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B3ta Interview with Eoin Colfer

Eoin Colfer and book (to scale)

Eoin Colfer - best known for the Artemis Fowl series of books has a new project: he's writing a sequel to Douglas Adams's Hitchhikers books. Controversial stuff. He's agreed to answer your questions. Even awkward ones.

To be honest we didn't really expect Eoin to answer all this crap and we're feeling a little bit ashamed as he really comes out of this a lot better than we do.

So take it away B3ta members - do your worst:

Full transcript below - probably easier to read than watching 8 mins of video

Boxers or briefs?

If you could rotate anything, what would you rotate?
Rotate you away from me

Weather. Discuss.
Weather disgusting

Is purple rubbish or just pretty bad?
Everyone knows purple is pain

Who the hell do you think you are?
I think I am therefore I am

Are you going to try an imitate the great Douglas Adams, or are you going to make it your own book?
My own book - you cannot imitate successfully DNA.

Are you working from any of his notes that he may have left behind?
No - solo effort

If your sequel proves to be any kind of success, are you likely to write more?
No. One book is an homage and tribute- 2 books is trying to take over. Not a great idea.

Books are papery and sharp. That's pretty cool, don't you think?
Well where are you sticking your books?

I can't find my favourite trousers. Do you know where they are?
Well judging by the idiocy of your question, you're probably wearing them.

Can you backflip?
I can flip back at you.

Are you afraid of assassination attempts?
I am which is why this is not me.

I haven't read any of your stuff Why should I? Please reply without using the letter L.
It is good- that wasn't so hard.

Which finger is your favourite?
The one sticking up at you

Can you give me a job?
No daddy stop asking

Have you ever picked your nose and eaten the findings?
Findings is a posh word for it

Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?
Last Friday- but it was a bit cloudy and the devil looked like Andy Williams

Andy Williams teeth have two settings: dip and dazzle.

How many copies of your book will you survive being hit by when all the hardcore DA fans try to "Book" you to death?
I am quite puny so three hard backs or five paperbacks- thanks for your kind questions

Sometimes I use books to make stairs for my cat. Is this normal?
Oh yes. Quite normal (backing away slowly)

Did you ever wish you'd wrote derivate shite and sold loads of books like Dan Brown?
How dare you? I do write derivative shit- and learn to spell.

Dan Brown speaks at the Moire pattern support group

If you couldn't use paper to print your books on anymore, what would you use instead?
The insides of my eyelids- just little books.

JK Rowling - Marry, fuck or strangle?
I think you mean kill marry screw- that's what we called it and the classic dilemma was: All of the Corrs or none of the Corrs?

Or all three simultaneously?
You sick man- Is that my brother?

Blokey avoids standing on the edge to prevent cropping

I know many liberal vicars but I don't know any who would allow that! I know one who'd film it-
I know him too- his website- www.filmacelebscrewfest.com

Train A, travelling 70 miles per hour (mph), leaves Westford heading toward Eastford, 260 miles away. At the same time Train B, travelling 60 mph, leaves Eastford heading toward Westford. When do the two trains meet? How far from each city do they meet?
Losing the will to live.

You think Rob will ignore all these frankly superb questions and opt to ask boring ones in their place?
Screw this Rob person- he's not important is he?

Nah - he's getting the lot whether Eoin answers them is up to him of course.I could jump hug you right now. A manly jump hug. HOUGGRH.
I think that hug is for Rob.

What have you been doing since X Factor?
That's a step too far, shitehead.

Are you really going to write this sequel, or do you have an infinite number of monkeys locked away somewhere and are just waiting for them to come up with the goods?
Not an infinite number- barely more than a hundred

What's the plural of daddy long legs?
Lanky fathers

Who would win in a fight, you or JK Rowling?
I think she would- especially a catwalk fight- my hair is grey and I am short.

When exactly did you run out of your own ideas?
In about two weeks

Don't you want me, baby?
Don't you want me? ohhhhhohhhohhohhhh.

The Princess Di look-a-like party was a mixed blessing

Are you going to put pictures of Zooey Deschanel's tits in the middle to entice fans of the shit film to read your book?
Interesting. I will ask her.

