Q&A with Brian Jacques
The children of The Royal School for the Blind here in Liverpool are my special friends... I first met them when I used to deliver milk to the school as a truck driver. When I later became a writer I decided to write a story to read to them... so Redwall was born.
Q&A with Brian Jacques
Over the years, fans from around the world have sent Brian countless letters asking him all about his books, his characters, and himself. Here are some of Brian Jacques' most Frequently Asked Questions.
What is the order of the books?
Webmaster's note: Although we recommend reading the books in the order in which they were written (click 'Books' up above for more information), the chronological order of the books is:
- Martin the Warrior
- The Legend of Luke
- Outcast of Redwall
- Mariel of Redwall
- The Bellmaker
- The Pearls of Lutra
- The Long Patrol
- Lord Brocktree
- Rakkety Tam
- High Rhulain
Where do you get your ideas from?
Do the animals in your stories walk on all fours or, do they walk erect?
The creatures in my stories are as big or small as your imagination wants them to be. My imagination does not see them on all fours.
I have just started your books. I have read Redwall and am now working on Mattimeo. At the beginning of Redwall thereis the "riderless horsecart" and now in Mattimeo there is mention of a ship that sank. Are there humans somewhere inthe realm of Redwall? PS - I am a 32 year old SFC in the US Army but love these books!
No, there are no humans, my first book Redwall did mention the horse and cart but no humans are ever in the stories and I don't intend that they should ever be. The ships are generally crewed by vermin.
About how long does it take you to write a book in the Redwall Series?
Four to five months usually.
Out of all the books you've written, which is your personal favourite?
I have no favourite, they are all like my children special in different ways.
What is your favorite character that you have created?
Gonff! (me as a kid)
Can you visit my school or local library?
If you live in the USA and would like to arrange an author visit by Brian Jacques please ask
your teacher, librarian, or book store owner to contact his USA publisher at:
Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson St, 15th Floor
If you live in the UK please contact:
Redwall Management Co Ltd
PO BOX 57
Or, click 'Contact Us' up above to e-mail us.
Are you ever planning to add 'American' accented animals to your stories?
I'm not planning to have American accented animals, I like to stick to things I know well. British accents are so many and varied that I never get tired of them.
How did Timballisto get his name? Martin didn't tell his friends how Tim got his name because he was too busy preparing for battle in 'Mossflower'.
Timballisto and his father were very adept at making and designing weapons especially the Ballista hence their name.
Whenever the hares or badgers from Salamandastron go to war, they shout the battle cry Eeulaliaaaaaa! Where does it come from, and what does it mean?
Eulalia is a Celtic/Norse battle cry which means Victory!!
I was wondering if you do a lot of research into old languages and mythology, since I found that Salamandastron was named after the salamander, a creature which I found, according to mythology, has close ties with the element of fire.
I don't research in as much as I pore over books (I haven't the time) but I have a very retentive memory and have read extensively mostly heroic and adventurous stories of all kinds, many of the references have been picked up and absorbed this way, reading is a marvelous education!
Will you write or publish any more collections of short stories, similar to Seven Strange and Ghostly Tales?
I have another collection of ghostly stories in mind, in fact some are already written. It is I'm afraid a time problem again. I have so many demands on my time that writing is gradually being sqeezed into only four or five months of the year. (Webmaster's note: Since this question was asked, The Ribbajack was released)
Where can I get the Redwall Calendar and diary?
Redwall calendar was for 1994 and is now no longer available and the same is true of the diary which was for 1995 - sorry. Join the Redwall readers club for updates on available merchandise.
Have you ever thought of having raccoons in the Redwall books? They were once native to Britain (I think!).
No raccoons I am afraid, they just aren't British wot wot!
Hi, I have always wanted to know why aren't there any chipmunks in Redwall. Or are they the "Painted Ones" in Mattimeo?
The same goes for chipmunks [and raccoons], not a bally one in the old U.K.
I know that the character of Gonff is based on you, but who is the character of Martin or Matthias (one in the same...sorta) based on?
No one person is the model for either Martin or Matthias. Rather they are a mixture of good and noble characters from my reading and honest and brave friends from my life.
Have you ever thought of using mythological creatures in your stories? Not that I don't adore them the way they are, but I'd like to see how the Redwallers would react if a dragon swooped in or a goblin began haunting the GateHouse!
No - I have used creatures that I know mostly and tried to imbibe mystery here and there into some creatures whose species is not specified, but I am not a fan of sword and sorcery so that I will never have goblins or dragons or any purely mythical creatures in my world of Redwall.
In Salamandastron, the Deepcoiler was often mentioned, yet I never figured out exactly what it was. What was the Deepcoiler?
It is intentional that we never quite know what the deepcoiler is or was, thus the mystery and horror is more intense.
Do you plan on writing another adventure with Martin the Warrior in it? Like maybe writing about his last battle before he hung up his sword?
I have no plans for further adventures of Martin the Warrior at present, but maybe!!
Will you ever write a book about Loamhedge?
Not at present although Loamhedge might play a part in a future story. (Webmaster's note: Loamhedge was written since this question was first asked)
In the end of "Martin the Warrior" you wrote that many of the Rambling Rosehip Players decided to live in Noonvale. But what about the escaped Marshank slaves??? I'm curious about Keyla and Tullgrew's fates.
It was inferred and I hoped that they also decided to settle in Noonvale but maybe there is room for yet another tale there?
Do you think that you might make a video game for Redwall? If not, do you think you might come up with a board game or card game?
Definitely not. I really dislike such things!
I know you have written short story books before, but are you ever going to do a short story book for Redwall? It would probably be a great sucsess.
I have thought of a series of short stories linked to recipes and I may start work on this next year, thus I will kill two birds with one stone. (Webmaster's note: The Redwall Cookbook has been written and released since this question was first asked.)
You have really great stories. Do you figure out the basic plot before you start writing, or do you just let the story go the way it wants to, and see where it ends up?
I always have a very good central idea and a fairly good idea of what the ending will be, but the rest flows out as if someone takes over my fingers and mind, I never quite know what adventures will develop.
I really enjoyed "Mossflower" with Gonff the mousethief, Lady Amber, Abbess Germaine, Bella of Brockhall, Martin the Warrior, and Trubbs and co. Are you going to write a book about them, as the first inhabitants of Redwall?
I haven't any plans for this at the moment but who knows what may come in the future?
Quite some time ago, I was sent a letter from you, along with a Random House/Red Fox "My Favorite Author" poster. On the poster it says that your favorite smells are cinnamon and "dolly mixtures". What in the world is a dolly mixture?
Dolly mixtures are very small pastel coloured sweets or candies as you would call them, they are soft and smell and taste of sweetness and vanilla, a real childhood thing for me.
Why do you make mice, squirrels, otters and badgers "good" and foxes, rats, ferrets and such "bad"? How do you decide which are good and which are bad?
The bad creatures are those which are traditionally bad in European folk lore and have come to be regarded as sly or mean or evil.The good creatures are mostly small and defenceless, with the exception of the badgers.