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Go your Eoin way
Author of new black comedy, Plugged, Eoin Colfer talks about making the transition from writing for children to adults, and recalls receiving some very unusual fanmail...
Anne Sexton, 09 Jun 2011
Anyone who has read Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl series of children’s books may be a little surprised by his latest offering. Plugged is a rollicking noir black comedy set in Cloisters, New Jersey. There’s a hard man, Daniel McEvoy, various small-time vicious criminals, corrupt cops and a lot of violence.
“I wanted to write a book that was enjoyable,” says Colfer. “I think it will be good for by the pool or on a plane. I want people just to have a laugh. When you write for kids you’re always asked, ‘What are you trying to do with this book?’ Well, this is just a book: you read it, you enjoy it.”
I’m curious to know what Colfer, having written for both young readers and adults, makes of the idea that it is easier to write for children.
“I wouldn’t say that at all. I found this easier. Well, not easier, but in a way you’re unfettering yourself. With a kids’ book, there’s a discipline that everything has to be appropriate. The words have to be words that are on a certain curriculum. You can put in other ones but you’re not going to write John Banville prose for 12-year-olds. There is a certain amount of discipline and self-censorship and I didn’t have that with this book. I really, really enjoyed writing it because nothing was off-limits.”
The subplot to Plugged revolves around hair plugs, which according to Colfer gave him the idea for the novel, in much the same way as a play on the word ‘leprechaun’ inspired the Artemis Fowl books.
“I saw it on the Late Late Show,” laughs Colfer. “Pat (Kenny) had a doctor from Blackrock and three of his patients on. My brain thought Plugged would be a great title because it means to shoot somebody, but also hair plugs and I wondered if there was anything I could do with that. When the doctor said you may need two sessions I thought, ‘Oh what if you had one session and your surgeon went missing?’ I built the whole thing up around the name.”
Hair plugs are not only a crucial plot point, but without giving the story away, they are a necessary part in a resolution as well. Is hair really that important?