Posts tagged Brian Falkner

Fast Five with Brian Falkner

1. Why did you want to be a writer? 

Don’t know. Just always did. Maybe because I was a keen reader as a child.

2. What’s the best thing about being a writer?

Visiting schools and literary festivals and meeting your audience. Without that, it would be quite a solitary vocation.

3. What’s your favourite New Zealand book?

Aarrgh! Don’t make me choose. Too many brilliant books to choose from.

4. What do you love most about New Zealand?

The people. The climate. Rangitoto. The beaches. Lots of other things. I miss NZ!

5. What book changed your life?

Any one of the Famous Five books by Enid Blyton. These were a revelation for me. It was fabulously exciting (with lashings of fun) to find a new Enid Blyton book was in the library when I was young. I am sure that these books are part of the reason that I became a writer.

Brian Falkner is the author of The Tomorrow Code, The Real Thing, Brainjack, Northwood, and his latest book, Team Recon Angel: Assault.

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Best Books of 2011

Thanks to everyone who voted in our Best Books of 2011 Competition.  The votes have been counted and we can now announce the winners.  The best Kids book of 2011 is Northwood by Brian Falkner and the best Young Adult book of 2011 is Plague by Michael Grant.  You can see how many votes each book got in the polls below.

Everyone who entered went into the draw to win the Top 5 books and the winners are:

  • Kids – Annahlise Hall
  • Young Adult – Rebecca Deakins


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Guest Post: Brian Falkner – Alien Invasion!

When I was a young reader the two kinds of books I most liked were science fiction, and the thrillers of Alistair McLean.

It so happened that a year or so ago my glance fell on a copy of “Where Eagles Dare” by Alistair McLean, and the idea popped into my head to combine my two favourite kinds of books. So I set out to write an Alistair McLean inspired science fiction war thriller. I even named the first chapter “Where Angels Fear” as a tribute to McLean.

I wanted to write a book that was exciting and action-packed from the get-go, and didn’t let up until the very end. Yet at the same time I wanted to have characters that seemed believable and interesting. I have read other “action-packed” books where the characters were just a flimsy excuse to move the action from one scene to the next, and I didn’t want to write that kind of book, because I want the reader to care about the characters.

When I started developing the idea for the book, I quickly realised that it was too big for a single book, and it would have to be a series, each with their own story. I eventually decided on four books, although I have left it open to write more books if I want to later.

I wanted to write a series of war stories, but I didn’t want it set so far in the future that it became Space Opera, with laser guns and spaceships. (I love Star Wars and those kinds of stories, but I wanted this to be different.) I wanted this to be more like a real war, with weapons that were close to those we have now, but just a little bit futuristic. I wanted the conflict to seem real, and the introduction and the forward are all part of setting the scene for a realistic war, that just happens to be against aliens, not human beings.

For the name of the alien race, I wanted harsh sounds, and it had to include a Z (you’ll understand why, if you read the book). After trying out a lot of names, I was eventually inspired by the word “Buzzard” which conjures up images of an ugly, carrion-eating bird. So the aliens became “Bzadians” which incorporates the same sounds.

Writing “Assault” the first book of the Recon Team Angel series, was a wild ride, and I hope you enjoy reading it just as much.

Pictured are the NZ and the US covers.



You can read Chapter One of The Assault here.

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Guest Post: Brian Falkner on 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Northwood

Brian Falkner’s new book, Northwood is one of the best books I’ve read lately. I always enjoy his books because they’re really unique.  I asked Brian if could tell us a little bit about Northwood, so here are 10 things you didn’t know about Northwood.

1. Northwood, Lake Rosedale, Brookfield, and many of the other place names in the book are real places in Albany where I used to live.

2. When it says at the beginning “usually at this stage of a story the person telling it has some idea of how it will end, but I can tell you quite honestly that I have no idea at all” … that was true! I wrote the first chapter without any idea what would come next. The story just grew naturally and I found out what was going on one chapter at a time!

3. To some extent Northwood was inspired by my favourite Roald Dahl book: Matilda. I wanted to write a book like that about a girl with a special ability.

4. The very last sentence in the book is based a quotation from Bhudda that I found intriguing. I actually used this quote also in Brainjack, but it got removed in the final edit.

5. As a kid I loved Enid Blyton books, full of mystery and secret passageways. I always wanted to include a secret passageway in one of my books, and finally I did, in Northwood!

6. The story of Princess Annachanel of Storm was originally going to be a book by itself. The idea sat around for a long time and I never managed to turn it into a book, so I decided to include it as part of Northwood. I thought it worked well and added a sense of history to Castle Storm.

7. Jana, who comes from the Bahamas, originally spoke in “Broken English” which is a version of English spoken in the Bahamas. However it was a bit hard to understand, so we changed it to English, with just of tint of the Bahamanian style of talking.

