Here are all the Kids Message Board postings, along with my replies, from my old website.
Monday, November 11
Q How did you come up with the idea for The Paradise Trap? It is such a great book and it changed my mind about reading. I could not put it down. Are you making a second?
Posted by Aaron, Mandurah, Western Australia
A Well, it’s good to know that The Paradise Trap changed your mind about reading, Aaron. Hearing something like that is the number one bonus of being a writer. And to answer your question, I originally got the idea for the book from something that happened to me when I was very young. My parents bought a caravan to use on our holidays, and it was really quite big – with a bedroom and a separate toilet and shower, as well as enough extra beds for all three kids – and it still wasn’t big enough for me! I wanted my own bedroom and an upstairs area and all kinds of extras. Forty years later, I decided to create a caravan that did have all those things, and more!
Unfortunately, I don’t have any plans for a follow-up. But if you liked The Paradise Trap, I’ve got a feeling you’ll like the book that I’m publishing in January. It’s called Saving Thanehaven, it’s set inside a computer, and it’s very fast and colourful, just like The Paradise Trap – which was kind of like a trial run. You should keep an eye out for it!
Friday, October 11
Q I was just wondering if you were doing any more books like the City of Orphans series ? They are my favourite book and its hard to find good books these days. They are the perfect for me because I really like all that adventure and mystery that they have in them so please if you can write some more like the City of Orphans . Also are you working on any books now and if so what are they called ? Thanks so much for taking the time to read this.
Posted by Morgan, Sydney
A Thanks so much, Morgan! I’m glad you’ve been enjoying the City of Orphans series. You know there’s going to be one more, don’t you? It’s going to be called A Very Singular Guild in Australia (in America I believe it’s going to be called The Last Bogler) and it will be published in Australia in January 2014. I’ve just finished a book for teenagers, which may or may not find a publisher (you never know, these days) but I’m thinking about my next book, and that’ll probably be for the 9-13 age range, so it might suit you – if you’re still young enough when it’s finally published! But if you’re desperate to read something right now, you can always try some of my older books, like the Ally’s Ghost Hunters series – Eglantine, Eustace, Eloise and Elysium – plus The Paradise Trap and Evil Genius. Maybe you should try those out while you’re waiting for the last City of Orphans book!
Thursday, October 3
Q Who inspired you to become an author? What are your favourite books?
Posted by Elly, Sydney
A Hi, Elly! To answer your questions: I was inspired to become an author when I was still a child, partly because I loved reading (still do) and partly because I grew up in Papua New Guinea, where I was somewhat isolated because of the cultural barrier, and so forth – plus there was no television. That drove me in on myself a bit, I think. I guess you could say that my favourite authors (and my mum) inspired me to become an author. As for my favourite books – well, it kind of depends. When I was very young, my favourite books were the Narnia books by C.S.Lewis, and then when I got a bit older I loved Mary Stewart’s The Crystal Cave and The Hollow Hills. And then when I got a bit older I loved Evelyn Waugh and George Orwell and Nancy Mitford, and then I fell in love with Jane Austen, and Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert … These days my favourite book is probably New Grub Street, by George Gissing.
Q Congratulations! Teuflisches Genie is absolutely breathtaking. I’m listening the audio book for several times and I still love it, love it, love it. You’re so talented!
Posted by Ria, Germany
A Well thanks so much, Ria! It’s wonderful to hear from a German fan – I don’t get that many messages from Germany, what with the language difference and everything. But it’s nice to know that my books translate so well!
Q I absolutely LOVED The Dark Mountain! As an lover of both true stories and history – this one was the BEST! We even went for a drive and found the Oldbury home – do you personally know the current occupants of Oldbury? Do they ever have an Open Day? We’re longing to explore it further! Again – congratulations on your story – a fascinating but sorrowful tale of our pioneers!
Posted by Libby, Lake Cargelligo
A I’m so glad you enjoyed The Dark Mountain: it’s nice to hear that my old book is still winning readers. I’m afraid I’ve never been inside Oldbury, and don’t know the current owners. A friend of mine, however, once did some restoration work on the joinery, and it was she who first put me onto Oldbury’s amazing story. I doubt there’s even an open day, though I might be wrong; if I ever hear about one, I’ll certainly be there! Louisa’s cottage is still there too – did you know? Plus her uncle’s house. And the church. There are also a lot of descendants knocking around – if you check my ‘Adult message board’ and scroll back a few years, you’ll find messages posted from some of them.
Q I had heard that my last name, ‘Bogle’ was an ancient Celtic word that could be translated as “spirit, ghost, demon, sprite” and then today I learn of your book, How to Catch a Bogle. Do you have any resources or research into the origin & back story of ‘Bogle’? I heard a tale that when the name MacGregor was outlawed that many of the clan hid in bogs and were called bogeymen or boogeymen later take the name Bogle from bogleman. Just curious. I am an 8th generation Irish American also 3/4ths Scottish.
Posted by S. Bogle, Bowling Green, Kentucky
A I’m so sorry, but I know nothing about the derivation of the word ‘bogle’ except what Wikipedia tells me – that its root lies in the Middle English word ‘bugge’ and the German word ‘bogge’. It’s a sort of general, umbrella term for monster, I think; there are more specific names for specific monster ‘species’ (ie. shellycoats, dunters, knockers).
Saturday, August 10
Q How did you come up with the idea of the best book ever, A Very Unusual Pursuit?
Posted by Elly, Sydney
A Hi Elly! To answer your question: I remember I was thinking about books for kids in upper primary (what they call in America ‘middle-grade books’) and how hard it is to write them because these days, in the western world, kids that age are mostly in school or being watched by their parents – and if they aren’t, they’re in trouble. So it’s harder to give them ‘adventures’. And I was thinking that a good period for setting stories about young kids was probably the Victorian era, when they were such a central part of the economy. And then I thought about all the jobs that kids used to have – as chimney sweeps, and factory workers, and street-sellers, and apprentices, and beggars. And then I thought about all the door-to-door jobs people used to have – like chair menders and knife grinders. And then, suddenly, the idea just flashed into my head: the idea of door-to-door monster killers. I don’t quite know where the idea came from, though I do know how I led up to it. Some ideas seem to come from elsewhere, and arrive in your head like a gift.
But I’m very glad you liked the book so much!
Friday, July 26
Q I really enjoyed your first two City of Orphans books and was wondering if you had a publication date for the third one, A Very Singular Guild?
Posted by Rachel, Auckland
A I’m so glad you liked those two books, Rachel. I think yours may be the first message I’ve had about them. To answer your question, A Very Singular Guild will be published in Australia and New Zealand in January 2014 – so you’ve got about six months to wait. Sorry about that!
Q Please check out my book review blog Mad for Books. On July 23 I reviewed your book Evil Genius. I hope that many more kids will read this great book after they check out my blog.
Posted by Nathan, Nashua, New Hampshire
A Wow! Thanks, Nathan! Great blog! I too hope that more kids will check out Evil Genius after they read your wonderful review.
Sunday, July 7
Q I loved your stories, especially Allie’s Ghost Hunters. What inspired you to write them?
Posted by Elly, Sydney
A I’m so glad you’re enjoying my work, Elly! (Sorry about the delay in replying; I’ve been sick.) I got the idea for the first Allie’s Ghost Hunters book, Eglantine, from Ursula Dubosarsky. Have you read any of her books? One day she was talking about how she’d found some writing on the outside wall of her house – writing that she couldn’t understand. It was scribble, not spray-painted graffiti, and it obviously creeped her out a little. The story grew from there. Then I just kept on using those characters when I thought of other ghost stories – after visiting Hill End or Jenolan Caves, for instance.
