinda do want to cuz i kind of like art miss fowl
books what’s your favorite artemis fowl book my favorite artemis fowl book was
the time paradox and i liked it because it was just so complicated and it really
showed how much research Owen probably had to put in just to understand how to
write it mine probably has to be that it’s mantic complex um just because it
was uh it was really just the funniest of all of them to me and I enjoy the
humor a lot does it makes a good laugh to cry ratio were just so amazing
definitely the first one and introduce all the characters and I thought it was
really great and I read it when I was like 11 and now I’m a little bit older
did I still enjoy them why do you like Artemis Fowl it wasn’t really a good guy
at first he was the antagonist but then he became the phone it’s really cool to
see the change in character what advice do you have to finding a good cook you
should try it if you don’t like the first few sentences then you can give it
a rest until you’re older SC fiction usually has some kind of entry way like
a rabbit’s hole yeah a wardrobe and how and why did you come up with the magic
bits and fairies in the books um a lot of it is historic and in Ireland we have
a culture of I’m studying our myths and legends so that’s taught you in school
it is a fantastic time and it’s so unlike and I think to go to school on
your teacher tells you a story and it’s part of your school day and not just
when your little kid this goes all the way up to when you’re 13 14 so I love
that and when I was a teacher I loved it even more because I could assemble my
own book of legends which I did from all bits of other books I used to tear the
Med photocopy them typed them up and make them as good as I could and so from
there was a very short step to writing my own magical stories in the Irish
legends and also that the ferry people disappeared under the ground
and I also will find well if they disappeared under the ground they’ll
have to build some kind of city and if they’ve done that it has to be her just
to survive and those pressures it would have to be very technologically advanced
so it just seemed to make sense to me and I was amazed that no one had thought
of it I went on the internet i typed in technologically advanced fairies and i
didn’t find what I was looking for so I felt safe then that’s one for the day
it’s I still say if then to go ahead and write the book so you’re Irish
background does it influence your writing like Oh big time I mean every
one of my books has something to do with Ireland most of them are set in Ireland
for that for the most part a couple of them are in the potty historic but
they’re still in Ireland um I’m actually writing a book now which is my first
book for younger people that doesn’t have Ireland at all and it feels a bit
weird but one of the characters is Irish so that makes up for it and and i think
the irish experience people can really relate to it because ireland is a
country of them but we lot of our people emigrated to america or to australia or
kitchen calendar so people are on can relate to that but also people here
because nearly everybody here has family from another country if you go back far
enough so later today you’ll ask kids perform your stories what are the
benefits of performing storybooks well this is just something we wanted to do
for fun because every year we do something a little different so it was
like an experiment to see how it went but it is riff down well and the kids
are just amazing I’m realizing that having three kids on stage three cute
kids with their parents in the audience gets much more perhaps than just me on
my own so I’m reaching applause from those children I’m like an applause
vampire people I like to get laughing other people who don’t want to be there
this is always an element of the credit didn’t wanna calm maybe they don’t
actively not want to be there but they’re you know that mixed feelings
about it they may be too dad it was watching TV and the Sun says you said
you’re gonna bring me down to that bookstore to listen to the leprechaun
guys like what it’s goes into some guy talk about leprechauns i’m 47 what and
so I want to get him laughing so my aim is to have a few jokes for everybody in
the room so what is your writing process like my writing process is quite simple
I just go out to my office every day I don’t wait for inspiration to strike
because I believe that you get more ideas when you are working it doesn’t
work for me just to lie on a cell phone try and get ideas to come I have to be
working and then ideas with them and so I spend seven or eight hours every day
in my office what do you think about editing um I love editing because I’m
kind of a little bit obsessive about that and if I could I would take back
all my books that I ever wrote and edit them again so my my editor eventually
said okay let go the book click through and she takes us so I yeah I do like
editing I’m making things simpler when I was a young writer I want to be flowery
flowery flowery everything all as many adjectives and adverbs as I could stuff
into a sentence but now i’m trying to make how can I make this shorter shorter
shorter because simplicity I think is the best I know I’m very fortunate to be
able to do what I love for a living I mean there may be is one percent of the
entire planet who can do that and so I really do love it and I appreciate it
and I think I appreciated the cars I was a teacher for a long time and I know
what a hard difficult job that is because people said to me almost was so
hard being a writer and I say you should try teaching teaching for a week and you
would gladly be a writer so I look look here i am and in America I’m Torah stay
in a nice hotel it’s brilliant and so I hope I never forget how lucky I am to be
your Roger do you have like a favorite passage or favorite
over the librarian item I always I don’t know if I think my favorite book is air
