Brandon Mull is the author of Fablehaven, a series of books about the fascinating world of two siblings and their adventures on a magical reserve. His newest addition is Fablehaven: Grip of the Shadow Plague that was released on the 21st of April. Brandon has also written The Candy Shop War. To learn more about him visit his website here.
How did you come up with the name, Fablehaven?
After a huge brainstorm session, Fablehaven sat atop the list. I liked that it was composed of real words. "Fable" feels a little like a fairytale and obviously a "haven" is a refuge, so "Fablehaven" sounded like a refuge for fairytale creatures. I also liked that "Fablehaven" was not a word out there on the Internet. Nobody owned Fablehaven.com
How do you feel having your series in the spotlight right alongside Harry Potter, The Twilight Saga, etc.?
It is exciting that the Fablehaven series is finding a large and devoted audience. You write a book hoping an audience will find it and enjoy it, so the growing success of the series is a vast relief. It means I can make writing my full-time job, which has been my dream since childhood.
Do you think success has changed you?
The success I've found means I can spend a bigger chunk of my time typing in my basement office. It also means I now have a basement. And an office.
It also means I spend a big chunk of my year visiting schools, bookstores, and libraries. In college, teaching was on my short list of prospective careers, and visiting schools helps me scratch that itch. I love motivating kids to read and create.
Did you put any aspects of yourself into Kendra and/or Seth? Who do you relate to the most?
There are some aspects of myself in Kendra and Seth. The way they banter and bicker is similar to the way I bantered with my siblings. As a kid I had more of Seth's sense of adventure. Now I have Kendra's sense of caution. And, of course, I'm fairykind.
What is your definition of a powerful book?
I love it when a story takes me on a fun ride. I want to see characters I care about face involving problems. I want to laugh. I love stories with larger-than-life elements done in a way that feels real and human. I love it when I forget I'm reading, when I'm just experiencing the story.
I believe I read somewhere that you have kids. If so, what was (or is) one of the books they begged you to read when they were little?
My oldest is four. We've been reading Mo Willems books like Knuffle Bunny. Recently we tried the Invention of Hugo Cabret. She really likes reading time.
Do you want to be writing books all your life, if not, what else do you want to do?
I've always said, rich or poor, successful or anonymous, writing books is what my brain was built to do. Ever since I can remember, I've naturally made up stories. It is my default mode. I have many, many ideas for after the Fablehaven series. I expect to write a book or two a year for the next thirty years, if not longer. Keep an eye out. The best is yet to come.
If you could have the whole world's attention for 5 minutes, what would you say?
It would be sweet to tell an awesome joke.
It would be tempting to plug my books.
I would want to tell everybody the truth. I mean, with the world's attention, shouldn't I be enlightening? I feel I understand some nuggets of wisdom that might be worth hearing. But it is really hard to give people undiluted truth. Not to mention dangerous. I prefer trying to write truthful fiction and deliver little insights that way. Hopefully I'll keep getting better at my craft.
If you could meet any person in the world, who would it be?
Hmmm. It would be somebody inaccessible. Somebody I could talk with about things that interest me. Maybe J.K. Rowling? Or Steven Spielberg?
Thank you so much Brandon it was an honor to interview you!
BONUS: Thanks to the Shadow Mountain Publishing Company I get to feature a book give away for this interview. So, please leave a comment here and I will enter you into a drawing. The first three I draw will receive a copy of Fablehaven Volume 1.