This week Brandon Mull and his adorable chin dimple have graciously offered to stop by. Brandon is currently on tour for the fourth book in his best selling Fablehaven series, out there being his crazy self, shaking his rock n' roll booty, tearing up the book world. Fablehaven is about a wildlife refuge for magical creatures and the brother and sister who are brought into the secret. It's full of magic, adventure, humor and fun, a big hit for ages ten and up. But let's get a peek at the man behind these runaway hits. (By the way, his initial are BM. Get it? BM. As in...oh, never mind...)
SH: Over just a few short years, your books have achieved the New York Times best seller lists on multiple occasions and earned hordes of fervent fans. You combine energetic fantasy adventure with humor and white-knuckle thrills. But let's not wander off topic...what's your favorite thing about me?
BM: Your sense of humor. And your graceful prose. And your husband. Judging from the question, I’m going to assume you’re cool with me listing more than one favorite.
The Fablehaven books have some quite frightening creatures. Which of your creatures scares you the most? What would you do if you found it in your bedroom? What would your wife do? What would your three-year-old son do?
I’d be pretty scared of the revenant in the second Fablehaven book. It is a slow, undead creature that radiates paralyzing fear. So its victims must watch in frozen horror as it gradually approaches to claim them. If it showed up in my bedroom, I would try to charm it with witty banter. My wife would totally fold and start screaming. My three-year-old would punch it.
I attended the release party for Fablehaven 3--you filled an auditorium with people (over 1000 I'd assume). They were screaming for you like a rock star, then waited patiently in line for four hours to get you to sign their book. It's was wild, high energy, fun and completely different. So my question is, where did you find all those fans and how much did you pay them to come?
I didn’t pay them. Those fans were in attendance thanks to hypnosis and mirrors. If you looked closely, you would have observed the same stupefied individuals repeated throughout the audience. And that nearly-full auditorium sat close to 3,000! I know what you’re thinking…where did I rent so many mirrors? Sorry, trade secret. Incidentally, and absolutely unrelated, there will be a similar free super cool launch party with live comedy and fabulous costumes for Fablehaven book 4 on March 24 in the Salt Lake City area. Fablehaven.com lists the details.
Fablehaven 5 (out in 2010) will complete this series. Come on, give us a peak. Just a tiny peek. Itty bitty...
Book Five will probably be called Keys of the Demon Prison. Not many people know that yet. I've started working on it. I'm excited about the plan I have!
You've published 5 books in three years, travel for weeks every year all over the country, and support a family of five. You're obviously swimming in free time and that breaks my heart, so we here at squeetus want to put you to work. Give us a short story based on one of the following ideas:
Humpty Dumpty as film noir
Little Boy Blue as a disaster film
Little Miss Muffet as a buddy flick
The Ugly Duckling as science fiction
Okay, careful what you ask for, because you might get it. Here is Humpty Dumpty as film noir:
High atop the wall, a curved lamppost shed a cone of light, the radiance almost tangible in the mist. Mouth dry, Humpty glanced over his shoulder. It was a long way down.
Raising his hands slowly, he tried to keep his fingers from quivering. Muffy held the gun steady, her gaze cold and bemused. How had it come to this? Humpty knew what it felt like to have his back to the wall. But tonight was worse. Tonight his back was to the void.
A breeze sent eddies of vapor swirling. Humpty had to keep his cool. If he made a sudden move, or spoke the wrong words, the king’s men would be scraping yolk off the pavement for weeks.
“Muffy,” he tried.
“It’s Miss Muffet,” she insisted, eyes gleaming. “Muffy is gone, Mr. Dumpty.”
“I never meant to hurt you.”
Her lips twisted into a bitter smile as a tear slid down her cheek. “Didn’t mean to? Wasn’t it enough to break my heart? Now you’re going to claim there was no meaning behind your betrayal? What are you, a tornado? A hurricane? Can’t you see how much worse that makes it? Take some responsibility for your behavior! Have you no spine?”
Attempting a chuckle, Humpty gave a weak shrug. “I’m an egg.”
“You’re a monster. Your two-timing days are over, Mr. Dumpty.”
Humpty held out a hand and wiggled his fingers. “Give me the gun.”
She shook her head. Another tear fell. “You’re not going to talk your way out of this one. Sit down. Sit down!”
Stealing a glance at the drop behind him, Humpty sat. He tried to make his voice reasonable, fatherly. “It doesn’t have to be like this. Take a deep breath. Think about what you’re doing. The king won’t stand for this, Miss Muffet.”
“Here we go! There’s the Humpty I know! Hiding behind the king, as usual. I don’t see any soldiers here tonight, Mr. Dumpty. It’s just you and me. And it’s a long way down.”
“Don’t talk crazy.”
She made a sound, half laugh, half sob. “Bullets don’t care about charm, or connections. They don’t listen to lies. When I’m finished here, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men will not be enough to save you.”
She was not bluffing. He knew her well enough to see that. This was going to happen. Humpty broke. “Muffy, please!”
Finally her smile became genuine. “That’s right, beg. That’s exactly what I wanted to hear. Listen close, Humpty. That was the sound my heart made when I found you eating curds and whey with her.”
He felt a glimmer of hope. “So in a way, we’re even.”
“Except for one thing. I’m in the mood for an omelet.”
A gunshot rang out. Humpty inhaled the smoky scent of spent gunpowder. Or was his vest on fire? Two fingers went to his chest and came away coated with clear fluid.
She fired again and again. Yolk leaked from half a dozen holes as he tumbled backward off the wall, and plummeted into the mist.