8. I once had to spell rhododendron at a Trivia night, and failed.

9. Mr Jingles,who owns the safari park in Northwood, was the name of the mouse in a Stephen King story called “The Green Mile”.

10. My favourite line in Northwood is when Cecilia tries to explain to the twins where pizza comes from. I won’t explain it, you have to read it.

I hope you enjoy reading Northwood as much as I enjoyed writing it!

See ya


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Northwood by Brian Falkner

The best books grip you from the first few sentences and you want to keep reading until you get to the end.  Northwood  by Brian Falkner is one of those books.  Here are the opening sentences:

“This is the strange story of Miss Cecilia Undergarment and the black lions of Northwood.  It is probably not true, but who really knows for sure.”

Straight away, you want to know all about Cecilia Undergarment (like why does she have such a funny name?), why the story is so strange, and what are black lions?  So now you’re sucked into the story and want to find out what happens to Cecilia.

Cecilia Undergarment lives with her extraordinary family in her extraordinary house, which is shaped like a huge bunch of balloons (to find out why you’ll have to read the book).  Wouldn’t it be great to live in a house made of balloons!  One day while looking out her window she sees a sad and neglected dog trying to escape from the house next door.  She rescues the dog, but the dog’s mean owner destroys her home and sends her balloon room floating away, until it lands in the dark forest of  Northwood.  The forest is home to the ferocious black lions and anyone who has entered Northwood has never returned.  Cecilia and the dog, Rocky find refuge in Northwood at Castle Storm, which is ruled by the horrible King Harry.  Cecilia is determined to find a way out of Northwood, but King Harry will do anything to stop the people leaving.

Brian Falkner has created an amazing world.  When I started reading I was transported into the world of Northwood and felt like I was right there with Cecilia on her adventure.  I could picture the dark tarblood trees of the forest and the dusty rooms of Castle Storm, smell the damp forest, and hear the low rumble of the black lions.  Cecilia is a really cool character and someone who you would want to be friends with.   I also really loved Donovan Bixley’s illustrations, especially the way he portrays King Harry, and the cool cover that really stands out.

Recommended for 9+     10 out of 10

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It would take a very special person to crack the computer systems of the White House. An expert. A genius. A devil. All of the above some would say. Someone like Sam Wilson, brilliant teenage computer hacker.

Thanks to Zac, I’ve really gotten into Brian Falkner’s books eg:The Project.

Sam and his best friend Fargas are about to bring the whole of united states of america to its knees, by accident.

They buy the newest piece of technology, the nuero headset which will change there lives, Sam’s especially.

He discovers a group of professional hackers whose base is supposedly in the White House.

He’s caught and sent to jail, or is that the job aplication of something much bigger.

Join Sam, Kiwi, Veinna and there work mates in a fight over the internet, people’s minds and the world.

I think this book should be for 11 year olds and older, and I would give it a rating of 10 out of 10.

The next war starts in cyberspace.

By Kezia,  Age: 11

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The most boring book in the world

The Project by Brian FalknerThis is not the most book in the world, it’s about the most boring book and when two boys find it and its worth 2 million dollars if found, all sorts of things could happen.

Luke, a new zealand kid who moved to america, and his spy crazy best friend tommy are about to be pushed to their limits when the find a book, the most boring book in the world in their opinion, and they discover a terrible secret hidden in it’s pages.

Will they be caught by the men who dispise their knowledge of the book and it’s secrets, or will they not be caught but the world would suffer for it.

Come into the world of  fantasy, drama and Leonardo Da Vinchi.

I think this book is sutible for 11 year olds and up and I would give it a rating of 10 out of 10

His life could change the world- His death could save it.

gsrh yllp xleow xszmtv gsv dzb ble gsrmp lu oruv, rg wrw gl nv.

If you think about it, you can work this out. (leave a comment if you know the answer.)

By Kezia, age 11

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Writing Tip of the Week – Brian Falkner

This week’s writing tip comes from Brian Falkner, author of Tomorrow Code, Henry and the Flea, Brainjack, and his new book The Project.

“Writing is like learning to walk. You fall down, you get back up and try again. Little by little you learn from your mistakes. You get better and better at it, and one day it just happens and it is a magical moment.”

If you want to find out more about Brian Falkner’s books and writing, you can visit his cool website or read his Star Author posts here on the blog.

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The Project by Brian Falkner

The most boring book in the world contains a dangerous secret that could destroy the world if it got into the wrong hands.  If only you could stay awake long enough to read it.

