Garth Nix is an Australian author of numerous books, most of them fantasy and science fiction, for children, young adults and adults. Find out more at

My Proof:

EDIT: Thanks for the questions! Come and see me in the USA in October, tour details here

Comments: 287 • Responses: 70  • Date: 

LaserBeamLove109 karma

Mr. Nix - I am thrilled to be able to ask you a question - I have been a huge fan of your work for almost 20 years now! Thank you so much for writing the Old Kingdom series with such capable, intelligent, and independent female heroines. Sabriel, Lirael, (and the Disreputable Dog!) are characters I adored during my formative years (and still do!) and surely they have had a large impact on my own attitudes and actions as a young woman.

I picked up Sabriel at a school book fair in 1996 (I was 12) and for 18 years the Old Kingdom trilogy has been on my shelf and remains my favorite trilogy - I can't wait for the release of Clariel!

Two questions:

1) Do you ever plan on writing/producing a companion guide (maybe illustrated?) that is something like an "Charter magic grimoire/Old Kingdom bestiary/etc"? Something that goes deeper into explaining charter magic and the instruments and weapons forged in the Old Kingdom? Or maybe one of the bestiaries Lirael reads in the library of the Clayr? I'm sure a ton of fans would be very interested!

2) I'm sorry if you get asked this a lot, but will there ever be Old Kingom films or a series?

Thanks again - such an honor to write to you! Here is a painting I did of my idea of Sabriel (I always imagined her as kind of a Liv Tyler-esque lady)!

Garth_Nix110 karma

  1. I don't plan a companion guide, but you never know. Right now I'm working on another novel, which will pick up roughly from the end of ABHORSEN/ "The Creature in the Case" (which I just mistyped as "the Creature in the Vase" a whole lot less scary).
  2. I hope that one day good films will be made. I'm doing whatever I can to make this happen, we just need a bunch of stars to align, as it were! Good to see the painting. I love that the books inspire art.

mhals16 karma

I bet you could get a scary Free Magic creature in a vase of sorts! (green glass vase with a lid?)

Garth_Nix21 karma

I'm sure you could. It just doesn't sound as good!

namelessbanana67 karma

I really wanted to thank you. I didnt grow up with a passion for reading. Sabriel was one of the first books I read for pleasure and still to this day is my favorite. It is one of the books that I credit with me becoming the voracious reader I am today. Sabriel is my go to "Have you read ______?" book.

With Clariel being set 600 years before Sabriel will this time period be at the height of the Old Kingdom? What differences could that cause for the Abhorsen versus the time in which Sabriel is set?

Any chance of a new bell charm casting? Ive been wanting one for years!

See you in Seattle on the 22nd!

Garth_Nix66 karma

The bell charms were unfortunately derailed by the death of a very good friend of mine who was helping me with the whole project. With him gone I kind of haven't had the heart or the time to sort it out since then. However, I know a lot of people want them so I will do something about it in the next six months. Sorry!

Hiromaniac49 karma

I've been an avid fan since my sister introduced me to The Seventh Tower, but the Abhorsen series is by far my favorite. Most other sources spin Necromancy as an inherently bad concept, yet you were able to display it on equal footing as other types of magic. What gave you the inspiration to use necromancy as a focal point in the series?

Garth_Nix53 karma

I'm not really sure. I was thinking about death a lot, I guess because my grandfather was dying when i was beginning the book and he was the first person I knew closely to die. It also took a long time and made me wonder about stages of death, being between life and death and what people believe about the afterlife (if any).

The_Master40 karma

Hi! First off, thank you. Sabriel was such an important book to my childhood. Growing up, she gave me a role model that empowered and inspired me. When I look at women in literature, I point to Sabriel as one every girl should know and aspire to.

Now the question! For a very long time, I've wondered and wondered about the charter marks. When a mage receives their mark, is it a unique mark to them, are they given a specific mark with meaning, do they all have the same mark? When speaking and signing, what does that look and sound like?

Also, as far as the film (please lord yes), I know you're waiting on a package that you can be happy with. Are there any specific directors or anything that you have in mind? I always imagined Guillermo Del Toro would do some incredible things with the dead and the Charter.

Thanks for chatting with us all today!! Hope your tour is going well!

Garth_Nix41 karma

You know, I'm not sure whether people get an individual Charter mark or not and I've put off deciding this until I need to for some reason (such as it being depicted in a film). This pretty much sums up my approach to world building in general, I only work out what I need for the story and move on. Any director with a great visual sense but also a very strong feel for the structure of story would suit me. Guillermo Del Toro has certainly shown that.

eeylopss35 karma

Garth - I love your novels so much. I read the Keys to the Kingdom when I was younger, and Lirael when I was slightly older, and they're all just incredible. I can't stress this enough. Seriously. Amazing.

Anyway, my question is: does the walker choose the path, or the path the walker?