Monday, May 29
Q First I want to apologize for my bad English, but I hope you understand me. I admire your writing style and that’s why I must ask you one thing: Can I hope for a sequel of the book series Evil Genius? I love these books, and in the last book of the series was an open end, so I wish it continues. I look forward to your reply.
Posted by Elora, Stadthagen
A I see you’re from Germany, Elora, so first of all – thanks so much for your message! Secondly, let me assure you that your English is just fine; in fact it’s way better than my non-existent German! Last of all, to answer your question: no, I’m afraid you won’t be seeing any sequels to the Genius trilogy. I know I left it a bit open-ended, but that was because I couldn’t just brutally kill off a certain very popular character in front of the reader’s eyes, so to speak. (I won’t name him, in case I spoil things for anyone.) But the whole series revolves around Cadel’s relationship with this character, so if I wrote another book, it wouldn’t match the other three. I would need to find another ‘emotional spine’ for the story, and I don’t think I could. I certainly don’t think I could wrestle with any more computer-based plots. Goodness, they’re hard for me! Believe it or not, I’m hopeless when it comes to computers.
But I’m grateful for your positive feedback – it means a lot to hear from a reader whose first language isn’t English.
Friday, March 8
Q Please, please tell me where I can buy your lovely book You’ll Wake the Baby? I gave away a copy and now it seems I can’t buy it anymore.
Posted by Joanne, Colac
A Sorry about the delay in replying, Joanne, but I had to arrange something with Gleebooks, website: www.gleebooks.com.au. Tell them to contact me again if they’ve already run out.
Q For homework, I made this webquest about Evil Genius (my favourite book). My teacher told me that I should send the URL to you. Please tell me if you like it. Sorry if there are a few typos and maybe I didn’t follow the storyline too much but I’m only in year four. I didn’t get time to finish because the deadline was coming closer and closer. Here it is: evilgeniuswebquest.weebly.com Enjoy!!!
Posted by Ethan, Sydney
A Oh wow, Ethan. That’s amazing! You’re only in year four and you did this? You’re like … a computer genius! I’m so impressed! (Mind you, I’m a 49-year-old computer illiterate, so it doesn’t take much to impress me – I’m HUGELY impressed by people who can do memes.) And can I tell you something else really, really pathetic? I kept getting the questions wrong. Yes, I kid you not: I kept getting the questions about my own book completely wrong, and was repeatedly thrown back to the beginning. What does that say about me? That I’m not a genius, I guess. At the very least, that I’ve got an appalling memory.
Anyone else who’s a fan of the Genius books and who happens to read this message – you should check out Ethan’s webquest! It’s amazing!
Monday, November 12
Q I’m in college now working towards a masters in education and we had to do a genre study report. I chose your book Evil Genius as one of my books to read and really enjoyed it. I especially enjoyed Cadel’s complex character-how it shows that things are not just black and white.
Posted by Rachel, Brooklyn, New York
A I’m always so enormously pleased when people actually study my books. It makes me feel like Charles Dickens, or something – you know, important. But I’m always even more pleased to hear that people enjoy them in the process – because I know, from long experience, that studying books can leech them of every pleasure. So it’s nice to know that Evil Genius stands up to rigorous dissection, like that.
It’s also nice to hear from Brooklyn, New York, at this point in time. I have a couple of friends who live in Brooklyn, and though they haven’t been facing quite the disaster that other parts of New York have, it hasn’t been easy for them lately. So I hope things haven’t been too bad for you, Rachel – and thanks for taking the time to send me an update message during such nasty weather!
Q I’m writing this note to tell you how amazing your writing is and how very detailed your books are. I just finished reading The Paradise Trap and I loved how many twists and turns there was in it. When I was reading the book, my heart was racing like a lion to see what came next. That is my favorite thing when I read books; wondering what comes next. My favorite part in the book is when Edison found the basement in Marcus’ old trailer, then he went into his “dream holiday” when he opened the door, that was a carnival. One other of my favorite parts is when Miss Molpe randomly showed up at the airport bathroom and Edison was almost about to get taken with her. If I could change anything in the book, I would’ve changed when they were at the airport and then they went to the certain plane they were supposed to go on. After they would end up at a random place like a deserted island or somewhere different that they haven’t been to and you could make up the rest. Well I just wanted to say that I love your books and that I hope you read this letter at your fanpage email.
Posted by Elinore, Saint Albans, Vermont
A Thanks so much, Elinore! It’s great to hear that you’ve been reading The Paradise Trap; that book hasn’t been getting much attention, compared to the Genius books, and I’m grateful to know that some people like it. By the way, you didn’t happen to buy it at ‘The Flying Pig’ bookstore in Burlington, Vermont, did you? I went there once, a couple of years ago – though I don’t think I visited St Albans. I’m not sure. The bit of Vermont I did see was a lovely part of the world, though. You’re very lucky!
Monday, October 1
Q I really loved the Evil Genius trilogy. It was amazing all three of them but the first one is my favourite. It’s a shame there won’t be a 4th one, I kind of wanted to know more about Cadel’s life and I kind of wanted for him to really fall for Sonja. But anyway thank you for writing these amazing books.
Posted by John, Portugal
A I wish I could write another, John, but I can’t. You see, it’s not just the story of Cadel – it’s the story of Cadel and Prosper. And with Prosper gone, it wouldn’t be an Evil Genius book any more. It would be something else. Thanks for trying, though – it means you really do like them, if you want more!
Incidentally, it’s great to hear from someone in Portugal. The Portugal, right? (Not a Portugal, somewhere in Wisconsin.) I don’t know if I’ve ever had a message from Portugal before …
Friday, September 21
Q I am currently reading the book Evil Genius and it is fantastic! The start of the book was slow and slightly boring but incredibly important and interesting as it goes on. It is such an excellent book that I can’t put it down. I can’t wait to read more. Thank you for making by far one of the most amazing books I’ve ever read!
Posted by Louie
A Thanks so much Louie! Here’s hoping you like the next two in the series. (I think they kick off slightly faster – I’ve learned that my younger audience these days tends to like speed, and would prefers not to linger anywhere for very long …)
Sunday, August 12
Q I love your books, basically everyone in my school does. You’re an inspiration to me and my friends, we love the books you publish. Thank you so much please publish more!
Posted by Luciaa, Springvale
A Well, thank you so much, Luciaa! I’ll do my best to write more, and with any luck I’ll find publishers to publish them!
Sunday, August 5
Q I really enjoy the way you write!!!
Posted by Fernando, Mexico
A Thanks, Fernando!
Q I just read The Paradise Trap and I was wondering if you were making a sequel. I hope you can!
Posted by Derek, Haverhill
A To be honest, Derek, I haven’t been contemplating a direct sequel to The Paradise Trap. However, I’ve written another book called Save (which should be released in the next year or so, by the same publisher), and it shares a lot of the same characteristics as The Paradise Trap, though aimed at a slightly older age group. Save is very fast and colourful, like a roller-coaster ride, with lots of humour, lots of eccentric characters, and lots of jumping around from world to world. So perhaps you’ll enjoy it just as much as The Paradise Trap.
Monday, February 20
Q You say your writing is done on the “Genius” series because you have “sorted things” between Cadel & Prosper, but you haven’t. Does Cadel really know if Prosper is dead or alive?