I have to admire your balls, do you mind?
No see www.eoincolfersballs.ie

If Hitchhikers Guide was remade as a film (again) who would you cast a Ford Prefect?
I would cast Lee Mack

If you were a robot who would you be?
I'd be a robot

Who the fuck do you think you are, Eoin Colfer?
Correct- you're answering your own question- I can't think why they didn't ask you to write this book.

Are you going to slag off digital watches like Douglas did? I hope not, they're great.
No I love digital watches and am sporting one right now.

Zooey was named after her dad's favourite book: A guide to London Zoo

What number am I thinking of. Right now.

Do you like Vogon poetry?
Not really

Can you quote any of it?
That was a quote.

What's Butler's favourite type of women? Or is he gay?
Gay women

Your sequel will probably end up made into a film... What measures will you take to ensure the cast of the 2005 movie are excluded from the sequel (Stephen Fry, John Malkovich and Bill Bailey excluded)?
I will take a large measure of vodka and leave them to it.

Will hardcore fans of HHGTTG come round to enjoying your book, or will you always be the bastard who's pissing on DNA's grave?
I hope the former- and I didn't actually piss- honest. I love DNA- and that should come through in the book.

Surprise sex or rape?
Same thing

Have you ever put one of Douglas Adams' books between your bumcheeks and farted?
No- too sharp.

Eoin. You're hoping to make us all laugh with your new book in the Hitchhiker series, but what makes YOU laugh?
Funny people- The Mighty Boosh- Ricky Gervais- Karl Pilkington. Har har

PC or Mac?
Mac of course- PCs are rubbish

Eoin, you're writing a sequel to the Hitchhikers books, but have YOU ever hitchhiked, or picked up a hitchhiker?
I hitchhiked all the time as a student in the eighties. There were only six cars in Ireland so it took a while.

Hello. Given that the best you can hope to achieve with this project is a passable imitation of someone who made some jokes that were popular in 1978, what are you doing to make yourself feel good about this?
Thank you mum- also bought a house in France with money- feels purty good.

What people looked like in 1978 (well, what Microsoft looked like anyway)

Haha let's be absolutely clear about this, I don't care at all, I'm just being obnoxious for the sake of it.
You have succeeded.

I don't know about you, but I always think the main objective when setting B3ta interview questions is to make the interviewee regret agreeing to do it.
I think you overestimate your own power

And to keep them away from the internet for the rest of their lives.
And leave it to cool guys like you

I read the intro you wrote for the kids' edition of Hitchhikers where you basically say who are goodies and who are baddies. Did you really think that the book was so complicated that it needed that level of dumbing down? Do you and your publishers think that your normal target audience aren't intelligent enough to follow the book and make up their own minds?
I don't know what intro you are talking about- is it the one where I warn in a funny way about the characters. I thought that was funny. Sorry.

Secondly, how do you feel about someone (maybe even someone you don't think too highly of) possibly taking the characters you've created and telling the world what "officially" happened to them next after your death? I would imagine most authors held their creations very dear, are you the same? Or is publishers money just that great a thing?
I think you have your mind made up about me and obviously know exactly what is going on in everyone's head so explaining to you that I made less money from this than I do from my own books would probably do no good.

It's not the end of the world his doing this book, and it might be very good, I just find it sad the concept of the characters doing things that DA never knew about - like a parent not seeing their kids go off in to the world.
Sorry to be grumpy. I just wish people would realise that this book was written as a tribute to Douglas- a possible ending that would bring a whole new legion of fans to H2G2. If it was for money I would sign up for two more. This is supposed to be the highlight in a celebration of the 30 year anniversary of the first book- not some kind of sleazy rip off. Anyway- the book speaks for itself- read a chapter and find out.

You have no idea.

Given that the Artemis Fowl books are brilliantly written, charming, exciting, and thought provoking, how annoyed are you that most people seem to think that J. K. Rowling's derivative nonsense gets treated like the second coming of Enid Blyton?
Thanks very much. I like JK though.

Eh? How can you even think you would be remotely in the same category of human mind as Douglas? What makes you think your shit is worth even one cent of Douglas'? And who the fuck are you?
Such lovely sentence structure. It makes me not want to debate anything meaningful with you.

What is the most important lesson to be learned from the HHGTTG series? I have my towel, but what else?
Everything can be funny. Except worms.