To get out of a punishment for pulling a school prank, Luke and Tommy must prove that The Last of the Mohicans is the most boring book in the world, but they discover that there is another book that is actually the most boring, a book called Leonardo’s River.  There is only one copy of this book left in the world, which has been lost for many years and it’s worth $2 million.  When Luke and Tommy help to rescue the rare books from the basement of the university library they can’t believe their eyes when they discover the most boring book in the world in among the other books.  The boys save the book but there are others who will do anything to get their hands on it.  They uncover the terrible  secrets of the book and if it falls into the wrong hands, the consequences would be disastrous.

The Project is a great read for anybody who likes history, science fiction, action, adventure and mystery.  You’ll get caught up in the story and taken along for a wild ride as Luke and Tommy race to save the world.  It is definitely NOT a boring book and you’ll be kept awake wanting to find out how the story ends.   Brian Falkner talked about The Project last month when he was our Star Author so if you’d like to know more about the story, check out Brian’s post about The Project.

Recommended for age 10+     10 out of 10

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Winner of September Star Author Competition

Thanks to all of you who entered our September Star Author Competition and told us what they thought was the most boring book in the world.  There were some great answers, but the winner is…

Kezia from the Christchurch East Star Bloggers

Congratulations Kezia!  Your very own copy of Brian Falkner’s fantastic new book, The Project, will be coming your way soon.

Our October Star Author Competition will be starting soon and you can win a signed copy of Bill Nagelkerke’s Old Bones so keep your eyes peeled.

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Big Weekend for Sport

My family is going to have square eyes by the end of the weekend. On Friday the Phoenix play the Gold Coast. As it is comng from Oz it isn’t on until 11pm. It is usually replayed so check the guide. Saturday Canterbury meet Otago at Carisbrook, 5.25 pm. Lion Foundation netball is on from 12.30. There is also the replay of the AFL final. You will have to check the guide for the time.

Sunday is the big one for us. NRL grand final and the UK Super league final. At Old Trafford St Helens meet Wigan, 6 am our time.

Coverage of the NRL Grand Final starts after that with shows like the Footy Show until 4 pm when the Junior Warriors take on South Sydney in the Toyota cup final. That promises to be a great curtainraiser. Both teams play with alot of flare and are not scared to throw the ball around. Then the big one the Grand final. The safe methodical Dragon who slowly strangle the life out of their opponenents with the best defence in the NRL against the Roosters. Last years wooden spoon winners and written off by many early this season. They have a shocking defence and win games by out scoring the opposition. They have flare and speed and are a dream to watch. I’m backing the Roosters to win.

Our wonderful Star Author Brian Falkner has written a wonderful book about league. It is called Henry and the Flea. Daniel wants to play for the Warriors. The problem is he is only 12. How does he do it? It’s a great book about friendship, loyalty and sport. It is also very funny.

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Last chance to WIN The Project

WIN a copy of The Project


You only have a couple of days left to enter our Star Author Competition to win a copy of Brian Falkner’s fantastic new book, The Project

All you have to do is read our ‘What’s the most boring book in the world?’ post and add a comment telling us what is the most boring book you’ve read. 

The competition closes on Friday 1 October so tell us what you think and you’ll go in the draw to win a copy of The Project.

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What is the most boring book in the world?

WIN a copy of The Project

Brian Falkner has been blogging lately about his new book, The Project, which was originally going to be called The Most Boring Book in the World.  Thanks to Walker Books, to celebrate the launch of The Project we have a copy of the book to give away to one lucky blogger.

To enter the draw to win a copy of The Project we want you to tell us what you think is the most boring book in the world.  It could be an actual book that you have read or you could make up your own title of the most boring book in the world.

Here are a few examples:

Tell us what you think the most boring book in the world is and win The Project.  Remember to tell us your name, age and your email so that we can contact the winner.  If you’re not sure how to post a comment, check out the For Kids tab at the top of the page.

Read the terms and conditions below.

Read the rest of this entry »

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How do I sign an ebook?

E-Books will never take off, I thought. Until I bought an iPhone.

I love books. I love the feel of them, the smell of them. I love to curl up in bed on a cold dark night with a book. There’s no way, I thought, that I would ever want to read books on a glowing electronic screen. It just wouldn’t feel right. It wouldn’t have the same atmosphere. You can watch a sports game on the TV, but nothing beats being at the stadium.

And I definitely wouldn’t want to read an e-Book on an iPhone. Why would anyone want to read a novel on a screen the size of a playing card.

Then I bought an iPhone, and my world changed.

Read the rest of this entry »

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The FaBo story competition

Hi everyone, have you entered the FaBo competition yet?

It’s an interactive novel writing project dreamed up by a crazy team of kiwi authors, including me!

Each week you can pit your writing wits against one of the FaBolous team. If you think you can out-imagine, out-write and out-FaBo the FaBo Team, write your own version of the next exciting chapter and send it in.

The best chapter each week will be posted on the FaBostory blog, and you can try and guess which author wrote the week’s “official” chapter.