Posted by Dawn, Ellsworth
A I think Cadel is hoping Prosper isn’t dead, while at the same time being afraid that he’s still alive. Which he isn’t. The whole point of that ending was to underline the extremely equivocal nature of their relationship – the love/hate thing. And I didn’t want Prosper’s body showing up somewhere. You don’t do that when someone’s larger than life. Prosper’s always going to haunt Cadel, because he’s part of Cadel, but he’s never going to come back and ruin Cadel’s life.
Wednesday, January 4
Q My name is Iva and I am ten years old. I am in 5th grade and I go to Franklin School. I live in Park Ridge, Illinois. I have two brothers and two stepsisters. I love reading books, especially your books. I’m reading one of your books now called Eglantine. I love the part when Allie tries to figure out Eglantine’s story because she had all these cool ideas and she was a good writer. I liked Eglantine’s story, and I liked how you kept everything a mystery. I can’t believe you wrote 39 books! That’s a lot. I think it is very cool that you were born in Brisbane. I think its cool that you studied medieval history at university. How are your husband and daughter doing? I love the name Hannah and my brother’s name is Peter. What’s your next story going to be about? I have an idea about this girl that wanted a dog since she was two but she got one on her 14th birthday and the dog died a year later and every time she goes in the woods to think about her dog she gets closer and closer to finding out that the dog is alive but trapped in the woods forever. Did you believe in ghosts when you were little since you wrote a ghost story? Where do you get all your ideas? Where did you get married? Where do you live now?
P.S. you have great ideas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted by Iva, Park Ridge, Illinois
A What a lovely message, Iva – and I’m sorry it’s taken me a while to get back to you. (I was very busy over the Christmas/New Year period.) Thanks for your praise of Eglantine; I’m glad to know that someone in America is reading that book! Did you know there were three sequels in the series? They’re called Eustace, Eloise and Elysium. If you liked the first book, I think you might like the others as well.
My husband and daughter are doing fine – thanks for asking – and I’m sure Hannah will be glad to know that you admire her name. To answer your other questions: I got married in Sydney, Australia; I live in the Blue Mountains, about 90 minutes’ drive from the centre of Sydney; and my next story (or at least, the next one you’re going to see in America, this spring) is about a smelly old trailer that happens to have a kind of magical basement underneath it, with doors that lead to people’s ultimate dream vacations. It’s called The Paradise Trap. As for my ideas, I get them from music I hear, films I see, things I read, and stories people tell me.
By the way, your idea is a very good one. Seriously. I think you should turn it into a short story. And I have to admit don’t really believe in ghosts, but I’m not averse to having my mind changed, because I love hearing about them.
Sunday, September 11
Q I love your book, The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group. It’s a great book too. I’ve read it eight times! I was just thinking about it when a thought hit me! What if it was a movie? Now, it’s just an idea but it would be a great movie! It’s got a bit of humor, action, mild violence, excitment and just a great book! So…if it a great book, it would be a great movie. Like I said before it’s just an idea and I’m sure many other fans would agree, it’s up to you really. Please think about it and please reply.
Posted by Lilly, Queanbeyan, NSW
A Wow, Lilly – eight times! I’m so glad you like it that much; a lot of people don’t seem to at all. So I’m not sure it’ll ever be made into a movie, because usually books have to be very, very popular before anyone’s willing to put up the massive amounts of money you need to film a book. I certainly don’t have enough money (you’d need at least ten million dollars), and I don’t know anyone who does. That’s why none of my books have been made into movies. A couple of Hollywood producers have been interested in one of them, but were never able to raise enough money from the big studios.
I agree with you, though. I think The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group would make an okay movie. And I think The Reformed Vampire Support Group would make an even better one. Have you read that book, by the way? It’s the prequel to the werewolf book, though Toby isn’t in it.
Sunday, August 28
Q I had read your book Eglantine and I want the full story from Eglantine. I would be very happy if you write me the story.
Posted by Sander, Cologne, Germany
A I’m so sorry, Sander, but I wrote that book years and years and years ago, and I can no longer remember what the end of the story was going to be! I’ve written so many books since then … it’s all gone out of my head. (And I have a lousy memory.)
But I’m so very pleased that you’ve read the book – I didn’t know that I had readers of Eglantine in Germany! I’m also very impressed that you wrote to me in English: thank you so much for making the effort. I love to hear from your part of the world.
Sunday, August 7
Q At school we are now reading Eloise and so far we are loving the book! We all think it is the best one yet! I was wondering if you visit schools?
Posted by Cassandra, Blacktown, NSW
A I haven’t for a while, Cassandra. I’ve been too busy writing. But if I’m ever scheduled for a public appearance anywhere, I always post it on my ‘upcoming events’ page.
Wednesday, August 3
Q I am really, really enjoying Evil Genius.
Posted by Angus, Adelaide
A Well, thank you, Angus! I appreciate that! And I hope you still like it just as much after you finish it!
Friday, June 17
Q We have another school project based on Eustace and we have to create an Imovie based on one of the scenes… my group and me have chosen the scene where they go to collect readings… could you please help me with a few ideas for the script we have used the information from your book but we need more! Thanks for replying to my last question.
Posted by Cassandra, Blacktown, NSW
A I’m sorry, Cassandra, but I have a very poor memory for a lot of my books. Are you talking about the section where they’re in the house that is supposed to be haunted by Eustace because they’ve found all these little caches of objects? I vaguely recall it, but can’t remember any details, like who exactly was involved. I certainly can’t add to the information that’s already on the page, because I wrote it all so long ago. Maybe if you have any specific questions about character, or motivation, or scenery, I could try to answer them. (Especially if you gave me a chapter and page reference.) But at the moment my memory’s too vague – as is your question. What exactly do you need more of, and why?
Saturday, June 4
Q I LOVE the Allie’s Ghost Hunters series… We have been reading the series as a shared novel in class. We have almost finished Eustace and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series.
Posted by Kate, Bankstown, NSW
A Thank you very much, Kate; it’s nice to know that you’re enjoying Allie Ghost Hunters even though you’re being forced to read the books! Maybe it’s partly because at least two of the books are set near where you go to school; as a matter of fact, when I used to live in Dulwich Hill (near Allie’s house), I occasionally used to go shopping in Bankstown!
Q I’m a great fan of the Eglantine series. At school we are reading Eustace and we have to pretend that we are you and answer questions based on you for this interveiw… so what sort of questions would someone ask you?
Posted by Cassandra, Blacktown, NSW
A One question would be: “Why did you set this book in Hill End? Did you ever see a ghost there?” (The answer would be no, though I’ve been assured that the museum – ie. the old hospital – is haunted.) Another question might be: “Why did you write a sequel to Eglantine and then why did you keep writing more sequels?” (The answer to this would be: every time I had a ghost story idea I would give it to Allie and her friends, because it was the easiest thing to do! Though when I originally wrote Eglantine, I didn’t have a sequel in mind.) A third question might be: “Why do you like writing ghost stories?” (The answer would be that I love writing ghost stories because I love listening to them; I don’t think there are many people in the world who don’t enjoy a good ghost story.)
Wednesday, May 4
Q Are you planning a sequel to The Genius Wars? I’d love to know what happens next.
Posted by Andy, San Jose, California
A Alas, no, Andy – that’s it for Cadel, I’m afraid. The poor guy has to start living some kind of life, but he can’t do that with Prosper hanging over him. The trouble is, without Prosper, it’s a whole different ball game. So . . . I can’t write any more, I’m sorry. (Anyway, they’re so hard to write that I just can’t bear the thought of doing it again!)