Joking, but seriously, what inspires your character names? I've been curious for a long time. Do you just come up with names like Lirael, or is there a significant reason behind them? Why are some characters called things like Sam? What is the logic behind the bell names?

Thank you so much for doing an AMA (and I loved Clariel so much. Damn, that twist at the end.)

Garth_Nix54 karma

Hey, thanks. You're a quick reader to have got through CLARIEL already! I spend a lot of time on character names. I mix up existing words that have particular meanings or resonance until I get a name that sounds right. I say them aloud. Sometimes I'll do dozens of possible names until I get the one that sounds and feels right. In the Old Kingdom, I used the -iel and -ael endings from angel's names a lot because they resonate with power, even if the reader doesn't consciously realise it.

dishie25 karma

Garth, have you ever been approached by any comic/graphic novel publishers for an Abhorsen series? I think the books would be phenomenal in that media!

Garth_Nix35 karma

Graphic novels have been in the works for quite a while. I've adapted SABRIEL. It got stalled for a while for various reasons, hopefully we'll get back on track soon-ish.

LambentEnigma20 karma

Hello, Mr. Nix! I've been a big fan of your books since I was 13. I have to ask, what's the status of the Sabriel movie?

Garth_Nix38 karma

There's nothing concrete to report right now. The film has almost been set up a couple of times, only to fall over for various reasons, as is the nature of that business. But I have written a screenplay, interest continues and there's always a lot of talk! Whether it amounts to anything is in the lap of the gods . . .

reditor_sic20 karma

I'm a huge fan! Thank you so much for doing this AMA. I can't wait to read CLARIEL. Four questions:

1) What made you decide to return to the Old Kingdom?

2) When you wrote SABRIEL, did you know that LIRAEL would eventually follow?

3) Where do you find your writing inspiration?

4) If you could write about a superhero, which superhero would you choose?

Garth_Nix26 karma

1) I had the idea for CLARIEL a long time ago, it just had to wait its turn while I wrote the other books that were more present in my mind. 2) No, I wrote SABRIEL as a standalone and had no plans for anything else. However, while I was writing SHADE'S CHILDREN (which came next) I started getting ideas for LIRAEL and starting writing notes. 3) I get inspiration from all kinds of things, but particularly other people's art. If I'm feeling underpowered and don't want to write, listening to some great music, watching a really good film, looking at brilliant art, reading a favourite book . . . they all get me going again. 4) I'd try to create a different, new superhero.

blacktulips17 karma

You are such a great writer and inspiration. I got my very first tattoo because of Sabriel. "Does the walker choose the path, or does the path choose the walker?" is now forever a part of me. I started reading Sabriel when I was in highschool, circa 2005. I work in a bookstore, and tonight I get to put Clariel on the shelves after we close!

How does it feel knowing that you have touched the lives of so many young people with your series? (Especially those who grew up and got a quote tattooed? )


Garth_Nix16 karma

It feels kind of strange to be honest, but also a great privilege. I'm really pleased the books have an effect and connect with people (of all ages), but it also feels kind of separate to me. I'm always very impressed to see the tattoos!

TiredEyes_17 karma

Typical aspiring writer here:

Now that you've "made it", I'm sure you can write nearly whatever you'd like. How often were your works turned down by agents/publishers at the beginning of your career?

Garth_Nix39 karma

Most significantly, the book I wrote after my first book was published was rejected by all and sundry. So even after that first novel "success" I couldn't get the next one published. And the first novel, THE RAGWITCH, was rejected by three or four publishers before being picked up. Even SABRIEL was rejected by some US publishers after being first published in Australia. One of them said they loved it but fantasy was out of fashion in children's/YA. This was just before Harry Potter . . .

ACollectiveSigh16 karma


Garth_Nix29 karma

I'd hate to live in the world of SHADE'S CHILDREN, that's a very, very rough post-apocalyptic place. Gold-Eye's talent to see the immediate future would be very helpful . . .

naiyt14 karma


Garth_Nix10 karma

Glad you happened to be going past! We had a fun time in Utah.

honeydot14 karma

Hi Garth,

Thanks for doing an AMA! I read your book Shade's Children about 10 years ago and fell in love with it. I'm a fan of the Old Kingdom series but Shade's is really my all time favourite!

Do you think Shade's Children could ever be made into a film or television series? Much as I enjoy Old Kingdom I don't know if the beauty and metaphor of the writing (such as the river water in death) would be easy to represent on film, but Shade's has wonderful potential to be the next Hunger Games/Maze Runner type thriller.

Is that something you would like to see happen?

Garth_Nix9 karma

Sure. I'd like to see a good adaptation! There has been interest over the years. You never know!

Eladnitram12 karma

Hi Mr. Garth! Your Keys to the Kingdom series is what really sparked my interest in books. Thank you for that. Just one question: Is the idea of a movie franchise for The Keys to the Kingdom pretty much dead?

Garth_Nix17 karma

There's some tv talk going on. It's always hard to answer these question because something can seem dead one day and be risen the next . . . the film/tv world is full of unexpected revenants.

UncleArthur12 karma

Hello Mr Nix.

My children (especially my daughter) got me into reading The Old Kingdom books, and the entire family adores them. So thank you for the enjoyment you have brought us.

It is interesting to note that the series is mainly populated by female protagonists. Was this a conscious decision on your part and what positives and negatives did it bring to your writing process?

Garth_Nix32 karma

Thanks for reading. With SABRIEL, I initially thought I would write about her father, but as soon as I'd written the prologue I realised she was more interesting anyway and that it would make a good change to have a female protagonist for a fantasy adventure anyway, there weren't enough around back in the early 1990s (but there were some great ones). To be honest, after that I just wrote it. I've never had any difficulty imagining strong, capable women because I grew up with plenty and so had lots of real-life examples to steal bits and pieces of character from.

shyinryu9 karma

Im a big fan of your work. thank you for doing this AMA. Ive re-read the Sabriel series I dont know how many times(But enough to replace a copy or two), and it will continue to be this way forever.

Is there any further news on when a Sabriel Movie might happen and who would you like to see play Sabriel? I love to see one thats true to the book in any and every possible way.

P.S when are you ever going to come to canada?


Garth_Nix9 karma

I've had a go at answering this above. No concrete news right now. If anything does happen, it will get shouted out on twitter etc :-)

PackingForMars3 karma

I too hope you come visit us in Canada sometime!

Garth_Nix4 karma

I'd love to visit Canada. I've been to Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto, but only fairly short visits for writer's festivals or the World Fantasy Convention. One of these days!

ladafi8 karma

Hello! Your book series, the Old Kingdom (the Abhorsen series) is my absolute favorite and I probably think about the characters on a daily basis. I've read/listened to them on audiobook about 50 times. I met you in Portland 7 or 8 years ago after reading Sabriel (my book was filled with post-its for a class, and I felt embarrassed because you read one of them, ha!)

That being said, two questions:

  1. What is the "sort-of sequel" going to be about, and how far into the future will it be set?

  2. What character in the Old Kingdom series do you like the most and why?

Thanks so much!

Garth_Nix26 karma

The book I'm working on now picks up after ABHORSEN. It does have Lirael and Nicholas in it. But I don't want to say more than that at the moment. I believe talking too much about unwritten books steals their energy away. I like all my characters. I couldn't choose one. Like children, the others might hear about it and get cross :-) I remember the book full of post-it notes. I was impressed.

SansSariph8 karma

I'm a huge fan and can't wait to meet you in Seattle! My question is - will you sign a Kindle? I'm tempted to buy a hardcover of Clariel but I'm addicted to ebooks now.

Garth_Nix16 karma

Sure, I'll sign the back of a Kindle. I signed one the other day that had about 20 author's signatures on it.

ghostlogic7 karma

Has anyone contacted you about doing a 7th Tower movie/tv adaptation? In the least I would hope that someone would want to do a Video Game based off of Beastmaker.... Thank you for being awesome.

Garth_Nix12 karma

The Seventh Tower books were wholly-owned by LucasFilm and thus now Disney, so I wouldn't know. I'd love to see a game of Beastmaker myself!

advicedoge777 karma

If you could collaborate with any modern fantasy author on your next project, who would it be?

Garth_Nix9 karma

Well, I've only ever collaborated with my friend Sean Williams. We knew each other for close to 20 years before deciding to work on a joint project (Troubletwisters). While there are many authors whose work I greatly admire, I'd need to know them well and how they work before wanting to co-write with them.

advicedoge773 karma

In that case, which authors do you most admire?

Garth_Nix9 karma

There are a great many. I'm not as well-read in fantasy as I once was, I read a lot more non-fiction and other fiction the last few years. But I've recently read astonishingly good books from Guy Gavriel Kay, Holly Black, Maggie Stiefvater, Joe Abercrombie . . .

ohitsabrandon6 karma

Hello Mr Nix, How do you feel about fans creating things based on your books. From things like fan made bells, through to pieces of artwork and short films? Is it something you enjoy seeing, or something you find veers too much away you idea of something you wanted to create. Bran

Garth_Nix7 karma

I'm fine with it, in general. Often I don't even know about it or don't have time to take a look.

RamonaLives6 karma

I have to ask, even though I see there is a new book coming* and this may factor in, did the Disreputable Dog ever visit Lirael after the events in Abhorsen (in Life or Death)?

I've been hoping this is true since I first finished Abhorsen. If I have to play favorites, the Dog and Lirael are on the top of my list of all-time favorite characters, and it warms my heart to think of the Dog popping by every once in awhile for a vigorous face licking.

*Edited to change my flub mentioned below! Typing in a hurry at work..