man because it’s based an idea I had when I was a kid so I used to sit on the
wall up after my parents house and look at sea and I could see these islands and
my dad told me these to be king in those islands the king of the salty islands
and I was fascinated by that then real life the King basically he owned the
island he called himself the King so he wasn’t really okay you know because
there wasn’t an independent state but in my mind he was a king and he had a
palace and there was you know revolutions and pirates and everything
so what when I wrote that back that book had really transported me back to when I
was a teenager song and I think it’s a very complete story possibly the most
complete story I’ve written so I’m very happy with that one is there a future
for artemis fowl or is this done he’s done now he’s done I mean I might
mention him in passing I I sometimes do that where i dropped little i think the
column easter eggs aren’t just eggs in stories for pro fans to see who will go
that’s the same name as you used in the supernaturalists or just the same guy
that was in this other book i just mention them and i think someone will
mention him in passing but yeah Artemis is finished when you’ve got a super
villain as your main character and art like artemus who has to get better he’s
getting better as he goes along and eventually he’s going to be a good guy
but I didn’t want him to get good too soon or us to the end of the series so I
had to use little tricks to make him nasty again or different and one of the
tricks was I sent him back in time to fight himself when he was bad another
did the tricks was he got his mind wiped of all the good stuff he done so i went
to beat his bad again and this one I’d lat what I didn’t want to be bad again
but I wanted to do the opposite so he’s to become super good and romantic and so
I gave him a split personality the poor guy he had every eat like he was shot he
was killed a couple of times he went back in time he lost his girlfriend it
was old was all horrible and so but he’s finished I have to live
life than peace it’s hard to for me to believe that after all this time I still
haven’t really come to grips with it I think it’ll happen in September when
that’s when I usually sit down to write a new book and so if September comes I’m
not doing Artemis that’s gotta feel because I don’t know if you I can set up
my keyboard to do shortcuts so when I press f1 it rides Artemis so I don’t
have to write the names and that really speeds things up and all I have all the
characters and I know where they are but now and sometimes when I just
accidentally press it and Artemis comes up I skeletal charcoal I should change
that and I don’t want to change it i should put the new characters in but for
some reason I’m not ready yet what are some tips that you have for young
writers well i think that the tips are well known most of them is read as much
as you can I never ever met a writer who wasn’t a reader for many many years I
would only read crime books and there are meant there people in this room who
only read crime or maybe sci-fi or fantasy they picked a genre and then
that’s it they’re stuck in there for the rest of their lives and that is like
going to Disneyland and saying I’m just going on that ride of absurd as lows in
lucknow that one look at–look just over your shoulder there’s an exploding
fireball is Britt know he’s one now i received my revelation about 10 years
ago in Brazil when I was coming home from a tour and I was in the middle of
my crime only days and I went to the bookstore and there was only like seven
or eight books in English and one of them was captain corelli’s mandolin and
I’d read the rest and I thought captain corelli’s man
captain that’s pretty tough Corelli it’s Italian mandolin no two very sorry
doctor cannot read that book I don’t know late I was gonna buy the firm again
I know lady came up behind me really Oh like 90-something that she was tiny I
even thought you miss tiny that’ll tell you how tiny she was and she pulled on
my sleeve and she said young man you really should read that book it’s
wonderful and I said shut your face down ball no it’s okay it’s okay it was my
grandma of course I didn’t say that i bought the book and it was the most
amazing book I had read up to date so now I encourage everyone especially
young writers you’ve got to read all kinds of book a good book is a good book
it doesn’t matter what is honor it is and speaking about books let’s find out
why this bookstore is a local treasure especially for kids according to Gussie
Lewis it’s all about book selection customer service and community outreach
akili welcome to politics and prose it’s so nice that you could come today i want
to show you around the store you’re in you’re the right section for you this is
jesse says customer service begins with us good question one of the first things
I do is I asked the young person what have they read recently and that will
give me an idea of their reading level and we go to that section and we start
talking about books have you read this have you read that and eventually I kind
of 0 into the type of genre that they like for customers book stores have
advantages over online purchases maybe you’ll see something on the Shelf that
really caught your eye you don’t have that luxury when you’re online when you
go to some of the online sellers you have to look up the specific title and
then that doesn’t necessarily lead you to something that might or might not be
appropriate you can buy an ebook here but for really young kids and their
parents picture books remain popular choices
I wanted eyes okay if you want to find a good book enjoy a special event or meet
your favorite author support your local bookstore because a good book is a good
book is a good book you got a ride as well you can’t a lot of people that
aren’t they say the writers but what they actually are as talkers so they