Wednesday, March 30
Q I seriously think you should consider writing either a new story as a fourth Evil Genius book or some kind of wrap up as to what happened with Prosper. These books are amazing.
Posted by Gage, Hutchison
A The trouble is, Gage, that I’m all written out when it comes to the Genius books. Not only are they incredibly difficult books to write, but they revolve around the relationship between Cadel and Prosper, and I think Cadel’s pretty much outgrown Prosper by now – or at least, he has to outgrow him, if he wants to have any kind of decent life. I wouldn’t know where else to go with that relationship, even if Prosper did survive (which, in my mind, he didn’t).
But I’m grateful for your kind words of praise. It’s always wonderful to hear that my books are ‘amazing’ – it makes me feel as if all my efforts didn’t go to waste!
Sunday, March 6
Q I had just wanted to know if you have come up with a 4th Evil Genius book?I say this because the first three books peaked my interest very much, yet your books remind me of the books series H.I.V.E which is also about a school for evil children and is very secretive…anyway you should read them. Also if you had a mind like Cadel’s would you use it for evil or good??
Posted by Janella, New York
A As a matter of fact, H.I.V.E was published not long after Evil Genius first came out in Australia, so any similarity was completely coincidental! And I’m not planning to write another Genius book, even though everyone seems eager for me to do so …
If I had a mind like Cadel’s, I wouldn’t need to use it for evil. I could make a fortune being law-abiding. One thing that you notice about the majority of people who break the law (as I’ve discovered after talking to friends of mine who’ve worked in and around corrective services) is that most of them – not all of them but most of them – are very stupid. And the ones who are bright tend to lack emotional intelliegnce, or are suffering from some kind of personality disorder. Because the fact is, if you have half a brain and are living in a reasonably affluent and democratic society, it’s much easier to make a living as a law-abiding citizen than it is as a criminal.
Q I heard that you’re not making a fourth Evil Genius book and I think too many things were left unsaid. Like where is Wilfreda and did Prosper really survive and did Gazo ever join the police force? I am sorry but I just have to know these things or I’ll never get any sleep.
Posted by Rex, Kennewick
A I’ll tell you what I’ve told everyone else, Rex: Prosper is dead to me, but if some readers want to believe he’s still alive, and write fan-faction about him, then I’ve given them the means to do so. I think Wilfreda is probably in Mexico and I doubt very much that Gazo’s going to be joining the police force any time soon, because I’m fairly sure that the police would regard his unfortunate disability as too much of a risk. But that’s just my opinion.
Monday, January 10
Q I love your book The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group. I was just wondering who the male model is in the cover.
Posted by Sammy, Brisbane
A I’m afraid I’ve no idea, Sammy – I believe it was a stock photo and could have come from anywhere in the world. But I’m glad you liked the book!
Sunday, November 28
Q My friend tells me you have bought out a 5th Allie’s Ghost Hunters story. If it is true please contact me, if not please say if you are bringing out one please. I love your books and I want to know if there are new ones out.
Posted by Rupert, Melbourne
A Oh Rupert, I’m so sorry, but your friend is mistaken. I haven’t written a fifth book in that series. I wish I had, since you enjoy them so much; maybe one day I will, if I have a good ghost idea, though it won’t be for a while yet. (Maybe your friend saw an old-style cover in a shop somewhere.)
Sunday, October 10
Q I’m in year eight and I have to write 200 words (yes, I know it’s not a lot) on your book, Piggy in the Middle. The question set was: ‘is the language used by the narrator typically Australian? If so, how is this created? If not, how would you describe the language used? I realise that within your book, you have made reference to typically Australian things (e.g. Aboriginals, Sydney Harbour…) but I didn’t think the language YOU used was very Australian. I was wondering if you have any ideas how to describe the language you used? I understand you can’t answer the question for me but I’d apprieciate the help. thank you!
Posted by Kate, Western Sydney
A Sorry about the delay in replying, but I’ve been away in America, unable to respond – so I hope this isn’t too late!
It’s an odd sort of question that you’ve asked; what does ‘typically Australian’ actually mean? Having changed my spelling and word use to suit the American market, I should tell you that the narrator’s language in Piggy in the Middle is not something that would have been tolerated in the American market, simply because a lot of the words wouldn’t have been understood or spelled properly. But the language certainly wasn’t slangy or colloquial, because it wasn’t first-person narrative. The slangy and colloquial language was used only by the characters in their speech.
Friday, August 20
Q Why did you include Ty Porrix into The Future Trap?
Posted by Elena, Sydney
A I’ve got something really, really embarrassing to admit, Elena. I don’t remember why I included Ty Porrix in The Future Trap. I don’t even remember who Ty Porrix is. It’s been so long since I wrote that book that almost everything about it – except the heroine’s name – utterly escapes me, though I’m sure if I flicked through the book it might jog my memory a bit.
I’m sorry to be be so unhelpful. It’s just that twenty years is such a long time, and I’ve written so many other books in the interim …
Friday, June 18
Q What are your awards and what are your most popular books? What are your hobbies and what obstacles have you been through? When did you get married?
Posted by Lacey, Adelaide
A I’ve won three Children’s Book Council of Australia awards, two Davitt Awards for Crime fiction, one Victorian Premier’s Award, one Aurealis Award for science fiction, one IBBY award, and a lot of shortlistings.
I don’t know which of my books are th emost popular, though the best-selling book at the the moment is probably Evil Genius.
My hobbies are reading, gardening and watching movies.
I got married in 1992 (and am still married).
Obstacles? Asthma, probably.
Tuesday, June 15
Q I am trying to find other books in the Bonequest saga. I have The Secret of Hermitage Isle but can’t find any others. Are there any more books in that series and where can I get them? Otherwise are there any other similar books you have written? My kids really enjoyed Hermitage Isle. They are 9 and 10. Thanks.
Posted by Glenis, Geraldton, WA
A Sorry about the delay in replying, Glenis, and I really, really wish that I could help you, but The Secret of Hermitage Isle sold so badly that the ABC cancelled its plans to publish any sequels – even though I had one all mapped out! (It was about Vikings.) As a consequence, of course, I wasn’t able to produce any other cartoon books; it was felt that the comic-strip format itself didn’t appeal to teacher librarians.
However, if your kids enjoyed my book, they’re bound to enjoy the Asterix books – have you tried them? I loved Asterix and Tintin when I was your kids’ age; in fact those books were highly influential in my development as a writer.
Q My class has these contracts about your ‘Allie’s Ghost Hunters’ books and this term, we are doing Eustace. One of the activities is called surfing the net and I just wanted to ask you where and when the story was taking place. Well, I actually know where it is set but I don’t exactly know when. So could you please answer? Thank you very much.
Posted by Alannah, Blacktown, NSW
A I’m so pleased that your class is doing Eustace! How fantastic! I didn’t know anyone was interested in that book any more; people tend to be more interested in the first book, Eglantine. Thank you so much for telling me!
To be honest, I set the book in the year that I wrote it. If you look at one of the first inside pages, you’ll see a publication date in very small writing. (It generally says ‘First published in …’ or ‘Copyright’). That’s the year in which the story is set.
By the way, I have a new book coming out this year which is set around Doonside and Mount Druitt and Blacktown, where you live. It’s called The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group. It’s for young adults, so it’s probably a bit old for you right now, but the teachers at your school might want to look out for it anyway!
