Author Brandon Mull joins LitPick for Six Minutes with an Author! Brandon is the author of several series including Pingo, Candy Shop War, Fablehaven, Spirit Animals, Beyonders and Five Kingdoms. Five Kingdoms Book 1: Sky Raiders came out earlier this year.
How did you get started writing?
I have loved adventure stories since my childhood. As I grew up, I daydreamed about my own adventure stories, and the habit continued into adulthood. Eventually I realized that I had really cool stories in my mind but no way to share them, which made me want to write them down. To this day, my favorite part of being an author is sharing my stories with others.
Who influenced you?
The Narnia books by C.S. Lewis awakened my love of reading. My imagination really responded to the big imagination of that series. Then Lord of the Rings showed me how deeply imagined a fantasy world could be, and later Harry Potter proved that if you write a story with young main characters, but make it smart and inventive, you can please both adults and kids. I love to read, and I’m most influenced by my favorite stories.
Do you have a favorite book/subject/character/setting?
I love writing my Fablehaven books, because they bring together many of the magical creatures I read about growing up. Since Fablehaven is about secret wildlife preserves for mystical creatures, I get to include centaurs, dragons, witches, satyrs, leprechauns, golems, fairies, giants, trolls, demons, and put my own spin on them. I have a sequel series to Fablehaven starting in 2016.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to be an author?
Read a lot. Pay attention to how your favorite authors build their scenes word by word, line by line. Then write a lot. Practice building your own scenes. Also, share your work with smart people you trust, so you can discover weaknesses and fix them. Over time, you’ll improve. Don’t feel like you need to be successful overnight. It usually takes some time to find your voice and get decent at writing.
Where is your favorite place to write?
I need a sensory deprivation chamber. My basement usually suffices. I hide out alone and get lost in my daydreams. Sometimes it makes me feel like a hermit. Then at other times my job can be very public, speaking at bookstores, schools, and libraries.
What else would you like to tell us?
I’m very excited about my newest series—Five Kingdoms. It’s a great fit for my Fablehaven readers, beginning with readers around fourth or fifth grade on up to adults (especially the kind of adults who enjoy Harry Potter or Narnia). In Five Kingdoms, some friends go trick-or-treating and get taken by slave traders to another world. After being captured as a group, one of the kids gets free and tries to find his friends who are scattered across five kingdoms as slaves. Each kingdom has different types of magic that work there. It’s my first five-book series since Fablehaven, and I think it brings together a lot of what I do best as a writer. The first book might be my best first book, and I have really cool adventures planned for the series as a whole.
Brandon, thank you very much for spending six minutes with LitPick! We are looking forward to your second Five Kingdoms book, Rogue Knight!