Garth_Nix10 karma

"The Creature in the Case" is included in ACROSS THE WALL, which came out in I think 2005. This isn't really a question I can answer, I'm afraid, except to say that the Disreputable Dog is in some fashion, always around.

Atashi_Nim5 karma

Hi Mr. Nix! You are my favorite author! I thank you for the books you have written.

What made you decide to write Clariel?

Garth_Nix9 karma

I actually had the basic idea (or rather a question about a character) for CLARIEL way back when I was writing LIRAEL in 1998. It sat at the back of my mind for a long time, slowly building up until it became the next book I had to write. I usually have a whole bunch of books forming in my mind, kind of queuing up for their turn . . .

DarkeKnight4 karma

Thanks for the AMA! I've only read A Confusion of Princes and I liked it!

Have you read the Wheel of Time series? If yes, what are your opinions on it?

Garth_Nix8 karma

I read the first WHEEL OF TIME book when it first came out, a long time ago. I enjoyed it, but didn't continue with the series. This has more to do with my lack of time due to my own writing than anything else.

mhals3 karma


Wonderful to meet you recently & in the past (I'm the one with the kindle case/bookmark: & ...)

Anyway one thing I love about the Old Kingdom books especially are the maps: the new one of Belisaere in Clariel is great! Will we ever see any maps of places farther afield? (Talk of The Rift, Estwael, the Great Forest etc. made me curious those places on the map.)

PS. Clariel was incredible, one of my favorites of yours, if not my favorite period. The pacing in the Old Kingdom books is impeccable! Maybe that's a weird thing to comment on... (I noticed when I started reading something else - good but less well-paced - after Clariel.)

Garth_Nix4 karma

Probably. I typically only map out what I need, with hints to other things. (The maps are redrawn by real artists for the books). Thanks again for the bookmark!

AderynAzula3 karma

I first wanted to stay that I remember first reading Lirael 10 years ago. Actually I listened to the audiobook version on cassette tapes!

My question is which of the time periods in the Old Kingdom do you find most interesting to write? Is it more exciting to write about the general ruin during Sabriel or the relative peace of Lirael?

Garth_Nix3 karma

I like them all, because you can find a story even in an apparently very peaceful and settled time.

CatCassidy3 karma

Pardon my THREE questions...the top two have been floating around in my mind for a while now. _^

1) How many Clayr live in the Glacier at a given time? 2) What percentage of the Clayr are male? 3) How do you feel about the people who have gotten charter mark tattoos and the novelist who changed her middle and last names to Clayr names?

Garth_Nix6 karma

  1. It varies. There have been times when there were a lot more Clayr. Generally under 10,000.
  2. Hmm. Can't answer that,
  3. I'm fine with all that.

Gone-Postal-Narwhal3 karma

I'm super excited to see you on reddit. I love all your books! Clariel is in the mail on its way! Can't wait to read it! When do you expect the book after Abhorsen to be out? Will you write anything else in the Keys to the Kingdom series?

Garth_Nix7 karma

My next book is a story collection called TO HOLD THE BRIDGE, which will be out in May. It contains a long short story set in the Old Kingdom. Then there will be NEWT'S EMERALD in October, which is a Regency Romance with Magic/YA. Hopefully the next Old Kingdom book will be out October 2016. If I finish it in a timely fashion . . . I doubt I will return to the House and the world of KTTK. But you never know!

egotistical_cynic3 karma

hi mr nix have you everconsidered writing another novel set in the confusion of princes universe?

Garth_Nix4 karma

I have no plans. There is a short story called "Master Haddad's Holiday" which will be in TO HOLD THE BRIDGE, my story collection out next May.

pistachiopaul3 karma

Garth - I remember loving The Seventh Tower and Keys to the Kingdom growing up, so thanks for that. You've been in the business for a while--how have you seen the young adult market change, and how do you keep up with it? Any advice for writers trying to get into the YA game?

Garth_Nix5 karma

I don't keep up with it, because there is now too much going on! But even when I was getting started I didn't worry too much about knowing what was going on. My advice would be the same now. Read widely (not just YA), including going back through much older books (including the classics) and write the story that you most want to write. It will probably work out better anyway.

chooter3 karma

Shade's Children. Videogame. When is it happening?

Garth_Nix2 karma

I wish it was. It'd be cool.

honeyfew3 karma

Hi, thanks for doing this AMA! What is your writing process like?

Garth_Nix9 karma

It's varied over the years. I wrote the first 12 or so of my books while having very busy day jobs. Back then I wrote a few hours a couple of nights a week, and on Sunday afternoons. Since then, I tend to write now during regular office hours. I think it's important not to get too hung up on having a particular routine. It's good to have one, but you also need to be able to adapt.

Jequilan3 karma

In the Old Kingdom series, what inspired the characteristics of each of the precincts and gates of Death?