Friday, May 21
Q Well, I’m doing a book report on your book The Reformed Vampire Support Group and I have to answer the question if Nina had only one year to live what would she do, and I can’t answer it because the book was stolen from me before I could finish it and I can’t find any other library that has them checked in!
Posted by Christian, Laguna Hills, California
A Is Laguna Hills anywhere near Laguna Beach? Because I’ve been to Laguna Beach – which features in The Genius Wars (due out in the U.S. this September). A very nice spot, I thought!
Anyway, I’m sorry to hear about the stolen book and I don’t know if I’m getting back to you in time, but if Nina had only one year to live, she’d probably be delighted – because it would mean that she was no longer a vampire (vampires being immortal, and all). So she’d probably do all the things normal people can do: go out in the sunlight, eat real food, spend time around other people, etc., etc.
Hope that helps!
Sunday, April 4
Q I love your book, Eglantine and I am just asking, if you wanted a letter from a student like me, what kind of questions from the book Eglantine would you like to be asked? This is because at school, we are doing work on it. I am just asking, what are some hidden facts about Eglantine and well, I just want to know more about the book. P.S. I love Eglantine very much and I can’t wait to read the others.
Posted by Alannah, New South Wales
A I’ll tell you one interesting fact, Alannah. The book is dedicated to Ursula Dubosarsky because she gave me the idea for it. She was talking about how grafitti had appeared on the side of her house overnight, but that it was in a strange-looking language she couldn’t understand. She found that very creepy – it could have been a curse or anything, she said. That’s how I got the idea of the writing on the wall.
Another interesting fact is that, like all the ghosts in the ‘Allie’ series, Eglantine is hanging around on earth because she has a desperate need for something. In this case, it’s a desperate need to finish writing her book. And I know what that’s like, believe me; I always feel a bit out of sorts until I finish the last word of my first draft, at the very least. Then I can relax a bit.
The last interesting fact is that I actually talked to a paranormal investigator when I was researching this book! That’s how I found out about the machinery and so forth.
Q I have just finished reading Evil Genius and I have to say that it is the BEST and most AMAZING book I have ever read. My favorite character is Cadel and I want to have an Evil Genius themed birthday party (although my mom says that twelve year olds are too old for themed birthday parties, I disagree.) I’m going to get Genius Squad and I already have Genius Squad wallpaper on my computer. Thanks for writing such a great book.
Posted by Daisy, New York City
A Fantastic, Daisy! Thanks so much! I just hope you like Genius Squad as much as Evil Genius! And did you know that the last book in the trilogy, The Genius Wars, will be published in America in late September? In fact I’m hoping to be in New York around then to promote it (if all goes well), so if there’s any chance of a public appearance, I’ll post details of it on my ‘Upcoming Events’ page. That way, we might even meet face to face!
Thursday, March 25
Q I am a girl at a school and I am asking you, Where had the story in Eglantine taken place? And I can do the rest of it so you don’t need to know. Thank you very much, From Alannah P.S. Please answer ASAP.
Posted by Alannah, Blacktown, New South Wales
A Eglantine takes place in Sydney – specifically, in the inner west, around suburbs like Dulwich Hill and Marrickville.
Sunday, February 28
Q My name is Tara and I am 10 years old. My sister is called Emili (she has asked you several questions)and she has recommended that I read one of your books. The only problem is, I don’t know which book to start off with! If you could just take the time to help me pick one out, I will be very happy! Hopefully I will like your books and continue to read them as I grow older.
Posted by Tara, Adelaide
A Okay, Tara – that’s a good question. The answer kind of depends on how advanced a reader you are, and what kind of stories you like. If you’re fond of ghost stories, and you don’t want to read something big and chunky (like Evil Genius, for instance) I would recommend that you try my Allie’s Ghost Hunters series; there are four books, and they’re called Eglantine, Eustace, Eloise and Elysium. My daughter really likes those, and she doesn’t like all my books by a long shot.
I also know of some ten-year-olds who have liked Pagan’s Crusade, though they were fairly advanced readers. And I wrote a comic
historical novel for younger readers called The Stinking Great Lie, though you’ll only find that in libraries; it’s out of print, now.
But if I were you, I’d start with the ghost stories and see what you think; if they’re too easy, you can always have a bash at Evil Genius! And don’t worry: they’re not really, really scary ghost stories. More spooky, really. Spooky but a bit funny, as well.
Friday, February 26
Q My name’s Steel, and I’m 11 years old. I’m really into ghost stuff, paranormal talents. I really like your books about Allie! And I have a few questions for you….. 1. Why did you write about Allie? 2. Have you had a paranormal experiance before? and 3. How do you know about this kind of stuff? Thank you.
Posted by Steel, South Australia
A Well, I wrote about Allie because I needed a main character for my Eglantine story; first of all I had the idea about a ghost writing on a wall, and then I had to find some characters to tell that story. Afterwards, I had more ghost ideas and used Allie again because she already existed and she was a strong enough character to hang more stories on.
I have never had a paranormal experience, though I’ve heard other people relate their experiences. I guess I know about this kind of stuff because I did a lot of research into the paranormal once I’d had my idea for Eglantine. I have to admit, I love a good ghost story – especially if it’s told to me by someone who was ‘actually there’, or by someone who knew someone who was actually there. I’m not sure I actually believe in ghosts, though.
Saturday, February 19
Q I would just like to say I thought your book Evil Genius was brilliant! and nowIi have only noticed that there was another 2 books about Cadel Piggot so I look forward to reading them!
Posted by Blake, Christchurch, New Zealand
A Thanks so much, Blake – I just hope you like the next two books as much as the first one!
Q If you could have any superpower in the world, what would it be and why? P.S. I absolutely ADORE your books. You create amazing, complicated plots…You rock! NEVER STOP WRITING!!!!!
Posted by Emili, Adelaide
A Hmmm. Superpower. You know what it would be? Perfect health – always. No allergies. No inherited foot problems. No asthma. No bad back … fantastic.
And don’t worry, Emili – I don’t think I ever will stop writing, though I’ll probably slow down quite a lot as I grow older (and my health problems inevitably overtake me). But if I didn’t write I’d probably go mad, so I’ll definitely keep writing.
Sunday, January 31
Q Did you get the name Niobe from Niobium (atomic number 41)? I really enjoyed Evil Genius and Genius Squad but I’ve still got to read The Genius Wars.
Posted by Jackson, Bendigo, Victoria
A No, I came up with the name Niobe because I was looking for a name beginning with the sound ‘Ni’. You see, ‘Gemini’ is the astrological sign for twins, and I wanted the twins’ nicknames to be Jem’n’Ni – that’s why I chose Jemima and Niobe.
Sunday, December 6
Q Where did you come up with the names like Cadel and Thaddeus Roth? They are all fascinating names especially Cadel. I love it!
Posted by Shane, Griffith
A To tell you the truth, I got them out of a nifty little book called Names for Girls and Boys, by Carole Boyer. My mother bought that book when she was pregnant with me (46 years ago), so she could choose a name for her new baby – and then she gave it to me 13 years ago, when I was pregnant with my daughter. That book has been worth every cent she paid for it; I’ve found most of my character names inside!
Monday, November 30
Q What made you want to write Evil Genius and Genius Squad?
Posted by Rial, Mukilteo
A I needed to write Genius Squad because poor Cadel had been left in a kind of limbo, at the end of Evil Genius – I needed to rescue him from that. But I wrote Evil Genius for the same reason I write most of my books: I got a really good idea (the University of Evil), then put it together with another idea (an angelic-looking kid who’s really a nasty little piece of work), and the story just started to grow from there.