Worms: never funny

If this were a job interview and we'd reached the end, what question would YOU ask us?
Will I get all religious holidays off?

The Artemis Fowl books have a theme of environmental awareness, as did the work of Douglas Adams, so there are commonalities between your works, but in what ways do you think that your sequels to the Hitchhiker's novels will be unique to you?
I don't know. I hope something of me comes through. It is hard to tell from the inside.

No one else asked so.....How much did you get paid to write the new book? And what sort of royalties are you hoping for?
I got paid a bit less than my usual- but sales might make up for the shortfall. That sounds wanky I know.

Can there be a hideous ginger space-monster called Rob?
Why is Rob getting all this abuse?

Douglas Adams successfully predicted much of the (then) near scientific future. This is a huge act to follow! What new technologies do you think will happen in our lifetimes? And, on a more fanciful note, what new technologies would you like to see happen in the near future?
I'd like a cheap iphone- but that's a pipe dream.

Have you ever been killed to death whilst masturbating over a photo of 80's pop sensation Sabrina?
Not recently. (Debbie Gibson)

Sabrina and Debbie - never knowingly marketed as sex objects

Who (or what) is your favourite character from the originals, and why?
I like Zaphod because he is a little mysterious. Is he a genius or actually that shallow?

Is this book as full of clumsily shoe-horned in 'issues' and cop-outs as your other work has been?

Or alternately, how many inventive ways do you think Douglas Adams if he came back from the dead, could torture you?
You are either a small minded, unimaginative brute or a comic with bad judgement.

BTW - Just to show what an H2G2 geek myself and the wife are we named our daughter (and we can scan in her passport if proof be needed) Milliway Fenchurch Reeds - Is that the oddest Hitchhikers fan act ever or what ?
Oh my god. Respect to you, sir.

Artemis Fowl was a good book but one line stuck with me from it, it was a description of Butler having 'hands like shovels.' Anyway, did that particular detail come from anyone in particular?
A fisherman friend of mine- and also Barry McGuigan

Barry hated his mum for sewing his name into his pants

Erm... didn't they all die in the last book after Random went back to earth and it was the day of the Vogon Constructor Fleets? How do you propose to bring all our beloved characters back? And if it has anything to do with a dream followed by Arthur Dent walking out the shower, will not be impressed sir!
Oooh, crap. Just kidding. I think I managed it okay.

True story: In the late Eighties, I sold Douglas Adams a (then impressive) 40Mb hard drive for his Mac... I was so star-stuck and over-awed I didn't take the opportunity to chat to him and never told him how much his books meant to me. He looked like he was in a hurry, and I didn't want to be a needy fan. I regret it to this day... Did you ever get the chance to meet him? If so, were you as tongue-tied? And what's your biggest regret?
It is one of my biggest regrets that I didn't meet him. I did meet my hero Dave Gilmour and I cleverly said: You're Dave Gilmour.

I know the BBC radio show got around the characters deaths at the end of Mostly Harmless by claiming that it was a quirk of those born in the Z-plural zones, thus providing the happy ending where everyone appeared back at Milliways for cocktails rather than the stark fact that all the main protagonists were in fact deceased by the end of DNA's last foray into that particular storyline, thus neatly tying up all the loose ends. However, this thread of questions has gone on for quite some considerable length, so aren't you bored of listening to me by now? Lot's of love, The voice inside your head whenever you read something.
I didn't use this ending as it removed all threat and therefore drama.

Do you worry about making it too aimed at existing fans and risking alienating new readers?
It was a fine line- trying to write a book of mine that felt like a H2G2 book. We will have to see.

That last part is probably the opposite of the case. He'll make it friendly to new readers and completely alienate anyone who has read the previous books.
Doubt it. Dirk Maggs loves it and Simon Jones. But nice uninformed statement.

My favourite book of yours was Airman. Do you plan to write a sequel to that?
Maybe. It will be a movie soon.

Right - read that far? Ok, seeing as Eoin has been a good sport about these quite awful questions - either buy the book or come down to Hitchcon '09 on Sunday 11th October. 11.30am, bring your dressing gown, bring your towel, for the biggest gathering of Hitchhiker fans ever.