(Not a question, but Sabriel is one of my most re-read books; the characters are so fantastic. I'm really looking forward to your panel this weekend :))

Garth_Nix11 karma

I'm not really sure, but probably it stems from the Bible and later medieval additions/interpretations on the different levels of Hell, mixed with the rivers of Death from the Greek myths, the Lethe and the Styx etc and I started from there and found my own realm of Death as I went along with the story. See you in Austin at the TexasTeen Book festival!

qwedrft1013 karma

Hello Mr. Nix! You are my favorite author. I grabbed Sabriel one day when I was at the library probably 6 years ago and over the next few months I read every single book that they had of yours. Your stories really helped me retain creativity as I grew up. I cried when I finished them all because it couldn't be over! I am so incredibly excited to read the new book. I know I'll have to go back and reread the others, and I am so excited!

If you could go back and change one thing about the world you created in the Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen, what would it be?

Who is your favorite character?

Do you plan to continue the series?

Thank you so much!!!

Garth_Nix8 karma

I wouldn't change anything. To me, when the books are done, they're done. It's kind of like you've raised a child and now they are an adult and they are going off into the world. You help them as much as you can (with promotion, signings and dare I say it, an AMA) but you can't change them. I can't choose a favourite character. Yes, I will be writing more in the Old Kingdom.

Bladescra3 karma

I'm fairly certain that you are into D&D and such and even though it's not really a question, I wanted you to know that I'm in the midst of setting up a game system that takes place in the world you have created. Balancing those bells is fun.

I picked these books up when I was much younger 8 or 9 I believe at the time, and I make it a point to read this series every year. I love the style, the themes everything about these books, I even ordered a signed copy of Clariel.

My question to you in the spirit of the AMA, is to simply ask, which covers do you prefer on your books, I still have my old books, with the art of Sabriel, Lirael and the dog, Lireal with bells and the dog, and I prefer these to the new covers, whether nostalgia or preference I'm unsure. Regardless I'm curious what covers do you like the most?

Garth_Nix3 karma

I like all the covers, it's a luxury to have so many different interpretations (with the Australian and UK covers as well). In fact SABRIEL has about 50 different covers counting all the translated editions. Some of them are kind of weird (like one Chinese one with a bearded wizard on the front) but there are also some great ones there, too.

tread-softly3 karma

Hey Garth, I met you at the signing you did in Dublin, you were so lovely! I first read Sabriel 11 years ago and the Old Kingdom series has firmly established itself as a favourite of mine. I've re-read then more times than I can count! Clariel was incredible, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Now, question time!

We discovered Lireal was a Remembrancer, a mingling of Abhorsen and Clayr powers. I'm wondering do you have any future plans of introducing us to more crossed bloodlines?

CatCassidy7 karma

Don't forget Sam being Royal/Wallmaker. And Clariel is part of another Royal/Abhorsen line, like Lirael. (Unless the part I'm referring to was taken out in the final edit [I read an ARC], there was also a royal guard that appeared to be Clayr/Civilian.)

I wonder what a Clayr/Wallmaker would be like? Seeing the stuff they make before they make it? (Would that also save on mistakes?)

Garth_Nix7 karma

Interesting speculation there, Cat! Yes, Clariel has a mixed heritage from the Royal and Abhorsen lines and Gullaine is a Clayr who has not chosen to live as they do. There's also the hint of another woman who has rejected her apparent inheritance for another.

Garth_Nix5 karma

Ah, I wish I had a Dublin Guinness in front of me right now. Not only do I have no Guinness at all, it never tastes the same out of Ireland. It is possible that there might be more on crossed bloodlines . . .

FriendofMogget3 karma

Dear Garth,

Lovely to have you here! It was so wonderful to meet you for the second time at your Forbidden Planet signing, and once I'd left I thought of a question I wanted to ask you and was kicking myself for not thinking of it sooner!

Will anyone (Sam?!) ever add a Yrael bell to the bandoleer? And, on that note - the other bright shiners have a specific power associated with them - I've been trying to figure out Yrael's but haven't been able to. Could you give me a clue?

ETA - I second the calls for another bell casting! I wear the Ranna charm you gave me at a previous signing every day!

Garth_Nix6 karma

Probably not, Yrael having absented himself from the making of the Charter. Snark? That's only a joke, btw.

theangelsshare3 karma

Hi, Garth! I can’t even begin to explain how excited and happy I am for you to be doing an AMA. There are a million things I wish I could have a discussion with you about, but I’ll try to keep it to a minimum  First off, I just want to thank you for being such an incredible author and bringing so much joy to your fans. I am a huge fan of Shade’s Children, The Key’s to the Kingdom, and of course The Old Kingdom series. I love how intelligent your writing is; not only are you entertaining, but you manage to incorporate important morals and lessons. It just blows my mind, because I feel like you don’t see that enough in high fantasy. That being said, I do have a few questions. I’d be honored if you chose one to answer :)

  1. I’ve read that you worked in publishing before you became an author. Do you think there are any pros or cons to that in regards to knowing what is expected of an author? Was working in publishing rewarding/fun/a good choice for you?

