Q&As

Over the years I have been asked many questions about my books, my approach to writing, and even about my interest in woodwork. The answer to your question may be right here, so have a browse or search my Q&As.



Questions & Answers

Q

Why does Amazon Germany, US and Spain offer HDM on kindle but not Amazon UK for your very own native country?

A

Aha. Now we get into some very complicated country indeed. It has to do with royalties and contracts and things like that, which I don't understand, so I'm leaving it to my agent to sort out. I'll just say that writers have to be very careful not to let their books be sold for prices that are too low. Everyone likes low prices, but this is how we make our living. Just suppose you were in business making some piece of machinery that was important and useful, and you charged a price for it that let you earn enough to live on. Then along came a huge great retail company and said "We don't think people ought to have to pay all that much for your machinery. We think they ought to pay much less! So we're going to sell your machinery for a tenth of the price, and you'll have to put up with it." Does that sound fair to you?

Asked on 17 December 2012

Q

Dear Philip Did you name Will Parry after Will Stanton from Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising Sequence? I thought you might have because your Will leaves his mother with a Mrs. Cooper at the start of The Subtle Knife. from Ian

A

In a word, no.

Asked on 10 August 2012

Q

Dear Phillip, I was interested to see that you like woodwork. Are there any similarities between your two crafts? Do you feel like a story is something you build?

A

In a way ... But the main thing is that I'm using a different part of my mind, and using my body too, when I make a piece of furniture. It's a change and a rest. It's physically satisfying to pick up a straight piece of oak or walnut and imagine how I'm going to cut it and plane it and fit it together, and then to feel it changing shape under my hands." Does that sound fair to you?

Asked on 04 August 2012

Q

Hi Philip! Can we please get an update on the progress of The Book of Dust? Are you still planning to release it? I only recently got into the His Dark Materials books and I love them. I really wish there was more to read about Lyra & Will's worlds. Thank you Will.

A

Yes! The Book of Dust is now approximately 200 manuscript pages long. I'm writing it steadily, and it's making good progress. Part of the reason I'm able to do that is that I've got everything else out of the way. I can't let you know when it will be published, but it's a lot longer and more advanced now than it was when I last answered this question, so progress is being made.

Asked on 03 August 2012

Q

Dear Mr Pullman, I've read that the first Sally Lockhart Book - The Ruby in the Smoke - started life as a play. Has this been published, or is there an adaptation for the stage, and why did you choose to turn it into a novel?

A

No, it hasn't been published, and unfortunately I've lost the manuscript, so I don't suppose it will be. Actually the play was very different. The book is better.

Asked on 09 July 2012

Q

Dear Mr Pullman, I was wondering if you sell prints of your illustrations. They are beautiful Sasha.

A

Thank you. To be honest, I hadn?t thought of that, but now you've put that idea into my head I'll have something else to get in the way when I'm supposed to be writing The Book of Dust...

Asked on 30 June 2012

Q

Hello Mr Pullman, I am just curious to know if any music impacted/inspired you in writing His Dark Materials? May I just say too that by being an avid reader of your fantasy work that you really go into describing alot which really brang the books to life, so top marks on that facet, I?m a teenage reader and I've read the Harry Potter Series and the Inheritance Cycle and many others (except LOTR which I found boring and confusing at times) and I'm just wondering what I should read next? How can

A

Music is so important to me that I don't listen to it when I'm writing, because I can't concentrate on my work. I can only listen to it when I'm doing something that doesn't involve words. And I love all kinds of music? jazz, classical, pop, everything. As for reading, the best thing I can suggest is to go to a library and browse until you find something that looks good.

Asked on 27 June 2012

Q

I was happy to see that you are planning to write more in the Sally Lockhart series! Any news on when book 5 might be out? A lot of us are really looking forward to her next adventure! Thank you. Carol

A

One day, when I?ve finished The Book of Dust, I shall turn back to Sally and her friends with great pleasure.

Asked on 20 June 2012

Q

Dear Philip, For my English homework we have been asked to find out as much about you as we can i.e where you were born,where you grew up. I?ve found the answers to all of the questions apart from who are your favourite authors and I was wondering if you can answer this for me ? Thankyou James.

A

Too many to list!

Asked on 17 June 2012

Q

Hello, Philip Pullman. I know you must be tired of hearing the same question, but I would like to know if you have any estimate of when the book's dust will be ready. I greatly admire his work. I also write my stories, and I must say that you inspired me a lot. I also take very seriously the daemons. I have one since I was 12 years. Today I am 14 and he is still here beside me. You have no idea how much he helped me in life...You have a daemon? How did you know about this? And one more question: Do you believe that dust can indeed exist, and it is real, as some people argue on your forum, or you think it's just fictional? Thank you. Giuseppe 14 years, Brazil.

A

As I say in an answer to a question above, I can't say when it will be published, but it's growing vigorously because at last I've got time to concentrate on it. Daemons? Yes, everyone has one. Dust? It's a metaphor. But I'm going to say a lot more about it in The Book of Dust.

Asked on 13 June 2012

Q

Dear Mr Pullman, I admire your work very much and I am just wondering do you make up your characters in his dark materials or did they remind you of people? and I would also like to know do you beleive in what you write about dark matter in your books? I have done a lot of research about it but I am srill a little bit confused thank you for your time Mikayla (13)

A

The characters I write about aren't based on anyone in particular. They just come to me. As for dark matter, I tried to make everything I say about it as true as I could. It's a fascinating and mysterious subject - so is dark energy, which had hardly been discovered when I began to write His Dark Materials. I hope to be dealing with it - a little bit, anyway - in The Book of Dust.

Asked on 09 June 2012

Q

Dear Mr. Pullman, I am a 7th grade teacher in Wisconsin. I just finished reading the His Dark Materials trilogy. I have NEVER been so deeply affected by a book, specifically the ending. I have been crying about it for 3 days! Will and Lyra's decision and the bittersweet moments between them truly speak to the power humanity. What is more important to you: Having a reader experience something so emotional or making them question their beliefs or world view. Thank you for this book. Ross, Madison, WI USA

A

Thank you, Ross. What pleases me most is when both things happen - when people are moved both emotionally and intellectually. It's like making an audience laugh and cry at the same time - nothing is more satisfying, and nothing is harder to do.

Asked on 01 June 2012

Q

Dear Phillip I am doing a comparison of the books Northern Lights and The Good Man Jesus And The Scoundrel Christ. What inspiration did you have for both books and what kind of styles did you use for the two of them. Yours Sincerly Lawrence

A

For Northern Lights, I told the story to find out what happened after Lyra got trapped in the Retiring Room and overheard things she wasn't supposed to. For The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ, I already knew the story, of course, so I wanted to tell it from a different angle.

Asked on 16 April 2012

Q

What is truth?

A

If you're asking a novelist to provide an answer for such a profound philosophical problem, you're asking the wrong person.

Asked on 09 April 2012

Q

Dear Mr Pullman, Please can you push for a remake of the Northern Lights film. I personally feel that the HDM trilogy could become the greatest film trilogy ever made if it was put in the right hands. The current writers and producers of the Doctor Who series (Stephen Moffat et. al.) would be fantastic at envisioning your work. What is your opinion on this? Thanks, Matt

A

I agree with your opinion about Stephen Moffat and co, but they are fundamentally TV people rather than cinema people. But that raises the interesting question: would HDM be better as a long TV series? Maybe it would.

Asked on 09 April 2012

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