Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The World: The Spirit Cards of Victor Frankenstein

"The room is alive in a way it wasn't earlier, bounding through all its ages one after another, the ceilings and walls throbbing with colour."
-- from Such Wicked Intent, coming August 21, 2012

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Clock: The Spirit Cards of Victor Frankenstein

"I grabbed hold of the pocket watch. I stared for some time before understanding what I was looking at..."
-- from Such Wicked Intent

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Best Father's Day Card Ever

My kids are pretty creative, but they really pulled out all the stops this year for my Father's Day card. They joined forces to create a short comic book. Using Hugh Grant's opening monologue from a favourite family film, About a Boy, they have attempted to sum up a day in the life of Kenneth Oppel.

Let's have a look, and then we'll deconstruct:

Let's begin with Page 1.

In the opening cell, the concept of "Ken Island" is introduced, and the notion of how I divide my work day up into "units." My flag features a pair of spectacles.

"Watching Promethesu Trailer: 1 Unit."
It's true that I have of late been childishly excited about the prospect of seeing Ridley Scott's latest film. As a fan of the original Alien, the designs of HR Giger, and one of the best monster creatures ever imagined, I have been chafing at the bit to see Prometheus. I foolishly told my kids I'd watched the trailer 12 times in a row.

You may also notice the toppled bottle of wine on my desk. It has become a part of family mythology (engineered almost entirely by my "creative" son) that I am pretty much constantly drunk. This is not even remotely true. I am only drunk Monday through Wednesday, and only during work hours. Nonetheless, I don't believe I've had a card made by my son, in which there isn't at least one image of me with my eyes X'd out, sprawled in a nest of empty bottles. It's funny, the things kids imagine.

Finally, you will also notice I have a shirt pocket with a pen and pencil jutting out of it. This is also an act of fiction. I have never had writing impliments in my shirt pocket -- growing up in the 80s, this was an iconic symbol of nerdishness, and to be avoided at all costs, for fear of brutal social censure.

"Web-Based Research -- 2 Units"
These two panels relate to vital research I am currently concucting for my latest novel. I will say nothing more on the matter.

"Exercising -- 2 Units"
It is true that my preferred form of exercise is the ellipitical machine. Note the inclusion of the "gross sweaty dude" to the right, my "free sweat pants" (given to me by a school I visited, that sensed my wardrobe was sufficiently feeble and lacking in sports gear: they were correct), and the "strong" muscles of my left arm, which, boldly superimposed, were clearly added as an afterthought.

I do also sail from time to time. "Alpha" does not refer to my aspirations to be an alpha male, but to the name of one of the actual boats in the club.

"Having My Hair Carefully Dishevelled -- 4 units"
I go to the hairdresser when I am at risk of looking like a TV actor from the 1970's. My hair doesn't so much grow as grow out, necessitating a visit. Tangerine is the salon I visit. I take issue with the four units of time allotted to this enterprise, since exercise only got two units, and I spend far more time exercising than dishevelling my hair.

I do, however, always say "Lookin' good" at the end of my haircut.

"I often wonder if I would ever really have time for a job."
Another part of my kids' family mythology is that I don't really have a job, or work. They often put these last two words in quotation marks ("job!", "work!") when they speak to me. I have probably aided and abetted this delusion, by always being at home, helping make their lunches, greeting them on their return home, helping them with their school work, and generally being an awesome Dad. I try to shield them each and every day from the brutal reality and moral compromise of a writer's life. Clearly it's worked.

The postscript
I did not include the back page of the card in which my oldest daughter wrote some nice things, and my son wrote some things which bolster his mythologized view of me as an "unsuitable parent". As proof, here is what he wrote:

"Father. Thanks for being a pro Dad.
Things to work on:
-The drugs
-Cutting off my hand with a light sabre
-Blowing up planets
-Breathing by yourself
-Make a stronger Death Star

I've never been prouder of my children.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Airborn The Movie: Take Two

One of the questions I am most frequently asked by readers is: "When is Airborn going to be turned into a movie?" I still don't have a definitive answer to that, but I  can at least tell you that it's recently taken a step closer.

In 2004-2006 the book was developed by Universal Pictures and the Sommers Company (The Mummy, Van Helsing, G.I. Joe) and they commissioned a script that, to my mind, had astonishingly little to do with my novel. The screenwriters gutted the plot, took out the cloud cats altogether, and left behind two characters called Matt and Kate and a storyline involving mystical urns. (In case you haven't read the novel, there is not even one mystical urn.)

Airborn is a special book for me, and I decided that, if at all possible, in future, I would try to have a bit more control over what happened to any film adaptation.

So I am very pleased to be able to tell you that I have optioned the book to Halifax Films and Oscar-winning producer Michael Donovan (Bowling for Columbine, Shake Hands With the Devil). I will be writing the first draft of the screenplay, and will act as an executive producer on the project.

So here's hoping for an excellent second take!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Half Brother nominated for UKLA award

The UK Literary Association has included Half Brother in its 2012 shortlist for best children's book for twelve to sixteen year-olds. I'm delighted to be in the company of celebrated UK writers like Kevin Brooks, Patrick Ness and Andy Mulligan. This is the first time a book of mine has been nominated for this award.The full shortlist is below.

Long Lankin, Lindsey Barraclough

iBoy. Kevin Brooks

Being Billy, Phil Earle

Trash, Andy Mulligan

A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness Illus. Jim Kay

Half Brother, Kenneth Oppel