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Eoin Colfer



THE FOWL TWINS

Twins Myles and Beckett Fowl - the younger brothers of Artemis Fowl - couldn't be more different. Myles is super intelligent and always in a suit; Beckett is blonde, messy and prefers spending time with animals than humans. And he hates wearing clothes.

When Myles and Beckett are left alone in the care of their house security system, NANNI, for a single night, they manage to befriend a troll, get kidnapped by a nun...and nearly die several times over.

EOIN COLFER, author of the bestselling ARTEMIS FOWL books, tells us more!


Q: Can you tell us how the Artemis Fowl adventures first began?

A: The idea for a criminal mastermind teen came from a photo I saw of my little brother in his Holy Communion suit in which I thought he looked like a juvenile James Bond villain and the character sprang from there.

I paired this character with a modern version of the oldest Irish folktale there is, ie a boy who captures a leprechaun for its gold, and took it from there. And 20 years later Artemis is still going, so that photo is kind of my lucky charm.


Q: Artemis's adventures mixed fairy magic with the human world. How do you make us believe your world is real?

A: It's easy to mix the worlds on the page as the reader fills in the details with their own imagination so the joins are not so visible.

What I try to do is explain things very matter of factly as if the reality that I'm proposing is perfectly normal and has always ben the case. I give the same amount of time to real events and items as I do to fictitious ones so that everything hopefully seems real.


Q: Why did you decide it was time to visit the next Fowl generation - Artemis's younger brothers?

A: I have had this story mapped out for years but I needed some time off from the Fowlverse so that I could return to it fresh and enthusiastic. I had planned for a five year break but it actually turned out to be a little longer than that as some of my theatre projects ran longer than I thought.


Q: How did the Fowl twins - who are very different from each other - develop, and what are your favourite characteristics for each of them?

A: I based the twins loosely on my own boys who have some of their characteristics. I love that Beckett operates totally on instinct and is proud of the fact that he does not read books. And Myles is utterly formal at all times and refers to his big brother Artemis as Doctor Fowl.


Q: There are some great villains in the story - which one did you have the most fun creating?

A: I often think that I don't get into the groove of a book until the villain is shaped, and I took extra care with this book to present the readers with a delectable selection of dastardly devils.

My favourite is Sir Teddy Bleedham Drye, the Duke of the Scilly Isles. Teddy wishes to live forever and he prowls the globe searching for any potion or poultice that might elongate his lifespan, and he is fully prepared to shorten the lifespan of anyone who gets in his way.

I have always wanted to put a villain on the page who is gloriously and unapologetically selfish and evil. I think Teddy is the closest I have come to that.


Q: The twins get into some great escapades in book one - what was the hardest fix to get them out of?

A: I like to throw my heroes into peril without any idea as to how I will extricate them. Sometimes this challenge works and sometimes it doesn't.

In this book my favourite challenge was to get the twins out of the port of Amsterdam with a dozen special forces agents on their tail. The solution obviously was to create a new strain of architecture which allowed Myles to collapse a building with a single blow. Simple really.


Q: It's great to see some (otherworld) characters from the Artemis Fowl series make an appearance - who did you really want to make a come-back and who else can we expect to return?

A: The old characters will always be close to my heart but I have to be careful that they don't take over a new series. I think their involvement will be limited to crucial cameos. Having said that, I have always had a weakness for Mulch Diggums the farting dwarf, so I have a suspicion he will be thrown into the mix at some point.


Q: Will we see much of Artemis, who is only referred to in the Fowl Twins' first adventure? Have you missed him not being around?

A: Even though Artemis is in space, he looms large over the twins' first adventure. He does pop up in video form which is a handy format for me, but I think eventually he will have to come back. I think the greatest moment in Myles's life will be when he has to rescue Artemis.


Q: What next for the Fowl Twins?

A: Myles has been bitten by the science bug and will do whatever it takes to amass more knowledge than previously stored in any human brain.

To this end he will follow the info trail wherever it may lead, irrespective of the danger to himself. Luckily Beckett and Lazuli are on hand to provide some level of protection to accident prone Myles. The Fowl Twins have many adventures ahead of them, some which will kill them both, though not permanently.


Q: Can you tell us a bit about your life as an author, and what else you're working on?

A: My life as an author is mostly very quiet. I do emails and stories all day, every day. I am very bad at exercise though I want to do better. In my free time I like to read or write short plays for the local theatre. For three months a year my life goes into high gear as I travel the world, promoting the books I wrote the previous year which I have often forgotten all about. I do love the writer's life though and I know I am lucky that I can make a career out of it.


Q: If you could cajole one wish out of the fairies, what would it be?

A: I would love to be able to write very quickly so that I could get all the fairy related ideas down on paper. Sometimes I feel I forget more ideas than I remember.


Q: And if you could get the shadowy Myishi organisation - who create the high tech gadgets in this adventure - to create the perfect writer's shed for you, what would it look like and where would it be?

A: I already have a pretty swish shed but if Myishi would build me one it would have it made from dwarf spittle which glows a little which would save on electricity and heat- and it could be stuck to a tree so I would have an ocean view. I think I would have it in the shape of an acorn to carry on the fairy theme.
 
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