meet people like oh yeah I’m writing a book Yammer and you say well how much
have you done well I’ve done like half a page but I know what it’s like and and
then they never write it be and this that the hard thing about writing is
forcing yourself to go away on your own and work but that’s also the good thing
go all the way on your own and working it’s amazing who gets to do that and i
have my cup of tea and my own heavy metal music from the 1980s that I’m not
allowed playing as and I have I love us you consider it to be like a outlet oh
yes absolutely i put that’s why I put all my family and friends and as it’s
great and what I do my show later you will see I kind of rant on about my
family and I feel great afterwards although I’m lucky to have a really
wonderful family so all the characters in the artemis fowl books are based on
real people some I can tell you about some accounts the only person I was not
allowed put in the books was my wife Jackie because I said to Jackie I only
know about one girl Jackie we have no sisters I met jackman of 17 so all
knowledge of womanhood I have comes from my wife and I sir Jackie you have to be
Angeline bell um Artemis’s mother and she said no I said listen listen Jackie
darling love you hair looks great and will you be Ashley pal and she said look
at my eyes if you ever put me in a book something
fatal will happen to you but you won’t know because you will never wake up and
I was interpreting that as a no I was getting mixed signals but I decided she
meant no so I but I still asked her advice because in in the book you see I
said well what am I going to do how am I going to write a better one if my only
the woman in my life won’t tell me anything and so I beg dresser please
Jackie tell me something I’ve got out my notebook do something womanly now go
tell me about women what do women do what do they like it I tell you what
they don’t like they don’t like a little guy with gray hair shouting at that your
kids give you advice about your books and like uh well sean is 9 so he’s just
starting on the artists books now and he likes them and he’s challenged so kind
he would you would never say anything he would if he didn’t like it he would just
not say anything but Finn is a teenager so he’s bid cheekier and if it’s not
funny discipline let’s just get funny it’s i’m bored at my face when does it
get bunny and and i said thin as millions of kids all over the world i
think this is funny yeah dopey kids that’s what they sow and then if it is
funny and he’s laughs I today you’re laughing he said you didn’t write this I
decided right no you did someone else wrote this is too funny for you who so
he’s very cheeky but he’s he’s so funny that he knows that if he can make me
laugh he’s off the hook for anything he’s uses he’s like blonde and he’s too
but he’s taller than me now that’s really depressing and you see what I
mean about ranting getting love my chest I’m starting already so I’ve stopped and
I have two sons Sean who’s nine and then he was 14 and you know what he’s doing
to me now to show me that he’s taller than me he gives me what i like to call
the granny hug so he like he we used to hug manly now he he hugs me like I’m a
little old lady knee rubs my head oh you little fella no you’re cute
mm-hmm I hate that he knows us that is the only thing he does which is kind of
a motional other than that he’s just annoyed by my existence he doesn’t see
he the ultimate embarrassment was I right about leprechauns and that kills
him I have to be driven to school by the king of the leprechauns of all the
mythological creature vampires they’re really cool right now where was why
could you do a vampire werewolf pain but you had to do delivery goes just drop me
out here that’ll be fine I’ll walk the next seven miles to school so and
sometimes now I think embarrassin by entering a room even if there’s no one
else in the room except him I mean there’s no one watching him being bars
he still is and he just goes I walk in he goes oh oh look look at this stated
after lies at all I said what what is it I’m just walking in the room he said one
you’re wearing a hoodie to your breathing really loud what does it like
to be considered a rock star of children’s books oh I don’t it that
lovely to say that but I don’t kind of engage with any of that I’m just me and
but I’m always really surprised and people are nervous to meet Mia sometimes
I met a librarian recently and she asked for a photo I put my hand on her
shoulder and she she was shivering a nice thats you know why would you do
that I’m just relaxed so if I was like 22 when this happened I could see how
you could go a bit nuts you know you would go I am a rock star and you’d
start behaving no like and that’s ridiculous but but I was 35 and I was
alright I’m married I’ve been married for 10 years and we had our first boy so
I was really I already had my life i was already happy
of course it’s fun if you go to an event and there’s a lot of people there but
other times there’s no one there so you know they balance of it thank you so
much you’re very nice I’m relieved I was so scared this is what island for my
interview Owen colfer likes his books fast funny and complex those elements
help him combine the genres of fantasy and science fiction well that’s all for
now once Owen colfer completes this gig talked or another American city and then
home to Ireland dela back to you in the studio oh and filling in as a student
reporter as a black thanks for the great reporting Haley author Eoin Colfer is no
longer working in the classroom but he continues to educate and entertain
students throughout the world if you’d like to learn more about author Eoin Colfer and his books visit his website at www.eoincolfer.com .com and to learn more about our
upcoming programs visit us at WWw.Fcps edu / fairfax network for the fairtax
network I’m Della Kidd keep reading keep writing and keep dreaming

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *