Wednesday, April 18, 2012

D.J. MacHale Author Interview

Photo Content from D.J. MacHale

D.J. MacHale is a writer, director, executive producer and creator of several popular television series and movies. As an author, his ten-volume book series: Pendragon: Journal of an Adventure Through Time and Space became a New York Times #1 bestseller.

He was raised in Greenwich, CT where he had several jobs including collecting eggs at a poultry farm; engraving trophies and washing dishes in a steakhouse…in between playing football and running track. D.J. graduated from New York University where he received a BFA in film production.

His film-making career began in New York where he worked as a freelance writer/director making corporate videos and television commercials.

D.J. broke into the entertainment business by writing several ABC Afterschool Specials. As co-creator of the popular Nickelodeon series: Are You Afraid of the Dark?, he produced all 91 episodes. D.J. also wrote and directed the movie Tower of Terror for ABC’s Wonderful World of Disney. The Showtime series Chris Cross was co-created, written and produced by D.J. It received the CableAce award for Best Youth Series.

D.J. created and produced the Discovery Kids/NBC television series Flight 29 Down. He wrote every episode and directed several. His work on Flight 29 Down earned him the Writers Guild of America award for Outstanding Children’s Script and a Directors Guild of America award nomination.

Other notable television writing credits include the ABC Afterschool Special titled Seasonal Differences; the pilot for the long-running PBS/CBS series Ghostwriter; and the HBO series Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective for which he received a CableAce nomination for writing.

In print, D.J. also authored the supernatural Morpheus Road trilogy; a whimsical picture book The Monster Princess; and The SYLO Chronicles, a thrilling sci-fi trilogy. He also wrote Voyagers: Project Alpha, the first of a six book science fiction adventure.

D.J.’s newest book series is The Library, a spooky middle-grade anthology about a mysterious library filled with unfinished supernatural tales, and the daring young people who must complete them.

D.J. lives in Southern California with his wife Evangeline and daughter Keaton. They are avid backpackers, scuba divers and skiers. Rounding out the household is a spoiled golden retriever named Casey and an equally spoiled tuxedo cat named Jinx.

Tell us your latest news.
I’m very excited that the third and final book in the “Morpheus Road” trilogy is about to be published. When I write a multiple book story I always plan out the entire story beforehand, but then of course it just sort of dribbles out to readers book by book. So I’m excited to know that fans of the series will now know the entire tale. I’m also working on a new series. This one will be a science fiction thriller…but that’s all I’m saying about it.

How would you describe yourself in three words.
Imaginative, passionate and lazy.

Where were you born and where do you call home?
I was born and raised in Connecticut…like Bobby Pendragon and the guys from Morpheus Road. I think I will always consider that “home” but I now live in Southern California. So I guess I have two homes.

How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?
I had the good fortune of growing up in a place that offered a wide variety of experiences. When I was very young we lived in a part of town that was suburban but had a very rural feel. My first job was collecting eggs in a chicken farm. There were miles of woods surrounding my house. It was like growing up in “Mayberry”. As I got older I went to Junior High in a section of town that had a diverse socio-economic-racial mix so I had friends from all walks of life and backgrounds. Then moving on to high school I realized that there was a whole section of town that was actually quite wealthy and privileged. AND…this was all just a short train ride from New York City. So growing up I was exposed to a wide spectrum of people and lifestyles. After college my first career was making educational films which gave me the opportunity to travel all over the country and experience the multitude of cultures that make up the U.S. As a writer, you draw upon your knowledge and experience to create interesting believable characters and stories. Growing up the way I did and experiencing so much has proven to be invaluable to my writing.

What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?
I love Viennese waltzes.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
If you count everything, meaning not just the books I’ve written from the ground up but also the books that were adaptations from my stories and shows, the number would be 28…I think. My favorite would have to be “The Soldiers of Halla”. Not that I think it’s the “best”, but that book was the climax to the Pendragon series which was a massive story told over ten novels. I am very proud of it because it wrapped up the entire story…which was no small feat…and proved that my grand plan actually worked.

What were your feelings when your first novel was accepted.
I was shocked. I wrote it for fun and never really thought that it would be published. The BEST moment was when it actually got published. I went into a book store to see if it was on the shelf. It was, which was plenty good enough, but the great thing was that it was on the shelf right next to my favorite book of all time: “The Call of the Wild” by Jack London. That was a thrill.

For those who are unfamiliar with your Morpheus Road Series, how would you introduce it?
It’s a spooky thriller about two guys who are being hunted and haunted by a malevolent spirit.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating The Morpheus Road Series?
This wasn’t so much a surprise as it was a realization. One of the reasons I wrote it was because I love ghost stories. I’ve written multiple dozens of them…mostly for TV. But I hadn’t written anything supernatural in a while when I started Morpheus Road and I was a little nervous that I might have forgotten how. But once I started writing, it all came flooding back. So it proved to me that writing other-worldly mysteries is something that’s part of my DNA.

If you could introduce Marshall to any character from another book, who would it be and why? 
That’s a good question because in “The Blood” I did exactly that. But I’m not going to divulge that here. You’ll have to read it to find out who it is.

What chapter was the most memorable to write and why?
I always love writing climaxes. If you’ve done a good job and set up all the various story elements, plot twists, character journeys, etc. etc. it should always lead you to that one incredible moment where it all comes together. They are usually the easiest chapters to write…especially if you’ve done a good job in setting it all up. Writing a climax is like doing a victory lap. You’ve spent all your time creating the mystery and the conflict and with the climax you get to enjoy paying it all off.

The other chapters I love to write contain what I call the “And here we go…” moment. When writing an adventure story, once you’ve laid all the groundwork and set up the characters and conflict there comes that critical moment when the gun goes off, the wheels are set in motion and the action takes off. It’s a satisfying moment because it means you’ve done all the hard stuff and now it’s going to get fun. In “The Blood”, I actually spell it out as such. Meaning…something dramatic happens and Cooper says: “And here we go…” which means, buckle up.

If you could leave your readers with one legacy, what would you want it to be?
I hear this again and again so I have to believe it’s true. Sometimes I hear it from young readers, other times I hear it from their parents. It’s a variation of this statement: “I used to hate to read until I found your books. Now I love it.” To have, in some small way, instilled the love of reading into a young person, well, it doesn’t get any better than that because it is a invaluable gift they will use for the rest of their lives.

What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 30 or less words, what would you say?
Morpheus Road: The Blood. The climax of the battle between young heroes and the evil forces that are trying to tear down the walls between the living and the dead. (30 words on the nose)

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your teen readers. What would it be?
Simple. Reading makes you smarter. So do it. A lot. Doesn’t matter what it is. Find something that interests you whether it be fiction or informational, and get lost in it.

What question are you never asked in interviews but wish you were?
I’m never asked what I like about my own books.

When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
How much money do you make?

How do you feel about the horror boom of the 80’s and early 90’s?
Was there a boom back then? Everything is cyclical but horror seems to be on a very tight cycle. Meaning: Vampires only come back every ten years or so but horror in general never seems to go away. It just sort of morphs into something else.

Do you have any fun Halloween experiences you can tell us?
Just an overall one. My older sister is very creative and she used to dress me up in these amazing costumes that she would create…right down to the makeup. So while my friends had these cheesy store-bought costumes or just put on an old coat and went as “hobos”, I would have these elaborate and realistic Dracula or zombie costumes. I actually depicted that situation in the pilot for my TV series: “Are You Afraid of the Dark?”

What was a time in your life when you were really scared?
I almost drowned in a rafting accident when I was nearly sucked under a bridge and had to fight the flowing water to escape. I actually wasn’t that scared as it was happening, but the next day I went back to the scene and realized that if I had let go, I would have been swept under the bridge and trapped against a steel grate. That freaked me out.

Do you ever come up with anything so wild that you scare yourself, that leaves you wondering where that came from?
Every day.

Any recent appearances that you would like to share with us about/any upcoming ones?
Lots! Since my new book comes out on March 27th, I’ll be on tour for a few weeks. Anybody who wants to come see me should check out the appearance schedule on my website.

What is your most memorable travel experience?
There have been too many to recount. But the best journey is always the one that brings you back home.

Which author would you love to co-author a book with?
I’ve never been a good collaborator so I would have to say…none. I’d like to meet a few, but as for working with them? Nah.

What is your favorite Quote?
“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” ―John Muir

What are 4 things you never leave home without?
Curiosity, anticipation, enthusiasm…and my wallet. 

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
I am writing everywhere, all the time. I usually get my best ideas while lying in bed either before going to sleep or just after waking up.

What is a movie or TV show that you watched recently and really enjoyed?
I loved “Hugo”. A simple story told in an incredibly elegant fashion. And in my opinion only one of two movies that actually benefitted from being in 3-D. (The other being Avatar)

The riveting conclusion to a thrilling trilogy from New York Times bestselling master of suspense D. J. MacHale.

From Marshall’s mysterious experiences in The Light to Cooper’s haunting perspective in The Black, the questions have intensified along with the action. And now it is time for answers: A final showdown is in order between best friends Marshall and Cooper and the terrifying villain Damon, who’s more determined than ever to break down the walls between the worlds of the living and the dead.

Marshall is forced to make a brave and shocking choice when the battle is on the line, and he and Cooper might be rewarded with help from someone quite unexpected….

As the gripping trilogy heads toward resolution, shocks and surprises await at the end of the long and winding Morpheous Road.

In The Blood, the third and final book in the Morpheus Road series, the wall that separates our world and the dead is in jeopardy of being torn down. Author D.J. MacHale takes us to Marshall and Cooper’s final confrontation with the very scary villain Damon. There is so much that happens in this book that it is really hard to explain without spoiling anything.

The path for Marsh and Coop to Damon is not a lovely road. All of the questions that were set forth in The Light and The Dark boils down to this finale and the answers we all have been dying to know are revealed. And are they ever revealed! One revelation is so over the top that it leaves your face eyes-wide and mouth open all the way to the floor because it was there from the very beginning.

The writing style of D.J. MacHale is unmatched. He is in total control with every word splattered across a page. The story is full of details and descriptions that the book acts like a projector and you see all of what’s happening before your eyes. Let’s not forget how D.J. knows exactly when to pull the rug right off from under your feet. He is a master of spooks, chills, thrills, and shock.

Have you ever enjoyed a book so much that you wish it could continue? That is how I felt about Morpheus Road. The finale answered many questions that baffled readers from the beginning. The ending was a satisfying finish. I loved how D.J. MacHale takes elements from Morpheus Road and linked them with another book. If you know your D.J. MacHale stuff, you know what I mean. I cannot wait for his next project. I know it will be a sure hit…MacHale has proven it time after time. The Blood is by far my best read of 2012.

You can purchase Morpheus Road: The Blood at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you D.J. MACHALE for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Morpheus Road: The Blood Swag by D.J. MacHale.
(Copy of The Blood, Signed Bookmark & Signed Bookplate).
6 Winners will receive one Morpheus Road: The Blood Signed Bookmark by D.J. MacHale.
12 Winners will receive one Morpheus Road: The Blood Signed Bookplate by D.J. MacHale.
3 Winners may choose one of the Pendragon Series by D.J. MacHale. 
Winners will be contacted through e mail. Title must be given at the end of giveaway. 
(This copy to be purchased at The Reading Bug after the event).


  1. I know this is lame and so unoriginal, but spiders still give me the creeps. It's their many legs and swiftness.

  2. Lots if people are scared of spiders and i am terrified of them. but to say something different i am afraid of falling, i could stand in the middle of the worlds tallest building and be fine until i git about a foot from the edge and then my legs get weak and i can't move.