  2. I absolutely adore Sabriel, Touchstone, and Mogget. How do you manage to create such well-rounded characters? Any techniques or tricks?

  3. Do you have any favorite authors or books you’d suggest to your fans? Doesn’t have to be fantasy or fiction.

Thanks again for reading and taking your time out to answer some of our questions here on reddit. I’m a huge fan of yours, I can’t wait to make it to one of your book signings. I can’t really express how much of an impression you’ve made on me as an author, I can’t say thank you enough.

Garth_Nix5 karma

  1. I worked in publishing while I was an author, I've been writing pretty much constantly since I was 19 but knew I need a day job or jobs. It has helped me understand publishing for sure, but in general I tend to think of myself as almost two people: the writer writes what he wants to write without thinking about it being published, but when it's done then my publisher/agent half steps in to make the most of it. Also, despite being an ex-agent I still have representation, it is very important.
  2. I try to think of my characters as real people (even when they're animals or ancient powers in the shape of animals). If they feel real to me when I'm writing, they'll feel real to the reader.
  3. I have too many to mention! Some very quick author names off the top of my head: Joan Aiken, Diana Wynne Jones, Ursula Le Guin, Andre Norton, P. G. Wodehouse, JRR Tolkien, Lloyd Alexander, Susan Cooper, Frans Bengtsson . . .

InquisitivePickle2 karma

Thanks for taking the time to do this AMA! Looking forward to seeing you later in the tour.

If I remember correctly, in Across the Wall you mentioned that you took some time after school driving around Europe and writing. As an aspiring fiction writer with severe security issues, I'm curious - how did you pay for fuel, food, (presumably?) lodging, and other necessities during that time?

Garth_Nix3 karma

I worked for a year after I left school, saved my money, and then went travelling. When I got back, I went to university to get a degree because even though I had then decided to try to be a writer, I realised I would need a day job and you can get a much better-paid one with a degree!

Lorlele2 karma

First of all, thank you! The Abhorsen trilogy is absolutely my favorite trilogy, and the Keys to the Kingdom my favorite series. Actually, everything you write is my favorite.

Now to my question! Abhorsen was supposed to be the end to the trilogy, but since you've written a side story and now the new Clariel (sorry if I misspelled that).. Do you plan to keep writing to the series? Will it be one of those series that just keeps going? (I seriously hope so!)

Garth_Nix8 karma

There is a lot of room for more stories. There will be another novel, hopefully in 2016. And a long story in TO HOLD THE BRIDGE in May. And come to think of it, I have half another story about Sabriel's father and mother that I must finish.

Aganomnom2 karma

I'm sorry I missed you in the UK, but I sent my sister along to get me a copy of Clairiel in Edinburgh. Thanks for signing it!

Do you have a preference for the Old Kingdom book covers? Character vs Charter?

Also, the time you spent in the Clayr's library was one of my favourite. Do you think you'll ever head back there, or is it best left alone?

Garth_Nix3 karma

I like all the covers. It's a luxury to have different cover versions, and always interesting. I think it likely that readers will see more of the Great Library of the Clayr.

onebadpoet2 karma

  1. Do you have any advice for fiction writers trying to get published?

  2. Will we see more stories from the more "modern" side of the wall?

Garth_Nix2 karma

  1. Read a lot, write a lot, revise a lot, submit a lot. (Basically heinlein's advice). I would add read widely, across all genres and categories.
  2. Yes.

ThomPH2 karma

I simply had to create a Reddit account so I could say you're a great writer and the Old Kingdom books are awesome. Just starting on Clariel now, really excited! My question is: I just read here that there's a sequel in the making (which is great news!), do you roughly know when it will be done? I can't wait :)

Garth_Nix2 karma

Thanks! Hopefully 2016 for the next Old Kingdom book.

gracebatmonkey2 karma

Hello, Mr. Nix! Thanks so much for giving us this opportunity to ask questions!

When you get started on new work, is your mind more on the characters, the setting, or the readers? (you balance all so flawlessly, I've been curious about this for years!)

What has been your favourite convention experience so far?

Is there a convention you've always wanted to attend as either pro or general member but haven't been able to do so, yet?

(I selfishly would one day like to see you at Norwescon, personally)

Hoping to be at this book signing and encouraging the teens in my life to be there: Saturday, October 18 @10:30am Texas Teen Book Festival St. Edward's University 3001 South Congress Avenue Austin, Texas 78704

Wishes for a lovely time at whatever you're doing next from a longtime fan.

