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Brian FalknerBrian Falkner on The Tomorrow Code

Auckland-based author Brian Falkner's book The Tomorrow Code is due out in October. He talks to The Pulse about writing and his career so far.

Tell us about The Tomorrow Code – is it more of a young adult book than your earlier works?
"Yes, I think so. I wrote it originally as a Young Adult novel, however the editors felt it was more junior fiction, and it was re-edited along those lines. To my mind though, the events, and themes are definitely more mature than my other books."
Is the approach you take different for an older audience?
"Yes. The book is intended to be quite thought-provoking in parts, and quite terrifying in others. This is quite different to the other books, and a lot more planning went into the writing."
Do you enjoy the chance to use more complex story-lines and characters?
"Yes, although it was a lot of hard work, particularly in the editing stages where every interaction between the characters has been analysed and reconsidered. The layering of the storylines is also hard work as each aspect of the story has to fit neatly into each other, like a complex jigsaw. So it was fun and interesting, however it was also a long involved process."
How do you approach writing dialogue? Is it hard to make young characters sound convincing?
"I really try not to force it. By the time I have got to writing the dialogue the characters seem quite real to me, and I feel that I am transcribing what they are saying, rather than putting lines into their mouths. The real difficulty here comes in the editing stage, which is far more analytical, and you are trying to keep the dialogue sounding real and natural, during a process which is quite artificial."
Tell me about your website – you give visitors a chance to submit stories and edit your stories – that’s a bit radical isn’t it?
"I don’t really see it as radical. I have always regarded my website as being a bit of a toy for kids to play with. Changing my photo, making anagrams from my name, putting their names in stories, these kind of things are all part of making the site interactive and fun. Publishing kids stories is a different thing altogether. It is a chance for kids to put their own writing in a place where other kids can read it. That is the essence of publishing. Putting your work into the public arena.
I have all kinds of other ideas of fun and interactive things to do with the website, so keep watching for new developments!"
You’ve been a journalist, a creative writer and a copy writer – how is being a novelist different?
"Chalk and cheese. A journalist’s job is to tell the truth, a copywriter’s is to persuade, but a novelist’s role is to entertain. As an author the stories are not dictated by the facts, or by a client’s desire to sell products, the imperative is quite different."
Writing is a solitary activity – do you write every day – do you have a set routine?
"I do write every day, when I am writing, but that is only for a few months each year. The rest of the year is planning, or editing."
Do you think you will write other types of books – what would they be if you did?
"I would like to have a try at picture books, which I love. But it is a very different skill, and I am not sure I would be successful.
I am quite comfortable really in this genre, so no plans to branch out in the foreseeable future."

Interview: April 2008

Your comments

Anna Jeal, 11 says:

You could lengthen the books but however they have a very interesting story.

December 2009