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Eoin Colfer

e-interviewed by Hilary Williamson, September 2003

Eoin Colfer's stupendous Artemis Fowl series has been making big waves (of the volcanic variety). His young hero is a pre-teen Moriarty from a long and illustrious line of Irish Mafia. His heroine, Holly Short, so far either opposes Artemis or is in uneasy alliance with him. Holly, a member of a high-tech fairy race who live near the Earth's Core and look down on us Mud People, is the first female member of the Lower Elements Police (LEP) Recon Unit. Artemis and Holly's first three adventures - Artemis Fowl, The Arctic Incident and The Eternity Code - have been worth their weight in fairy gold. Here's what their author has to say ...

Q: Artemis Fowl is a unique young hero, whose murky ethics and tinkering with technology are given free rein by his parents' absence and his own genius. Do you think an Artemis lurks in the psyche of all young men?

A: I can't speak for all young men, but Artemis certainly lurked in my own psyche as a younger man. I always longed for control of my own life, and I thought power would give me that. And maybe it does, but then you have children.

Q: Where did he come from? Did you too plot nefarious deeds in your teens?

A: Artemis is a mixture of my own darker side, and parts of all the great fictional villains - Professor Moriarty, Darth Vader and Captain Hook. I was always fascinated by these characters, and so were most people who read the books or saw the movies.

Q: I've always liked Holly Short, who casts a tall shadow over Artemis' misdeeds. In some ways she seems the typical teen girl, always more mature than a boy of the same age. But she has her own style and skills. Did you have a model for Holly?

A: Holly was modeled after the girls I was teaching at the time. Wilful, intelligent and not prepared to put up with any antics from attention grabbing boys.

Q: I have the impression that you're out to prove the female of the species far deadlier than the male - Opal Koboi and Carla Frazetti amongst the bad guys, and Holly and Juliet on the other side. Do you believe that the female is deadlier, and will we see Opal and Carla again?

A: I was very careful to make my books equal opportunity - females can be goodies and baddies. I love Opal and Carla and they will definitely be coming back in future books. Opal will be a main character in book 4.

Q: Will we (and Artemis) get to know his parents better, now that they're back in body and spirit?

A: Artemis will get to know his parents, and himself better. But their return means he has to be even more devious to get away with all his nefarious schemes.

Q: Mulch is a marvellous invention, the most entertaining of the fairy characters. Do you have any more like him in the works?

A: Mulch was a minor character who has really taken off. I thought a flatulent dwarf would be good for a couple of jokes, but many people are demanding that he get his own trilogy. And I must admit I have become fond of the stinky little guy. Hopefully I can stumble across more golden characters like him in future books.

Q: Do you have any plans for romance for Artemis, for Juliet, for Holly, and (dare I ask?) for Mulch?

A: I would like to introduce some innocent romance in the future. But I haven't formed any concrete plans just yet.

Q: Will Artemis' seeds of conscience be set back by the ending of The Eternity Code?

A: Artemis will not finish the book as positively as he could. There is a little twist in the end of this story.

Q: The C cube seems like a very handy device. Does it have a continuing role?

A: I'm afraid the C Cube is destined for the smelter, as soon as the LEP get their hands on it. It would be too dangerous to release.

Q: How many books do you plan for Artemis? The first book mentioned a movie. Is one in the works and, if so, when will we see it?

A: I plan at least one more book for Artemis and co, perhaps more. Who knows. Miramax are producing a movie of Artemis 1, but it is in the early stages, so I doubt we will see it before 2004.

Q: My teenage sons and I are hooked on 3 series, all with their own styles of fantasy/magic - Artemis Fowl, Darren Shan and Harry Potter. How do you think Artemis would measure up in a confrontation with Harry or Darren?

A: I don't think Artemis would do well against Harry or Darren, as he has no special powers. Anyway Darren Shan is a good friend of mine, so we would probably decide to talk about the old country over a cup of tea. As for Artemis, I think if he had to confront Harry, he would probably hire somebody to do it for him.

Q: Can you tell us anything about The Wish List, to be released in N. America in October 2003?

A: The Wish List is a ghost story with several twists. Thirteen year old Meg Finn is killed breaking into a pensioner's flat. Now she has to go back and help make the pensioner's wishes come true. Meanwhile St Peter and Beelzebub are fighting for her immortal soul. Read with the light on!

Eoin Colfer lives in Wexford, in the southeast corner of Ireland, with his wife Jackie and son Finn. Find out more about the author and his books at his Website
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