Garth_Nix2 karma

When I start a story (whether it is a book or a short) I typically have a character and a setting in mind, but it is only a very vague mental sketch, which I slowly develop as I go on, and I work out more and put it in. I don't think about readers at all, I just realised! Just the story, visualising it and trying to make it feel real.

Garth_Nix2 karma

Oh, my favourite convention is generally World Fantasy. Kind of like all the dentists getting together if you're a dentist, as it is nearly all writers, agents, editors, artists etc and it is small so you can catch up with people. Hope to see you in Austin next weekend!

Sozu_2 karma

Mr. Nix -

Have you any plans to go into further detail about the history of the Abhorsen family tree in your future writings? To learn about the origins of the first Abhorsen, and the several noteworthy ancestors who have since held that title would be very interesting.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you! Sabriel was the very first fantasy novel I ever read, many years ago. After reading your words and being enveloped in the rich world you described, I have never strayed from the fantasy genre. I've even gone so far as to write my own novel. So, again: thank you!

Garth_Nix1 karma

Hey, I'm glad SABRIEL got you into the genre and into writing. That's great.

I have no plans to go back to the very first Abhorsen, but you never know.

Raithstone2 karma

Hello Mr. Nix, I can't think of anything really interesting to ask so I'll ask you this:

You're well-known for having a name that suits the genre you write within, do you think that has made a difference to how well-known you are (and how popular you are)? Or is there nothing to the name you write with?

Garth_Nix5 karma

I think ultimately the words on the page are by far the most important thing. But a distinctive name doesn't hurt. It's like quite a few things in being published, very small probability modifiers might just give your luck that tiny nudge that helps.


I started reading your books with The Fall in 2000 back when I was 11 or so and have read almost every one of your novels and short stories since then. Thank you for doing what you do!

My Question: If you got to sit down and chat with one of your characters over tea, who would it be, and what do you imagine they would want to talk about?

Garth_Nix8 karma

It would be a bit too metafictional for my liking for me to sit down with one of my characters and have them aware that I was their creator . . . it would break their reality. Also, since I made them up, presumably I would know what they were going to say anyway :-)

Leela_Belle2 karma

Thanks for doing this! The Old Kingdom series helped me hold on to my sanity through many hospital stays and they became a great comfort to me. They have been read MANY times and have yet to lose their magic.

My questions:

  1. Do you have any four-legged friends that inspired Mogget and/or the Disreputable Dog?

  2. Do you listen to music whilst writing? If so, what music have you listened to while writing the Old Kingdom series?

  3. It's hard for me to imagine you hitting a wall or battling writer's block. If this actually happens, what do you do to overcome it?

Thank you so much!

Garth_Nix6 karma

  1. Check the dedication to LIRAEL. The DD, or at least her dog-like characteristics were very much inspired by a real dog, Bytenix. Mogget, I like to say, was inspired by all the cats I have ever known.
  2. I do sometimes listen to music, but probably more often I work in silence. There is no particular music associated with the Old Kingdom in my head.
  3. I try to work through it, just to write anything. Sometimes this means changing to a short story for a while. Also, sometimes I do just give up for a while and go and try to refresh my mind. Take a walk, read a book, watch a film, look at art, see a play . . .

akhlin2 karma

Hi Garth! Thanks for doing this. Apologies if this has been asked and answered, but what's up with the Sabriel graphic novel project? I know Amazon UK had it listed for pre-order with an available date that long since passed. Any news?

Thanks again! !!


Garth_Nix2 karma

Stalled at the moment. Hopefully we'll restart it soon. Issues over artists, availability and cost.


Who would win in a battle-royale style fight: Tal, Milla, Sabriel, Touchstone, Drum, Arthur, Lirael, Sameth, The Will, Mogget, or The Ragwitch? (Am I missing anyone?) What tactic would they use to come out on top?

Garth_Nix3 karma

They'd work something out and cooperate. Against some terrible opponent of course.

TylinaVespart1 karma

Just wanted to say thank you first of all - Sabriel et al are utterly fantastic and one of the few book series my fiance and I can agree on!

With Shade's Children, did you ever plan to explore that world any further? Or is there only ever going to be that one book?

Garth_Nix3 karma

I have no plans to revisit the world of SHADE'S CHILDREN. Except there is a short story called "You Won't Feel a Thing" which is in my story collection TO HOLD THE BRIDGE out next May. So I guess there are still ideas floating around in my head. You never know . . .

ShartsInPants1 karma

What lead you to become an author? Did you always want to write or did something trigger your interest?

Garth_Nix2 karma

I didn't always plan to be an author. I always loved reading and I liked writing stories. I actually thought I was going to be an Army officer when I was in school (but changed my mind after a few years in the Army Reserve as a part-time soldier). Then when I was on a long holiday in the UK and Europe I re-read a lot of my favourite children's books and started writing one of my own . . . and that was it. Though I also had enough common sense to plan for a day job as well, so I had a parallel career in publishing for quite a while as well as writing.

reggiems1 karma

You retweeted me once and i stopped working to call all the people i know. :) But anyway, how does the writing process differ from Ragwitch, Shade's Children, etc., which often stand alone and a bit adult, to something like the Keys to the Kingdom, which reads IMO as geared to a slightly younger audience, and was released in rapid-fire series?