Monday, October 19
Q I’m doing a bit of research for an essay on the Albigensian Crusade and it’s relevant I include some information about Montgiscard around the 1220’s. Seeing as that is when Pagan’s Daughter is set, I was wondering if you could possibly have any information on it? For example, size, population. Beautiful books, they’ve left me spellbound.
Ella, Ipswitch, Queensland
A I’m sorry, Ella, but all I know about Montgiscard is the fact that Simon de Monfort rode in there on 28 August 1216. I don’t think it was a terribly important town in the scheme of things, was it? Not like Carcassonne or Toulouse or Beziers. Sorry I can’t be more help. It looks as if you’ll have to get stuck into a good academic library somewhere – if you lived in New South Wales, I’d recommend Sydney University Library, which has a reasonably good stock of Albigensian-related material. (To be honest, I’d be very surprised if there was a lot of stuff on Montgiscard, especially in English; anything available is probably going to be in French.)
Wednesday, August 26
Q I have been wondering for a bit after the second book came out have you ever thought about giving Cadel a love interest? I mean he is 15; shouldn’t he have a crush or be interested in somebody?
Posted by Laticia, Silver Lakes, California
A Cadel did experience a flicker of ‘love interest’ at school, before he was plunged into the maelstrom of the Axis Institute – but at that stage, of course, he was emotionally stunted. Since then, he’s matured a lot, and has definitely learned to love people (like Sonja and Saul). But with his kind of background, and the amount of upheaval he continues to experience, schoolboy crushes have been forced onto the backburner. Once his life stabilises a bit, I expect he’ll have time for a bit of dalliance. But then, of course, he’ll face the thorny issue of exactly how he feels about Sonja …
Monday, July 27
Q I LOVED The Reformed Vampire Support Group!! I liked your writing style so I got the only other book in at the time by you, Genius Squad and now that makes me mad that I didn’t read Evil Genius first but it’s due at the library so I’m waiting! Is there going to be a second Refomed Vampire Support Group or was that a one time deal? Love your books!!
Posted by Scout, Southampton, NY
A I’m so glad you’re enjoying my books, Scout. (Love that name, by the way; anything to do with To Kill a Mockingbird, one of my all-time favourites?) The good news is that I’m writing the RVSG sequel at this very moment – it’s going to be called The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group. Unfortunately, however, you probably won’t get to see it in print for a couple of years, because writing, editing and publishing books takes so LONG. But I have two other books coming out next year in the U.S. – Living Hell and The Genius Wars – so perhaps they’ll tide you over!
Friday, May 22
Q Thanks, for replying to my question I asked a while back. Once again, I’m really a huge fan of yours, and I love your writing style! Are you going to make a 4th book to the Evil Genius series? Or are you just making it a trilogy? I’m an artist and I was going to draw Cadel and Thaddeus, maybe, on the cover of the first book. I was wondering when I do it, would you like a copy? Keep up the great work!
Posted by Ali, Gainesville
A No, I’m afraid book number three is going to be the last. I just haven’t got another one in me. And sure, I’d love to see your drawing – you can send it to me via my agent Margaret Connolly, P.O. Box 945 Wahroonga, NSW, 2076, Australia.
Tuesday, May 12
Q WOOHOO! I LUV THE BOOK EVIL GENIUS! I checked it out from my school library! PLZ PLZ PLZ WRITE A LOT MORE BOOKS! (I KNOW I SPELLED PLZ WRONG! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!)
Posted by Lynsey, Cedarburg
A Well, I’m glad you feel so strongly about it Lynsey! Thanks very much! But don’t get too excited – you don’t want to hurt yourself!
Wednesday, April 8
Q Hi my name is Sam and I am 10. I am currently reading Evil Genuis. The first day I checked it out of the school’s library, I gave it to my mom because she asked me what it was about. My mom read the first page and said to me, “Oh god sam read the first page. There is something wrong with it.” So I read it. At first, I I didn’t know what was wrong with it. So I asked what was wrong with it. Then she read to me. “Mr. and Mrs. Piggott were not Cadel’s real parents. They had adopted him when he was not quite two years old.” Then I understood what you wrote and what she read outload to me. I have a adopted 7 year old sister from China. She is my “real” sister. My mom and I don’t like the comment, “They were not his real parents”. I have to say that when I tell people about the first page comment, I make a joke that if they are not his real parents, then what are they, robots? Of course they are his real parents. They are not his biological parents. A real parent changes diapers, cleans up puke, sit with a child at 3am when they are burning up with fever. A child does not have to come out of your belly for you to be a real parent. Thanks for your time. P.S I really like your book.
Posted by Sam, New York City
A Sorry about that, Sam – I’ve talked to my publisher, and that mistake’s going to be fixed if the book gets reprinted.
Friday, January 30
Q My daughteer loved your book Eglantine and I am trying to purchase them for her but I prefer hardcover. Is there anywhere that I can order them in hardcover from? In the US I can only find them in paperback. Please let me know.
Posted by Rebecca, Corona, California
A Sorry, Rebecca, but Eglantine has never been published in hardcover anywhere. (Very few books in Australia are published in hardcover, these days.) All four of the Allie’s Ghost Hunters series are available only in paperback, I fear.
Thursday, January 15
Q I just happened to stumble upon your Allie’s Ghost Hunters series when I was doing my large order. I ordered the whole series so far. I LOVE THEM! I’m cataloging the books right now, so soon they will be out for my students to enjoy as well. I know they will be very popular. Thanks so much for writing such great middle school and YA novels. Good luck to you! Kristi (A Middle School Librarian in the Middle of the US. )
Posted by Kristi, Marion, Illinois
A Gosh – thanks, Kristi! What a pleasure it is to know that a low-profile little series like Allie’s Ghost Hunters has actually found its way to Illinois. I didn’t realise it had penetrated the American market to that extent; I had a feeling it would disappear without a trace, especially since it has quite an Australian flavour to it. I’m really grateful that you’ve given me a heads-up. It’s one of those nice pieces of news that has brightened my day.
Wednesday, December 17
Q When are you making a sequel to Genius Squad. That series is my favorite, it’s the best book I have ever read. Also what gave you the idea of the characters?
Posted by Olujuwon, Los Angeles
A Thanks very much for your kind words! The idea for Cadel came to me after I saw Elijah Wood in Lord of the Rings; I couldn’t help thinking how much fun it would be to write about a boy who looked as innocent as Frodo, but who was actually quite tricky and dangerous. I think Prosper/Thaddeus just popped into my head, the way a lot of characters do . . . as if they’ve been waiting in the wings. So did Hamish (though he’s based somewhat on one of my brother’s friends, who looked a lot like Hamish in high school). Sonja also had a real-life model; I drew some of my ideas from an Australian book called Annie’s Coming Out, which is the story of a very, very clever girl with bad cerebral palsy (back in the ‘70s) who was treated like a brainless animal until someone realised what lay behind her disability. As for the minor characters, they’re often dictated by the major ones: I have to make them different and distinguishable from the others, so I just think “Well, I haven’t got a chunky, gruff guy yet . . .” and go from there!
Q First, I just wanted to tell you that I absolutely loved the Genius books! They are really really good. I know you have been asked this before, but when is the release date for The Genius Wars – in Australia? I realise you said 2010, but is that only for the American release?
