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  Eoin Colfer talks about Artemis Fowl sequel
Updated 07 June 2002, 16.41
Artemis Fowl
The award winning and popular children's writer Eoin Colfer published his sequel to Artemis Fowl on Thursday.

Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident is expected to be a huge success and what's more the story is being turned into a movie.

Eoin took time out to speak to Newsround about Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident - dropping hints about his next book, the movie and code-breaking along the way.

What can we expect from Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident?

It features the same cast of characters and some new ones. The main characters are Artemis Fowl - who is still a criminal mastermind - and his nemesis and sometime partner Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon squad.

For me it's a continuation of the same story. There's no point in having a lead who is a villain if he isn't going to develop and learn from his mistakes.

Tell us about the plot:

Artemis finds out his father is being held for ransom by the Russian mafia and he heads off to the arctic circle to try to rescue him.

Meanwhile, below ground the goblin gangs are playing havoc with the Lower Element's Police and so Holly recruits Artemis's help and an uneasy alliance develops.

There's a code at the bottom of each page in the Artemis books. What's that all about?

The code was the surprising success of the first book. I didn't know if anyone would take the time but thousands of children decoded it and hundreds of them write to me in code. It must take them hours but it's absolutely fantastic.

In the second book, if you can decipher the code at the bottom of the page you get some clues to the third book.

Will the third Artemis book be the last in the series?

It was going to finish off in a trilogy, but half way through the third book I had what I think is a great idea.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet, but in the meantime I'm working on a plan for a kids' thriller. I like to take books into areas for kids that they don't usually get. I think kids do get thrillers but they are often quite patronising.

What's the latest on the Artemis Fowl movie?

The film production is well under way. It sounds really fantastic. I am especially glad that they are going to be looking for an Irish Artemis.

As far as I know they will start filming in Ireland in September. It's being directed by Larry Guterman, who did Cats & Dogs.

The script writer has told me he's a big fan of the book and he wants to stay as close to it as he can. I think they are planning to release the film in 2003.

Tell me about the moral message in The Artemis Fowl books.

The main message is: What is important in your life? There are parallels to modern life. This guy is following his dad's example to acquire money and power.

You put it up there and kids can decide for themselves.

They can see this guy is going the wrong way and making mistakes. Most kids say to me: "I was very worried about Artemis, but now he's becoming a nicer person so I can relax." That's what I want.

I make no attempt to dumb down the story for kids. They watch James Bond, legal thrillers and political thrillers. They get all the jargon. It's often adults who think it's too difficult for kids, and then the kids prove them wrong.

Who is your favourite character?

I really like Mulch Diggums. My wife says he's probably most like me. I like him because he's really funny.

With a character like that, you can let yourself go and do whatever you like. In the third book, he's working for the Chicago mob as a cat burglar.

What inspires your stories?

Life is the short answer - anything and everything. I hang around with some really funny guys and they come up with these great one-liners.

I go home after a night out and write down some of the situations and weave them into my stories.

My family are also inspirational and I read a lot - I don't think a week has gone by since I was four years old when I haven't read a book.

What advice would you give to kids who want to become writers?

It's a tough career. I don't know if everyone has got a book in them, but most people have.

With the education we are all getting today, it's possible for almost anyone to write a book - as long as they are prepared to put in the years it takes to develop your style and get your book into good enough shape to be published.

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