  3. bad things happening to my kids

  4. SPIDERS and creeepy crawlies. the only good spider is a dead one. if i see a spider i have the three S's, spray, stomp and suck. first i spray it til its dead, then i stomp on it, then i suck it up with the vacumm cleaner lol
    thanks for the giveaway

  5. Umm spiders and other insects that have way too many legs..the dark when I'm by myself..and clowns!
    Thanks for the giveaway!!

  6. Spiders, too damn many legs! And snakes, they are evil it says so in the bible!

  7. Great interview! Thank you for the aweeesome giveaway!!!

    I'm deathly afraid of 3 things,

    - Clowns
    - the dark
    - spiders! AHH!

  8. I have to agree with the Snakes!!! They terrify me!!!!

  9. Big snakes !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The are slimy and sneeky ! lol..

    kat ;)

  10. BUGS! and Darkness and illness, unclean people or places too.

  11. Siders and snakes !

  12. Spiders and all other creepy crawly bugs! :S

  13. Clowns and spiders!!!


  14. heights, I know it is a classic, but :shudder: thanks for the chance

  15. AWESOME giveaway thanks to you and the Author I am in love;))) I am not scared of much really just losing someone in my family before I get to say good bye or to fast. Thanks again:)


  16. Great giveaway. I read Pendragon and have read the first two in the Morpheus Road series... can't wait to read the third! Thanks for all the great options in the giveaway.

    What scares me? A. Snakes B. Knives. C.The Chicago Cubs

  17. Rapist. Hey I have very realistic fears.

  18. Rats and snakes!! (ileana - Rafflecopter)

  19. I really love the Pendragon Series by D.J MacHale. Hope I win something :D

  20. What scares me the most is the unknown. And being alone. I look forward to reading your books. Thanks for the chance to win one.

  21. I'm scared by the unknown and crossing over rickety bridges.

  22. I'm afraid of ants. It's weird, I know... : o

    Disincentive @ (read, watch, listen) - reviews

  23. the thing that scares me the most is heights. i can't stand to be up very high and if i am i can't even think about looking down without freaking out :P

  24. i think im scared of heights lol :P

  25. This might sound silly but I have to say bugs. I can't handle being around any kind of bug from spiders to butterflies.

  26. Spiders I hate and I really don't know why.

  27. I am scared of the dark still, at almost 30 years old. And scary movies keep me up for a while, because they make the dark even scarier. Yep. I am a chicken. I know it. I claim it. I am proud of it. Well, I wouldn't go that far. :)


  28. First off - thank you so much for the wonderful contest! I think my eyes just popped LOL and is it a drool I see on my keyboard?? :D yep!

    What scares me?
    Serious life-and-family related stuff like illness, death, not being able to dedicate as much time to helping my family as I'd like to.. yeah, pretty much all morbid and depressing real-life stuff. But hey, I'm definitely afraid of ghost movies (like Paranormal Activity) and bees! LOL yes, bees. I'm terrified of em!

    Thank you so much for a chance to win!

  29. I'm terrified of heights, to some if might not be a big deal but i see things from a height or look down from one, i dream of falling & always wake up in a sweat - it's awful.
    Thanks for the awesome giveaway!
    Kel xx


  30. I'm afraid of... sponges. The holes in sponges are giving me the creeps. I don't know, they remind me of rotting flesh or something. :(

  31. Spiders give me the heebie-jeebies!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  32. I'd scared of being absolutely alone.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  33. Heights, small spaces, escalators, and bugs!

    I'm sure there's a ton of other things, but those are the ones I have to deal with the most!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  34. Fire scares me, that and the thought of not being able to read what I want to read :) Thank you for the awesome interview and giveaway opportunity.

  35. Tornadoes scare the poopy scoops out of me!!!

  36. the thought of loosing my family

  37. spiders

    and thanks so much for the amazing giveaway

  38. Spiders and snakes really scare me!!!

  39. The thought of my love ones dying and me not able to do anything about it.

  40. the Dark... and also isolation....and also lots of many others ;)