Author of the Week - John Flanagan

Thanks to a new sitemeter, I can now see how and why people are visiting my blog. For reasons unknown to me, the main reason that people stumble upon my blog is due to a review I did ofThe Ranger's Apprentice series a good while back. When I reviewed the book there were only five at the time. To tell you how exciting this book is, I had a friend who I recommended this book to for her nephew. (or some other childlike creature she knew) After reading the second book, he called her up in tears because it had ended so abruptly and he didn't have the next installment. She called me in a panic, knowing that this child simply couldn't wait to read the third book. These are the kind of stories I like to hear. But why has the book become so well-known among children and teens, but still lives a life of obscurity amongst many adults?

I think the first reason is simple. John Flanagan is writing a book for boys. A real book. It has archery, throwing, sneaking around, horseback riding. These are the things that boys like to do right? (rhetorical question. I have brothers. I know this is what they do) Will is all guy, medieval fantasy guy, but all guy all the same. Sure adults see this, but perhaps we are a bit too focused on what may win an award as opposed to what kids are devouring? Just a thought.

The second reason so many boys are attracted to this series is because it isn't a feelings book. Even the hint of romance is just that, a hint. The books live from one action scene to the next. Don't get me wrong, there isn't constant battling, but the movement of the books is always forward and fast, making for a book that readers don't want to put down.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect for me as a writer is the fact that these books fulfill their promise. They promise from the beginning to be full of danger, intrigue, disguises, sneaking, shooting, killing, fantasy, death, adventure, and a some mentoring thrown in for good measure.
By fulfilling all these promises in every single installment, Flanagan's readers keep coming back for more.

So, some quick info on Flanagan. John Flanagan grew up in Sydney, Australia and says he always wanted to be a writer. However, it wasn't until he wrote a rather uncomplimentary poem about a senior executive at the agency he worked at, that his talent was fully revealed. It turned out of the company's director agreed with Flanagan and happily agreed to train John in copy writing. After writing advertising copy for two decades, Flanagan teamed up with an old friend in order to help develop a television sitcom, a venture that lasted for eight years. Ten years ago, Flanagan began writing the Ranger's Apprentice for his son, originally beginning the works as short stories. Today there are seven books out in the Ranger's Apprentice series with another to be published May 18. A lot of his books have already been released overseas, but sadly, it does take some time for them to reach us here in the states.

Halt's Peril (Book 9) Ranger's Apprentice, Book 9: Halt's Peril - John Flanagan

Rumor has it there is a film that may come out, but as far as I can tell, this is still in a rumor phase.


Anonymous said...

Love this line: "Perhaps the most interesting aspect for me as a writer is the fact that these books fulfill their promise."

Yes, you've obviously worked with Mary Logue!


Jason Kurtz said...

Damn it, Venus! I just got BACK from Barnes & Noble and now I have to go back and get this! I have seen them on the shelf, but I have so many dang books to read and things to write and thought, I'll get to them later... now what? Sheesh. ;)