Garth_Nix1 karma

Ha! I'm glad the retweet was an event :-) My process doesn't really change. I seem to work out the "entry level" for a story when I'm first thinking about it and working some of it, so that when I start writing it becomes a children's book or a YA book, or an uncompromisingly adult story etc

daleygaga1 karma

Hello! I think you're AMAZING.

Intensely curious, if you weren't an author, what other profession would you have pursued?

Also, what are you reading right now? Any book suggestions? ;)

Last: in which fantasy world would you love to exist?

Cheers for all you do! Thanks for the magic!

Garth_Nix1 karma

I'd probably be a literary agent, which was my last other job (while also being a writer). I love books and publishing and had a parallel career in publishing earlier on. Right now I'm reading On Film-Making by Alexander Mackendrick. I tend to read non-fiction on tour. I don't know why.

slow_down_tommy1 karma

Hi Mr Nix thanks for doing this IAmA . Just wondering If you have any plans for another series of books in the near future? I have have very much enjoyed immersing myself in your work to date and would to get that chance again.

Garth_Nix2 karma

I'm writing another Old Kingdom novel at the moment, so there is that. In terms of series, I am planning something new to co-write with my friend Sean Williams, which will be a lot of fun I think. Something different to our TROUBLETWISTERS collaboration.

The_Master1 karma

Also! (Because I never ask enough questions)

How do you feel about fans creating and adapting the books into film or scenes on their own?

Garth_Nix2 karma

I have no problem with fan fiction/art/film etc with the usual proviso that the people doing it understand they cannot commercially exploit it. Particularly with the art, I am really pleased and impressed people are inspired by my books to create their own work.

Tommys_princess1 karma

hi Garth, you have some how managed to make my boyfriend hide away with your new book! he really loves you and your books :). but i have now lost him for the past two days! any special Garth nix themed gifts I can give for the biggest fan, he's going to be 21 and I have no clue?

Garth_Nix2 karma

I'd say a bell charm but they won't be available for a while. If he's a writer too get him an old copy of BREWER'S DICTIONARY OF PHRASE AND FABLE, one pre-1940. Plenty around and usually not too expensive.

Tommys_princess1 karma

Thankyou Garth, very helpful. He saw you in southampton last Friday and you met his mum in the morning at Wildern school, her name was jude she made you a nice cup of tea her son Is Thomas he was the third person to see you and was very exited and happy after, I would like to know if u remember him ? :) x

Garth_Nix1 karma

Sure, I remember him. Easy, because my older son is Thomas. Say hi from me

hippyshade1 karma

Hi Mr. Nix, I am a huge, huge fan of your work, particularly the Keys to the Kingdom series, the sheer depth of imagination that is present in that series really inspired me to making reading a hobby. I was given Mister Monday as a gift when I was young and was completely hooked from the very first chapter! I read it and anticipated the rest of the series throughout my childhood and early teens, and my mind was blown that there could be such depth and complexity and imagination and yet in my opinion you managed to end it in such a satisfactory way that was completely in keeping with the tone and themes of the series!

My questions are: How much of a challenge was it coming up with all of the vibrant, colourful, and completely unique sections of the house with each book?

Where did the inspiration for the mechanics of the House and its Denizens and rules come from?

thanks so much for doing this, it's so exciting to be able to read all these responses!

Garth_Nix2 karma

I wanted to write a different kind of adventure story for each part of the House, and that helped work out how the differences. For example, I wanted DROWNED WEDNESDAY to be a nautical, pirate story; SIR THURSDAY a military story and so on. As for the inspiration, it probably came from dozens if not hundreds of different places. Most books have many sources of inspiration, the trick is weaving them all together to make something interesting and hopefully somewhat new.

namelessbanana1 karma

How are the bells made in the Old Kingdom?

How much/how different will 600 years in the past Old Kingdom differ from what the Old kingdom is like in Sabriels time?

Garth_Nix3 karma

I've written a little bit about bell casting in "The Seven Bells of the Necromancer" which Google should be able to find for you, I think it's up on the Australian old site. CLARIEL gives a pretty good picture of how the Old Kingdom is different 600 years before SABRIEL.

Mulchie1 karma

Hi Garth,

Big fan of both the Keys to the Kingdom and Sabriel series. I just finished Clariel.

My question is; why did you decide to focus a little less on magic until nearer the end of the book?

Thanks for signing my copy in Manchester!

Garth_Nix2 karma

Well, the story just worked out that way, I guess. Not so much a conscious decision as to content, but where I wanted to start the story.