D.J. MacHale Interview
D.J. MacHale is the author of the Pendragon book series, including the latest installment, The Pilgrims of Rayne. He's also the writer/director of Flight 29 Down and has been involved in a ton of other kids' shows like old-school hits Are You Afraid of the Dark? and Ghostwriter. We sit down to chat with him about his latest book.
Sindy: Could you start off by telling me a little about the Pendragon series, for people who don't know what it's about?
D.J. MacHale: The series is actually called Pendragon: Journal of Adventures in Time and Space. It's an adventure series about a guy called Bobby Pendragon, who finds out he is a traveler and travelers have to protect Halla. Halla is everything - every time, every place, every person, every that ever existed, and travelers have to protect it against this bad guy called Saint Dane. Saint Dane is going to all the 10 territories of Halla to cause chaos. So it's up to Bobby and the travelers to stop him. So each book is about a different territory that Bobby and the travelers go to stop this guy.
Sindy: What can fans expect from the latest installment?
D.J. MacHale: The thing that's very different about the latest installment - the eighth called The Pilgrims of Rayne - is that it begins a trilogy that's going to end the series - because there are only ever going to be 10 books in the series. So in this book it's really looking at Saint Dane as he begins to put his plan in motion to take over all of Halla. Up until now, it's really just been one territory in each book, but these last three are really focusing on all of Halla towards the climax in book 10.
Sindy: What inspired the series in the first place?
D.J. MacHale: Well, I've been writing kids TV shows forever, and I came up with this idea and this concept of Halla - and all the different places in Halla - but it was too big of an idea to make into a TV show and too long of an idea to turn into a movie so I thought, "Maybe I can write a book about this?" So I outlined all 10 stories a long time ago. So I've known where this is going to end from the very beginning. And it's getting kind of fun now that I'm near the end - it's all worked out pretty much the way I thought it was going to. I can't believe it's almost done.
Sindy: When did you start writing it?
D.J. MacHale: It was in 2001, so the first book, The Merchant of Death, was published in 2002, which for most readers must seem like a long, long time ago, but for me that's last week.
Sindy: Have you always written science-fiction?
D.J. MacHale: No, not really. This truly isn't science-fiction, this is more adventure. So the stories I'm attracted to are stories with really interesting characters who get caught up in a bigger-than-life adventure. When I've done shows like Are You Afraid of the Dark? or Flight 29 Down or Tower of Terror, they all have really normal people that you might know and that you feel like you could relate to, who are caught up in a bigger-than-life adventure. That's what comes out of my head, I don't know why, but that's what comes out.