Posted by Betty, Brisbane
A I’m not quite sure what the exact release date in Australia; at one point it was going to be early 2010, but I just heard some talk recently of very late 2009. Either way, you’ll be waiting at least a year for it – and I’ve got a feeling that my American readers will be waiting even longer! Sorry about that. It just takes so long to publish these things, what with the editing, and the proof-reading, and the marketing, and the printing . . .
Friday, November 21
Q I’m using your book Evil Genius for my school project. I hate to say this but your book went kinda slow. But I read the whole thing anyway. It got interesting (200 pgs later). Abraham and Thaddeus are my favorite characters and I almost SCREAMED in the middle of class when I figured out that Thaddues was Cadel’s REAL father and I almost cried when Abraham died. (Because I love vampires.) I’m also a writter but I can’t seem to finish anything I start….. I would like some of your help. You are also welcome to read some of my stories (finished or not). My friends think I’m an awesome writer but they’re disappointed I can’t finish everything. Maybe we should have a chat sometime. You could probably help me. Also can you write a book for me? I can give you characters and a plot and you can use your awesome creative mind to……write? Or make it interesting? You don’t have to. I’m not the kind to push adults! Well hopefully I can talk to you sometime. (By the way I always wanted to go to Australia!)
Posted by Mew, Panama City, Florida
A I always say to young writers (and I assume you’re pretty young, because I had to fix up some of your spelling!) that not finishing things is something all young writers have to do. You see, kids grow and mature so fast that they can’t possibly spend a year writing a book (the way most adult novelists do) because a year can change them into different people. When I was a kid, I very rarely finished anything I started for that very reason.
Of course, short stories are different, but I don’t know much about short stories – I’m a novelist, and novelists are long-distance runners, not sprinters.
Another piece of advice I often give people who can’t finish things because they get ‘writer’s block’ is to write a complete synopsis, or plan, of the story before they actually start the book itself. I always do that, and I always finish my stories. (The more detailed the synopsis, the better.) Also, I use music to keep me in the right mood; for instance, I find various pieces of theme music that capture the spirit of my story, and play those songs whenever I need to get back into the world I’m writing about.
As far as writing your stories, Mew … well, I don’t think I could do that, because I can only write my own stories, which are part of who I am – the way your stories are part of who you are. Anyway, you shouldn’t just give your stories away. Even if you don’t feel competent to write them up now, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to later. (I once had an idea when I was about thirteen, and didn’t use it in a book until fifteen years later.) And if you don’t mind, I’d rather not publicise my telephone number by posting it on the Internet. But if you have any more questions, I’m always available on this message board.
Q When will the next Evil Genius book come out? So far I have read the two books, (Evil Genius and Genius Squad) and I totally love them. And my other question is: are there any other books like Evil Genius I can maybe read? Because I really love how the book contains violence and all that stuff. Anyways, great booookss!!!!
Posted by Andy, Lorton
A It looks as if The Genius Wars will be published some time in 2010, because I won’t get it finished until early next year, and books take a while to get published. (Sorry.) But I’m glad you liked the first two. As for other books like them … well, if it’s the violence you enjoy, I suppose my historical novels Pagan’s Crusade, Pagan in Exile, Pagan’s Vows and Pagan’s Scribe are pretty violent, because they’re set in medieval times, and there’s a lot of warfare … especially in the second and fourth books. However, if you prefer contemporary stories …. hmm. Well, there’s ‘Harry Potter, I guess (though you’ve probably read all them!) and I believe there’s a book called HIVE about a spy school. (I can’t remember who wrote it.) If I were you, I’d ask a librarian. Librarians always know a lot about what books to read. And some bookshop owners do too (though not all!).
Sunday, November 9
Q Are you writing any new Allie’s Ghost Hunters books? I’ve read all of them and they are awesome books!
Posted by River
A Thank you so much! I’m so glad you enjoyed them! And I wish I could say I was writing number five, but I don’t have any immediate plans to write any more. I do, however, have this image of the ghost of a sweep’s boy stuck in a chimney … it’s such a neat idea for a ghost that I might try to turn it into another Ghost Hunter book, one of these days. Unfortunately, right now I’m so busy writing books for older readers that it’s going to be at least two years before I can even think about anything else.
Q What sorts of things are you going to intertwine in the plot with Cadel?
Posted by Danielle, Hampstead
A Gosh, Danielle – that’s a big question. Are you talking about The Genius Wars, by any chance? Because I can tell you that there’s going to be a lot of hacking (into elevator management systems, and traffic management systems, and closed-circuit TV systems), and there are going to be some real-life characters in the book, and you’re also going to see Prosper English again – but I don’t want to spoil the surprise too much!
Sunday, September 21
Q Who are the main or sub characters in Genius Squad?
Posted by Sam, Alpharetta
A I’m not sure what you mean by ‘sub characters’ – I’ve never heard that term before. The main characters are pretty obvious: you can pick them up from the dust jacket. They are Cadel Piggott and Prosper English. Other important characters include Saul, Sonja, Hamish, Lexi and Devin.
Monday, September 1
Q Do you think audio books for the Allie series of Ghost Hunter books, besides Eglantine, will be coming out soon? I am 8 years old (my dad is typing this as I talk), and I loved the Eglantine story, because I draw while I listen… and that is a great book to draw to.
Posted by Cassandra, Philadelphia, PA
A I’m very glad you liked Eglantine, and I wish I could be more helpful, but I’m not absolutely sure when (or if) audio books of the rest of the series will be released in the U.S. However, Australian audio books of Eustace and Eloise (books two and three) are available if you order through Amazon.com – I don’t know how you’d feel about listening to Australian accents!
Friday, July 18
Q I loved Evil Genius, and Genius Squad. I was wondering if you bring a lot of the people from the Axis Institute to The Genius Wars, meaning the surviving staff and students. Or do they just disappear, as backround characters, slight mentions, or just disappear?
Posted by Zoe, Tappan, New York
A A few students from the Axis Institute are scheduled to come back in The Genius Wars – as will at least one staff member – but most of those people are either dead or, for obvious reasons, aren’t keen to make their continued survival known. So you won’t be seeing too many of them in the last book; for one thing, the cast of characters is already so huge that I can’t bring in new ones unless I lose a few old ones!
Friday, July 11
Q Will your book The Reformed Vampire Support Group be for young adults? Because I love your Evil Genius books.
Posted by Andrew, Fulda
A Yes, The Reformed Vampire Support Group is definitely for young adults – and it’s nice to know you love my other books!
Tuesday, July 8
Q I love the your books the Evil Genius and the Genius Squad which I just finished. It was both amazing and addicting. At night I just wished that it would be morning so I could continue reading it. Anyways I was wondering if Genius Wars will be the last one of that series (I hope not).
Posted by Mylan, Carlsbad
A I wish I could oblige you, Mylan, but I couldn’t possibly write another sequel after The Genius Wars. I just don’t think I’ve got it in me to write yet another enormous and complicated book. All the same, I’m very glad you’ve enjoyed the first two.
Saturday, June 7
Q In Genius Squad at the end Cadel decides to live with Fiona and Saul. Will he run away from them too?
Also, how do you pronounce Cadel?
Posted by Jane, Chicago
A I’m afraid I can’t answer your first question, or I would spoil the third book for everyone. But to answer your second question: when I wrote Evil Genius I thought it was pronounced ‘Cay-dle’; now, however, I know that it’s pronounced with the emphasis on the second syllable – ‘Cuh-delle’.
Tuesday, June 3
Q When will Genius Wars be published in the US/Canada?
