Garth Nix, author of The Old Kingdom Chronicles, The Keys to the Kingdom series, A Confusion of Princes, Shade’s Children, and many more answers Five Facetious Questions:

by |May 22, 2012

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Garth Nix

author of the The Old Kingdom Chronicles, the Keys to the Kingdom series, A Confusion of Princes, Shade’s Children and many more…

Five Facetious Questions


1. Every writer spends at least one afternoon going from bookshop to bookshop making sure his or her latest book is facing out and neatly arranged. How far have you gone to draw attention to your own books in a shop?

I once had a circus elephant painted with the cover of one of my books and then I had it put in the right aisle to draw attention, but unfortunately it blocked access and sales actually decreased.

2. So you’re a published author, almost a minor celebrity and for some reason you’ve been let into a party full of ‘A-listers’ – what do you do?

Channel Peter Sellers, lose a shoe, fall in the artificial indoor stream etc

3. Some write because they feel compelled to, some are Artists and do it for the Muse, some do it for the cash (one buck twenty a book) and some do it because they think it makes them more attractive to the opposite sex – why do you do write? (NB: don’t say -‘cause I can’t sing, tap or paint!)

This is a question I have often asked myself, failed to come up with an answer and kept on doing it. It is a socially acceptable way of exercising an inbuilt desire to make stuff up. If I wasn’t a writer I might well be a con man.

4. Have you ever come to the end of writing a particularly fine paragraph, paused momentarily, chuffed with your own genius, only to find you’ve been sitting at the computer nude or with your dress half-way over your head or shaving cream on your face or toilet paper sticking out the back of your undies or paused to find that you’re singing We are the Champions at the top of your voice, having exchanged the words ‘we are’ for ‘I am’ and dropping an ‘s’?

No? Well, what’s your most embarrassing writing moment?

In 1995 I came back from a very long lunch (in those days I was a PR/marketing consultant) to see an email offering my first significant US book deal, whereupon I leaped up and banged my head against my office bookshelf hard enough to make it fall down, so everyone rushed in to see if I needed to be sedated or something.

5. Rodin placed his thinker on the loo – where and/or when do you seem to get your best ideas?

I get ideas all the time, sorting them into some useable form is the hard part. Walking is good, apart from the safety aspects of having a largely disengaged brain. I have to remember “Look left, look right, stop thinking about that story, repeat the looking . . . what was I doing again . . . look out!”

Garth, thank you for playing.

Click here to visit our Garth Nix author page

Garth recently recommended three inspirational non-fiction books for fantasy writers, click here to read more

Cool Stat: As of December 2011, Garth’s books have sold in excess of 5,000,000 copies internationally.

A Confusion of Princes


A grand adventure that spans galaxies and lifetimes, A Confusion of Princes is a page-turning thriller, a tender romance, and a powerful exploration of what it means to be human. Bonus Garth Nix short story ‘Master Haddad’s Holiday’ exclusive to the ANZ edition.

I have died three times, and three times been reborn, though I am not yet twenty in the old earth years by which it is still the fashion to measure time. This is the story of my three deaths, and my life between. My name is Khemri.

Taken from his parents as a child and equipped with biological and technological improvements, Khemri is now an enhanced human being, trained and prepared for the glory of becoming a Prince of the Empire. Not to mention the ultimate glory: should he die, and be deemed worthy, he will be reborn…Which is just as well, because no sooner has Prince Khemri graduated to full Princehood than he learns the terrible truth behind the Empire: there are ten million princes, and all of them want each other dead.

Click here to buy A Confusion of Princes from Booktopia,
Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop

NEW TITLE: Shade’s Children

by Garth Nix

A dramatic dystopia, telling a story of courage and companionship in the face of ruthless, hi-tech enemies.

The Myrmidons were closing in. Soon they would surround him, silver nets shooting out to catch him in their sticky tracery. Then a Winger would come to take him away. Back to the Dorms. Or…straight to the Meat Factory. Gold-Eye turned to face the Myrmidons and hefted his steel spike. ‘Kill me!’ he screamed at the tall shapes approaching through the fog. ‘Kill me!’

The city seems empty, but there are people – a desperate few – living precariously among the ruins. They are Shade’s Children, and all they have is each other, their Change Talents – and Shade, who masterminds their struggle against the pitiless Overlords. But who, or what, is Shade? And where does his allegiance really lie?

A dramatic story of courage and companionship set against savage forces, from the international bestselling author of the Old Kingdom trilogy and the Keys to the Kingdom series.

Click here to buy Shade’s Children from Booktopia,
Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop


About the Author

Garth Nix grew up in Canberra. He studied for a BA in Professional Writing at the University of Canberra and has travelled to Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Garth has worked as a public servant, bookseller, book editor and literary agent. In 2002, following his outstanding international success, Garth returned to full-time writing (despite his belief that this contributes to the strange behaviour of many authors).

As of December 2011, Garth’s books have sold in excess of 5,000,000 copies internationally. His books have appeared in the bestseller lists of the New York Times, the Sunday Times (UK), Publishers Weekly (US), The Australian, The Bookseller (UK) and Bookseller & Publisher (Australia). His books have been translated into more than 39 languages. Garth lives in Sydney with his wife Anna, who is a publisher, and their two sons.

Click here to visit our Garth Nix author page

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About the Contributor

While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. ​Now, as the Director of Books at, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.

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