Describe your latest project.
The next one that will be published in the United States is the Wave Walkers trilogy. It is an epic fantasy set in the Caribbean in the early eighteenth century. The main characters are pirate kids that can walk on water. When a huge maelstrom, many miles wide, threatens to destroy all the islands and strange creatures flood the sea, the Wave Walkers are the only ones who can stop it. I should mention the books were written before the Johnny Depp movie made pirates en vogue again and that they have all become bestsellers in Germany, Japan, and Spain over the last two or three years.
If you could choose any story to live in, which story would it be? Why?
As a child, I dreamed of having my own ray gun and space ship. Even now, flying my own private Millennium Falcon sounds great. So, my favorite story is still Star Wars, probably at least Star Wars like I saw it when I was eight or ten years old.
Introduce one other author you think people should read, and suggest a good book by him/her.
Philip Reeve from England. Mortal Engines and its sequels are the coolest young adult books I have read in years. If you like adventure, bizarre ideas, and an amazing sense of wonder, these are the books I would recommend.
What do you do for relaxation?
Reading, watching movies, walking the dog. Buying useless stuff on eBay for nostalgia the last thing I got was a Galaxian arcade game from 1981.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An astronaut. With a ray gun.
Why do you write books for kids?
To explore the sense of wonder I fell in love with while reading fantasy and science fiction as a kid. I am always searching for the same awe I felt when I read certain stories, watched certain movies, marveled at certain illustrations and paintings. It has a lot to do with trying to recreate feelings that we easily forget as adults.
Who are your favorite characters in history?
I have written more than twenty historical novels for adults by now a lot of kids read them as well and they are full of historical characters. I cannot name one special favorite well, I liked Cagliostro. Ten years ago, I wrote two adventure novels about the Brothers Grimm, and they were fun, too at least my version of them.
If you could pick anyone to illustrate one of your books, who would it be and why?
Living: Wayne Barlowe. Dead: Max Ernst. Surrealism never fails to inspire me.