Author Q&A: Gordon Korman

Photo by Owen Kassimir

Photo by Owen Kassimir

At a Glance

Cool Fact: He’s a #1 New York Times bestselling author

How Many Books He’s Written: More than 60

What He’s Written:

  • Books in The 39 Clues series
  • Swindle series
  • NEWEST: The Hypnotists

What Else: Premiered Aug. 24 on Nickelodeon: a movie based on his Swindle series (See below for a preview)


What advice would you give to aspiring young authors?

Make writing a part of your life. It shouldn’t be a once-in-a-blue-moon activity. It needs to be something you do almost every day, whether it’s blogging or keeping a diary, journal, or writer’s notebook. It can also be none of those things. I don’t do any of that, but I’ve always got a book in the works.

Your Swindle book series is being turned into a TV movie. What’s it like for you to see your work on screen?

It’s really cool, but also a little eerie. We’re a big Nickelodeon house, so the actors in Swindle seem like extended family to me. Not only have my characters come to life, but they’ve whooshed into being as people I’ve already known for years!

How were you involved with the movie’s production?

In a way, I’ve been watching the TV movie grow and take shape ever since Swindle first came out. So it’s almost as if I’ve been building the series with later books like Hideout step-by-step alongside the development of the movie.

What can you tell us about your latest book, The Hypnotists?The Hypnotists Book 1 cover

It’s the story of a regular kid who suddenly discovers he’s the greatest natural hypnotist in history. It’s the first time I’ve ever tackled something paranormal, like mind control. How would it feel to be able to make anyone do exactly what you want them to? How would you use that power? It would be a lot of fun at first, but it’s also an enormous responsibility. In the end, my main character comes to realize that the fate of the entire world might be in his hands.

You’re one of the authors who has contributed to the wildly successful The 39 Clues series. How is writing for this series — with its unique game cards and online interaction with readers — different from writing your other books?

I love being a 39 Clues author, but it certainly gets complicated at times, especially when you’re writing one of the later books in a series. You have to be really careful that your details match the storyline that’s happened so far. I actually think the multi-author style brings out the best in us as writers. We all try to outdo each other, and that creates a series that’s heart-stoppingly exciting from start to finish.

Besides your own books, what are the top five books you would recommend to young readers?

  • Crash by Jerry Spinelli (My favorite friendship between two guys in all of kids’ books.)
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney (The only book series enjoyed equally by all three of my kids and me.)
  • The Great Brain series by John D. Fitzgerald (They’re kind of old now, but when I was a kid, these books were my favorites.)
  • Heads or Tails by Jack Gantos (Best dead dog scene ever!)
  • Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (You can’t go wrong. I prefer the early ones, which have the most humor.)

Random Question: What is your favorite outdoor activity?

I love to hike and rock scramble, but lately I’ve been playing a lot of street hockey with my kids. I think this is a throwback to my childhood in Canada, where some form of hockey was played 12 months a year, in any kind of weather.

CHECK IT OUT: Here’s a preview of the new Nickelodeon TV movie based on Korman’s book Swindle.

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