Eoin Colfer Talks Boozy Dragons and the 'Artemis Fowl' Movie

Posted by Cybil on January 27, 2020
Irish author Eoin Colfer is best known for his wildly popular middle grade series Artemis Fowl. So, readers may be a bit surprised that his latest book is an adult fantasy about the last dragon, whiling away his days watching TV and imbibing in martinis until a couple of humans arrive to spoil his peace—and attempt to kill him.

Colfer talked to Goodreads about the novel, Highfire, learning about Louisiana swampland, the proliferation of big foot-like mythological creatures, and what he thinks about the movie adaptation of Artemis Fowl.

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Goodreads: What was the idea spark that inspired Highfire? And, did it start with a dragon?

Eoin Colfer: I have wanted to do a dragon book for years and Highfire is actually my third attempt, but I could never nail the idea until it occurred to me to make it a modern story in the real world.

After that I applied logic to the problem i.e. if a dragon had survived how would he have managed it? It seemed to me that he would have to hide out somewhere either very remote, or somewhere he would blend in with the locals.

From there it was a small step to the locals being alligators and from there to the swamps of Louisiana.

GR: You are best known for your Artemis Fowl books targeted to middle-grade readers, and you just published a picture book for very young children titled The Dog Who Lost His Bark. What was the impetus to write a fantasy novel for adults?

EC: I like to switch it up as regards genres and age range. It keeps me interested in the work when I’m sitting in the office for a year. It’s not really a conscious decision if I’m honest; a story pushes its way to the front of the line and that’s the one I take on whether it be a children’s book, an adult novel or a play. I tend to work on whatever excites me in the moment.

Actually, Highfire started off as a YA novel but somewhere along the way it morphed into adult fiction.

GR: What’s the most surprising thing you learned while writing Highfire?

EC: I learned a lot about alligators and swamp wildlife in general, also law enforcement in Louisiana.

I suppose the most interesting thing I learned was the sheer number of bigfoot-type mythological creatures all over the world from Loch Ness to The Honey Island Swamp. I was searching for a home for my dragon and there were a thousand places I could have put him where these monsters had already been sighted. I eventually settled on the Pearl river.

GR: Who is a creative person (not a writer) who has influenced you and your work?

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EC: I was hugely influenced by the artist Jim Fitzpatrick who is famous for his iconic Che Guevara portrait. Jim is an Irish artist who presented the fairy folk not as tiny creatures who hover at the end of a garden but as cultured artists and fierce warriors. I loved the art for itself, but I also learned that a writer doesn’t have to present subjects in the way that might be expected. I have based my entire career on that maxim.

GR: And, then we might as well ask...who are your favorite writers of both fiction and non-fiction?

EC: I love so many writers that it is difficult to narrow it down to just a few. What I prefer to do is reference the books I have loved recently. In the fiction department I am reading a Joyce Carol Oates psychological thriller with the splendid title: The Triumph of the Spider Monkey which is wonderfully written and most creepy. In the non-fiction department I am enjoying Metal Guru a biography of Marc Bolan by Paul Roland.

GR: Give us a teaser about the Artemis Fowl movie. How involved are you in the script and other aspects of production? Will readers be happy with the film?

EC: The movie is such a huge animal that I feel only a small part of it. I did visit the set a few times and you may spot me in a crowd scene, but I left the actual movie making to the experts and what a caliber of experts they were: Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench, Josh Gad and Conor McPherson. What I have seen is wonderful and I can’t wait to see the finished cut.

GR: What’s your elevator pitch for Highfire (in 50 words or less)?

AW: Highfire tells the story of the last dragon who has survived by hiding in the Louisiana swamps with the alligators. He passes his day with cable TV and vodka martinis until his peace is destroyed by a tearaway Cajun boy and a crooked constable who is determined to kill them both.


Eoin Colfer 's Highfire will be available in the U.S. on January 28. Don't forget to add it to your Want to Read shelf. Be sure to also read more of our exclusive author interviews and get more great book recommendations.

Comments Showing 1-24 of 24 (24 new)

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message 1: by TMR (new)

TMR Love the review, eager to see the A.F movie and read some more of his books. Awesome interview. 😁

message 2: by Lyn (new)

Lyn I can't wait for both.

message 3: by Bethany (new)

Bethany I cannot wait for the Artemis Fowl movie! They better give him an Irish accent XD
And I love dragon books, so definitely looking forward to this new one.

message 4: by Natalie (new)

Natalie H. I can't wait for the movie! I am a new fan of the Artemis Fowl series(started a few months ago) but still can't wait. I know Highfire is a little old for me but when I am an adult I will read it.

message 5: by Ramona (new)

