Mr. Jacques, I was wondering how you come up with all the wonderful riddles in your books, do you sit down and come up with them, or do other people help you, such as your wife or friends?
I write all my own riddles and poems and songs, they are a particular favourite of mine. I love to play with words and one of my spare time hobbies (when I get any spare time) is word games and crossword puzzles.
Why do the Redwall creatures eat fish, but do not eat any other animals?
I decided to have a fish as Matthias' first triumph in Redwall and then I just continued the tradition. No deep meaning I just did!
We've learned that many of the characters in Redwall are based off the demeanors and dialects of different people you've met in your real life adventures. Were the Sparras inspired by anyone in particular?
The Sparras were actually based on my observation of real sparrows in my garden as I was working. My but they are argumentative and territorial, they made me laugh so much, so fierce and brave but so tiny, and I have seen them all over the world just the same tough little bodies as here in my English garden.
Sir, I truly enjoy your books and look forward to each new addition to my collection! I was wondering if you had any plans for a Who's who/Atlas of Redwall? Maybe filled with brief biographical pieces on all the characters and places in the stories, with maps and information not found in the novels such as maybe a brief annotated history of Mossflower etc. I think it would be a wonderful addition, as well as a great place to showcase the art of Redwall!! Just wondering!!!
Thank you I am glad to hear that you love my books, but if I am to continue to write more Redwall tales I have no time for other projects. A companion to the series has been suggested by my publishers, but if I keep writing it would need constant updating!!
I recently looked up 'Cluny' in the American Heritage Dictionary, and discovered that it is a town in east central France. It features an Abbey founded in 910 AD, the home of an influential religious order (!). Is this where you got Cluny's name? It's pretty ironic.
I thought Cluny sounded a little like Looney and as he is a mad type that seemed to suit him. It wasn't until some time later that I found out about the Abbey in France. It did seem a little spooky to me too!
Were did you come with the names Mathias, Martin, Constance, Gonff, Tsarmina, Gingivere, and Verdauga in your books Redwall and Mossflower?
Matthias and Martin are strong masculine names and of Biblical origin. Constance says what it means and describes her well.Gingevere I made up, he is a ginger cat. Tsarmina is a play on words , the female rulers of Russia were called Tsarinas. I put mean in there and so Tsarmina. Verdauga is from the Latin verd...green and auga..eye. Lord Greeneye.
I've always wondered how Bryony and Dandin are related. They are both mentioned as the Great-grandchild of Gonff. They can't be siblings--they don't live in the same time period. Are they distant cousins maybe?
Bryony and Dandin are very distantly related.
I've read in the area about previous professions of yours that you did charity work for the blind and that's why your books are so descriptive. I was wondering if you still volunteered for the blind?
Yes I still work with my local school for the Blind, The Royal School in Liverpool.
What was your favorite book as a child and how did it influence your writing?
I think you will find the answer to this on the Brian Jacques pages. (Webmaster's note: Click "About Brian" up above for more information)
I have read many of your books. And my mouth waters when it's time for a feast! Have you ever attempted to prepare some of Redwall's plates, like strawberry cordial, oatrose turnovers, shrimp and hotroot soup, etc.? How did you come up with the recipes?
Many of the recipes have been tried and found to be delicious, there is a booklet of recipes available to Redwall Readers club members. (Webmaster's note: The Redwall Cookbook has been written and released since this question was first asked)
Mr.Jacques my class has just completed an author study and I understand that your books are so descriptive because they were writen for blind people.What the group that studied you didn't say was how or why you became involved for writing for the blind. Could you tell me?
The children of The Royal School for the Blind here in Liverpool are my special friends. I have been involved with fund raising and support for them for many many years. 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.
I was wondering, how many languages have Redwall books been published in?
Italian, German, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Polish, Dutch, Russian and Japanese.
Some of the bad guys' names are reasonably obvious (Redtooth, Darkckaw, Bladetail), but how do you come up with the other names, like Romsca, Ferahgo, Slagar, Ublaz, and Lask Frildur?
I spend a long time thinking of names that sound bad or mean. I play with words and shuffle them until something feels right. Hard sounds like k and g and x and z often do the trick.
Will you ever have any really good vermin or bad woodlanders in any of your stories?
No! The goodies are good and the baddies are BAD, no grey areas.
In Martin the Warrior, Martin and co. see a rock formation called The Otter and His Wife. Does this have any significant place in the history of Mossflower? Who made it?
This is a tale for another book perhaps!!
I was wondering, was the character Simeon from Mariel of Redwall based on anybody you met during your work with the blind?
Not anyone specific, just a general observation.
Why did you choose so many names that start with an "M" for you characters? (Martin, Matthias, Mattimeo, Mother Mellus, Mariel, Mara, Methuselah, Brother Mordalfus, Abbot Mortimer, Abbess Merriam)
This was unconscious. I didn't do it on purpose. It just came out that way.
Mr. Jacques, I know that your characters are based on people you know, but where did some of your stranger accents, such as the Gawtrybe Squirrels in "Martin the Warrior" and the Flitchaye in "Mariel of Redwall", come from?
I just made them sound a little wild and nutty, from my imagination is really the answer.
I know that you use Hellgates and Dark Forest instead of Hell and Heaven. I guess Hellgates is an appropriate replacement, but I think Dark Forest sounds like something bad! Is Dark Forest a replacement for Heaven at all?
I try not to have any religious connotations at all, therefore no comparisons are intended. I have creatures die and to my mind they go on but who knows where? Dark forest is meant to be mysterious rather than menacing.
Where do you come up with all the places of the land of Redwall. Is the Redwall Abbey, Salamandastron, Noonvale, Kotir, etc.based on any real places in Europe or other parts of the world? Also, is their origin or battles based on historical events?
The geography of my Redwall world is roughly the British Isles, but the battles are all my own!