Posted by Tim, Delta, BC, Canada
A Gee, this is a popular question! I wish I could tell you exactly when, but all I can say is that it should be out in 2010 some time (I hope).
Friday, May 16
Q When is the expected release for Genius Wars? I love the Evil Genius series by the way, I am so hooked.
Posted by Lora, New Orleans
A I’m still writing The Genius Wars, so I’m not absolutely sure when it will be published, but I suspect that the publication date will be some time in 2010. Next year I’ve got a different kind of book coming out: it’s called The Reformed Vampire Support Group.
Wednesday, May 14
Q I have just read the Bone Quest Saga Book 1 to my kids and was wondering when Book 2 of the series was going to be published?
Posted by Caron, Brisbane, Australia
A I’m awfully sorry, but ABC Books were so disappointed with the sales of that title, they decided not to go ahead with the series. So there isn’t a book two, and probably never will be – even though I’ve got rough sketches squirrelled away somewhere.
Tuesday, May 6
Q Are there any – I hope, I hope – plans for a USA book signing tour?.
Posted by V. N. Weiner, New Orleans
A I sure wish there were, but I think you have to be really important to score a USA book-signing tour. I will be in the US soon, but only for the Book Expo of America, in Los Angeles; I’ll be signing books there on Friday, May 30th. So if you’re in LA, by all means come to my booth!
Wednesday, February 20
Q I really want to know if Thaddeus Roth is going to be in the next book. He is a unique character and I think he is interesting. He always tells Cadel how to get away with the wrong stuff he does.
Posted by Chase, Norfolk
A Don’t worry – Thaddeus will definitely be appearing in Genius Squad, and in The Genius Wars as well! He’s a very, very important person in Cadel’s life.
Sunday, October 28
Q What is your favorite place in the whole wide world?
Posted by Isobel and Thea, Melbourne
A My favourite place in the world tends to be wherever I’m writing about. But I suppose if you’re talking about a real place, it would be a medieval Italian monastery cloister – pretty much any medieval Italian monastery cloister!
Tuesday, October 9
Q I really love your Pagan books. I read them all in less than a week! Is there going to be any more about Pagan or any of the people in those books? Thanks.
Posted by Ellie, Adelaide
A I have to admit that one of these days I’d like to write one more book – a sequel to Pagan’s Daughter – which would round off the series nicely. But I’m afraid it won’t be for a couple of years because there are so many other things I have to write first!
Saturday, September 29
Q My nine year old borrowed Eglantine from our local library. I was disgusted to find you had used the word wanker in a book aimed at children. I have complained to my library and wish to give you the oppotunity to explain why you have seen fit to use said word in a childrens publications. I personally do not wish my child to be reading such thing.
Posted by Penny, Swaffham
A I’ll have a word with my publisher about removing that word if there’s a reprint. My only defence is that the word has two meanings in Australia, and I (and my publisher, and my copyeditor, and my proofreader) obviously had the more harmless, commonly used definition so firmly in the forefront of our minds that we completely overlooked the more dubious alternative definition! (In light of your strong feelings about the appearance of this word in a kids’ book, a letter to the publisher might have been better than expressing yourself on a Kids Message Board, which kids are going to be reading too.)
Friday, September 28
Q Do you really think it’s acceptable for young children to read words like “hell” (in the context of a curse word), “damn,” and even “goddamn”? Also, don’t you think it would be better to use your wonderful gift (and it’s obvious you have much talent) to encourage children to honor God and parents and society rather than just that they will be accepted no matter their behavior (the point I got from Pagan’s Crusade). Finally, I wonder if you would mind telling me your religion?
Posted by Sonya, Jonesborough, Tennessee
A I’m sorry that you don’t like Pagan’s Crusade – perhaps you were misled by the title, and were expecting a more religious sort of book. It isn’t that. It’s also not a book that was written for young children, but for teenagers; in fact, you’ll find most of the comments about Pagan’s Crusade on my Young Adult message board. As for the point of the book, it was supposed to be about learning to love and respect another person, despite a rough upbringing; perhaps for some readers that isn’t as clear as it should be, though a lot of people seem to have picked it up.
Tuesday, August 14
Q I would like to know if you are writing any more Allie’s Ghost Hunters books as they are great books. One of my favourite scary stories. Peter ROCKS.
Posted by Jack, The Blue Mountains, Australia
A Thanks very much, Jack. It’s interesting that you come from the Blue Mountains, because that’s where I live! (I wonder if you go to my daughter’s school?) I’m afraid that I don’t intend to write a fifth Ghost Hunters book in the immediate future, though I do have the germ of an idea about a ghost that might end up as a book eventually.
Thursday, May 16
Q Site looks nice. Will have to look out for your books
Posted by Benedict, Brisbane
A Thanks very much!
Q As an author, what are you going to do about making Cadel Piggott, an evil character, sympathetic to the reader? I’m sure he can have a road to Damascus experience and then try to destroy the academy, but doesn’t that bring him perilously close to being just another adolescent hero out to “get the bad guys?
Posted by Victoria Weiner
A Well, yes – I guess he does have a road to Damascus experience – though he wasn’t BORN bad, he was just brought up that way. Personally, I haven’t got a problem with adolescent heroes out to get the bad guys; this was always a pretty cartoonish idea, you know. (I mean, it’s full of Marvel-style super-freaks.) The thing about Evil Genius is, you either like it or you don’t. There doesn’t seem to be a middle path.
Wednesday, May 16
Q Okay, this is how crazy I am to get this book. While I can’t pay for your trip to the US either–teachers and salaries, you know–If you could give me the e-mail address of a book store in Australia that I could either write to or e-mail, then I could get that book that I’m lusting for! Thanks.
Posted by Victoria Weiner
A I can certainly give you the email address of my local bookshop, which is in walking distance, and where they know me pretty well – email@example.com. I’d be happy to wander up and sign a book for you, at their request; they might even post it to you. However, the book itself would be an Australian edition, and not necessarily a first edition either, since it has been reprinted here. (Paperback too, unfortunately, and not quite the same text as the American version.) How do you feel about a signed book-plate? I think that Harcourt (the American publisher) still has a few – or if not, I can send some more.
Q First let me say how excited I am to finally find that you have a website! I wrote you a snail mail letter once before, telling you how much I love your Pagan Chronicles. They are still my favorite books; they even beat Harry Potter for me! I was absolutely ecstatic to find that Pagan’s Daughter was published last year. I was wondering if there will ever ever EVER be any more books involving characters from the Pagan Chronicles?
Posted by Kallie Pankau
A Hi there, mate! It’s nice to hear from you again, and I’m flattered to hear that Pagan is still holding his own in your affections. To answer your question: yes, I do intend to write one more book featuring Babylonne and Isidore, but not for a couple of years, probably – there are some other things I have to get out of the way first. However, I’m afraid Pagan himself is … well, let’s just say he’s not going to reappear. I don’t think. Though of course I never can tell what might pop into my head in fifteen years’ time.
Tuesday, May 15
Q I am very interested in purchasing a signed first ed. of Evil Genius. Are there any bookstores that are hosting a signing of this book?
Posted by Victoria Weiner
A I only wish there were! But unfortunately I don’t live in the U.S., and thus far no one has offered to pay my fare from Australia so I can sign first editions of Evil Genius over there in the States. My apologies – but thanks for asking. (If there ever comes a time when I am invited to a U.S. signing, I’ll definitely post the location on this website.)
Sunday, April 29
Q Great website! I didn’t realise you had written so many books. Keep them coming.
Posted by Peter
A Thanks, I will!