Check it out here: http://



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Publish your own stories

I love writing stories, and I hope you do too!

If you’ve written a story that you’d like to have published online, just go to my website and click on “Your Stories” or you can click on this link:

On this page you can publish your story so that other kids can read it. I read all the stories that are published.

Happy writing!


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Authors and Book Reviews

I thought I’d write today on the subject of book reviews. Like most authors, I crave reviews, just as I fear them. My work, my beautiful baby that I spent years writing and editing, is up on public display for anyone to comment on as they like. But I, the author, get no right of reply. My mouth is taped shut.

I have been fortunate in that I have had almost all positive reviews. Where a reviewer has criticised some aspect of one of my books, after the initial defensive reaction, I have tried to take that criticism on board for future books, thinking that if one reviewer thinks that, then so will thousands of readers.

I publish all the reviews I find on my website, good or bad, so that people can read them all and make up their own mind.

Reviews come in two types. There are those by professional reviewers, who write for newspapers, magazines, radio, television, or sometimes just for the web. Then there are amateur reviews. Anybody with a computer and access to the internet can write down their thoughts on a book and publish it on a blog somewhere.

The first kind, the professional reviewers, tend to be people with experience in children’s literature who have read widely and can write well. Whether they like a book, or not, they tend to provide a balanced, reasoned view of the book, although it is, of course, still just one person’s opinion.

The second kind of review, the amateur blogger, is very different, but just as interesting. Anyone can express an opinion, even if they’ve only read one book in their entire lives. But it is still a valid opinion. I think most authors value amateur reviews as taken collectively they provide an insight into the mind of the average reader.

Sites like GoodReads ( invite readers to write reviews and rate books, and give an author the ability to see how their books rate against other books such as Harry Potter. (Brainjack:  3.8 stars, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone: 4.2 stars).

The only amateur reviews I don’t like are the stupid ones. Ones where the writer simply doesn’t know what they are talking about. One review of “The Tomorrow Code” criticised the science in it, saying “it involves so much appalling cod-science that I actually hit myself over the head with the book at one point to see if it was less painful that way.” Yet the science was very well researched, including interviews with university professors.  The science was extended from science fact into science fiction, but the basis of it all was solid. So I rather think that this reviewer must have hit themselves on the head with books a little too hard, or too often! (Now I’m reviewing the reviewer! I wonder how they feel.)

A review yesterday of Brain Jack described the technology in the book as “just a bunch of random computer terms”. But they weren’t. I have a long background in computers, and also sought the help of one of New Zealand’s leading computer experts to make sure that the technology was as accurate as possible, bearing in mind that the book is set in the future, and that I didn’t want it to become a “how-to” manual for hackers.

Yet even while I grit my teeth at such stupid comments, I know that even these people represent a proportion of the readership of my books and that all reviews, even the misguided, ill-informed, stupid, amateur ones have a right to exist, and to be read.

Some authors claim they never read reviews. I wonder if that is true, but if it is, I think they are misguided. Reviews, professional and amateur, give the author an insight into the mind of the reader.

Henry Ford famously said “Never complain, never explain.”

That’s the world that we authors live in.

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Story Ideas

A lot of kids ask me where I get my story ideas.

Ideas for stories are all around you, all the time. What story writers do is to look around us and use our imagination.

All you have to do is to say “What if…”

What if my sister could fly…?
What if I found a million dollar note…?
What if my dog started talking to me…?
What if my best friend moved to Alaska…?
What if the sun went out…?

If you want an idea for a story, and you are really stuck, you could try my random story idea generator.

Just click on “Find an Idea” and keep clicking through the randomly generated ideas until you get one you like.



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The Project finally arrives!

The first copy of The Project (previously titled “The Most Boring Book in the World”) arrived yesterday. It looks great. Fantastic work by everybody at Walker Books Australia. It goes on sale next month.



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The Project

Brian Falkner

Hi everyone!

Today I thought I’d tell you a little bit about The Project, my new book, which comes out in just a few weeks time.

I was living in Iowa City, USA in 2008 as part of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. A few months earlier there had been some devastating floods in Iowa City, and the cleanup was still on while I was there.

I had in the back of my mind an idea for a book that I wanted to write one day, called “The Most Boring Book in the World”. I thought that was a great title for a book. The book would be about a long lost, and very rare, book, that contained a terrible secret. But this long lost book was so boring that no-one would ever read it.

In Iowa I learned that the University Library had been in danger of flooding, and teams of volunteers had gone in and emptied the lower shelves in the basement of the library, where all their old, rare books were kept.

That’s how I got the idea. What if that long lost, boring book turned up when they were moving all the books from the basement!

And the rest of the story took off from there.

Walker Books are publishing “The Project” very soon. Look out for it.

Here’s the front cover:



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