Ramona Natalie wrote: "I can't wait for the movie! I am a new fan of the Artemis Fowl series(started a few months ago) but still can't wait. I know Highfire is a little old for me but when I am an adult I will read it."
I read this series when it first came out, while working at our local library. I am a huge fan of the genre and I was hoping the series would be made into a tv series. One move can't do it justice. It would be great to have something to watch that is for families. I know you will enjoy the entire series of Artemis Fowl. A Great- Grandma life-time reader!

message 6: by Ramona (new)

Ramona I just thought of letting you know about my other favorite author, Anne McCaffrey who wrote the "Dragons of Pern" series. It might be deep, a bit of adult material but nothing past PG 14, for preteens but if you have been a reader for any length of time, you won't have any problems with it. Ask your parents, as always, for an okay! Enjoy!

message 7: by Silvia (new)

Silvia Turcios I started to read in English with The Supernaturalist and loved it. On the cover of the book was written "By the author of the bestseller Artemis Fowl", my next step was to read Artemis and loved it and I have been expecting the movie since then .... ten years later my wish is coming true :)

message 8: by Carla (new)

Carla Q Excited for the Artemis Fowl movie. I waited for a decade 😅

message 9: by Macie (new)

Macie I'm excited for the movie, but I'm also a bit terrified. What if it turns out like the Percy Jackson or Eragon movies? (I.E. Totally not true to the plot of the book and ruining favorite characters.) I've met people who have seen those movies and not read the book and now their perceptions of the characters and plot are skewed. I really don't want that to happen to a series as great as Artemis Fowl. How do you think it will turn out? Do you share my concerns? What other movies have lost their spark when adapted from the book?

message 10: by Miriam (new)

Miriam Hernandez I’m so excited for the movie. I read the series when I was a freshman in high school. They’re one series I enjoyed immensely

message 11: by Faiza (new)

Faiza LOOOOOVE Artemis Fowl, super excited for the movie, I hope they do Mr. Colfer justice in their vision of it. I hope they won't miss their chance to make it a franchise and we end up getting a movie per book. :D

Also looking forward to the new book, can't wait to read it.

message 12: by Luann (last edited Feb 06, 2020 11:33AM) (new)

Luann Macie wrote: "What other movies have lost their spark when adapted from the book?"

The Maze Runner

message 13: by Alice (new)

Alice Looking forward to reading the new book. I really enjoyed "Plugged" and "Screwed".

message 14: by Cary (new)

Cary Please, please, please dont let them kill the awesomeness of what Artemi's books are!!

message 15: by Judi (new)

Judi Artemis Fowl is like comfort food. A series I reread when I want something comfortable and familiar, like a old friend.

message 16: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Sherrick I agree. I worry that the movie may not be true enough to the books. I totally fell in love with the books. A prime example for me is Inkheart and the Shannara movies. I will go see it no matter what.
I have bought the new book Hellfire but have not read it yet. Looking forward to reading it. I have the new book Fowl Twins too but having a hard time getting into it. Its just not the same.

message 17: by Martha (new)

Martha Kumi I look forward to reading Highfire. I really enjoyed reading the Artemis Fowl books even though I was way past my mid twenties.

If Eoin Colfer believes the movie will be good, well then I can't wait!

message 18: by Jessica (new)

Jessica I liked A F, but I loved the legend of Spud Murphy! My students never forgot how the librarian stamped " I love Barbies!" on the brother's arm. We all howled about that. The rest of the series is pretty good too. I just enjoy most of this author's work. Can't wait to read about the dragon.

From, a fan!

message 19: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Connor I was already excited about the movie, and now am even more so! And I am definitely going to read Highfire.

message 20: by Jo (last edited Mar 29, 2020 09:21PM) (new)

Jo Really enjoyed the Artemis Fowl books, so I am very scared for the movie. The trailer felt all wrong, but Eoin Colfer, above, writes something good about it. Maybe there's hope for it..?

As for Highfire... Sounds interesting!

message 21: by Anna (new)

Anna I'm sorry, but the movie trailers have killed any interest in the film for me. I don't get the "feel" of the books AT ALL. The casting is all wrong, none of the characters look as described in the books, the storyline has been watered down to just another action film with a kid - another Disney scrambled egg. I'll stay with the books, thank you.

message 22: by Atifaah (new)

Atifaah Patel Anyone who's watched the Artemis Fowl movie trailer will know by now that the movie looks like absolute rubbish!!! I doubt any of the filmmakers even read the books because the concepts are foreign to me.

message 23: by Ann (new)

Ann Can’t wait to read the new book, love dragons.
I am so excited about the Artemis Fowl movie. It was one of my daughters favorite series, when she was still with me. I know I’ll be thinking of her when I watch it!

message 24: by María Jesús (new)

María Jesús Tbh i didn't knew an Artemis Fowl movie was in the making! I started reading them 15+ years ago (still have the entire saga in my shelves) so i will wait for it to be out to see it. And about Highfire i so need to read it, can't wait for the ebook version!!

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