It’s the rule of every successful book, film or play that the leading character must be likeable. Otherwise, we won’t care what happens to them. That’s why author Eoin (pronounced Owen) Colfer was taking such a risk when he chose to make Artemis Fowl, the young hero of our book of the month for December, such an initially unappealing human being. The boy is 12 years old, a brilliant criminal mastermind and possessed of a cold, calculating determination that instantly sets him apart from friendlier fictional contemporaries such as Harry Potter and Alex Rider.
“The idea was to make Artemis a bit of a Huckleberry Finn character, a law unto himself,” says Colfer. “I wanted to make him so confident and outlandish that, in the end, the readers would be won over by his sheer audaciousness.Erm, yes, but only in the publishing equivalent of a state funeral. Brace yourself for Colfer’s new departure, people – the standalone AIRMAN will be crash-landing onto a shelf near you on January 3rd …
“It was a bit of a fine line and I confess I was worried because I’d got some criticism in the Irish press over the way in which Benny, the main character in my first book (BENNY AND OMAR) had left his little brother on his own when he should have been baby-sitting him. To me, Benny was basically a good lad who was a bit flawed, like lots of people are. It’s the same with Artemis. He loves his mother, but at the same time he likes to keep this hard face on him.
“To be honest, I wasn’t at all sure I’d got the balance right. I thought I was probably going to get buried.”