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Monday, March 5, 2012

In conversation with Dan Brown, Author 'The Da Vinci Code'

How would you describe The Da Vinci Code to someone who has not read any of your previous novels?

The Da Vinci Code is the story of renowned Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, who is summoned to the Louvre Museum to examine a series of cryptic symbols relating to Da Vinci's artwork. In decrypting the code, he uncovers the key to one of the greatest mysteries of all time…and he becomes a hunted man. One of the many qualities that makes The Da Vinci Code unique is the factual nature of the story. All the history, artwork, ancient documents, and secret rituals in the novel are accurate…as are the hidden codes revealed in some of Da Vinci's most famous paintings. 

Will your next book also feature Robert Langdon?

Indeed. I intend to make Robert Langdon my primary character for years to come. His expertise in symbology and iconography affords him the luxury of virtually endless adventures in exotic locales. Currently, I have rough sketches for almost a dozen Robert Langdon thrillers set in mysterious locations around the globe. 

Currently I'm writing another Robert Langdon thriller - the sequel to The Da Vinci Code. For the first time, Langdon will find himself embroiled in a mystery on U.S. soil. This new novel explores the hidden history of our nation's capital. 

Do you expect to explore other numerological cults -- such as the Pythagoreans, or perhaps the Kabbalists -- in future books?

Aha, the Kabbalists! Yes, they are fascinating…as are the Pythagoreans. Without a doubt Langdon will be exploring these groups more closely in the future. In fact, The Da Vinci Code includes a scene in which Langdon reveals basic Kabbalistic numerology and then uses it to break an enigmatic code. The book also drops a hint as to the identity of another ultrasecret numerology sect that fascinates me, but I can't reveal their name here without ruining much of the surprise of the next book. 

Which part of researching The Da Vinci Code was the most personally interesting to you? Were there any facts, symbols, or themes that you would have liked to include, but they just didn't make into the story?

For me the most astonishing aspect of researching The Da Vinci Code was the realization that one of history's greatest "secrets" is not nearly as secret as we think. Clues to its true nature are all around us…in art, music, architecture, legend, and history. In the words of Robert Langdon, "The signs are everywhere."

What are you reading right now? Are there any authors (living or dead) that you would name as influences?

As strange as this may sound, I very seldom read fiction. Because my novels require so much research, almost everything I read is non-fiction-histories, biographies, translations of ancient texts. Those few fiction writers who have inspired me most would be Ludlum for his plot intricacies, Steinbeck for his descriptions, and Shakespeare for his wordplay. 

What was the book that most influenced your life — and why?

Until I graduated from college, I had read almost no modern commercial fiction at all (having focused primarily on the "classics" in school). In 1994, while vacationing in Tahiti, I found an old copy of Sydney Sheldon's Doomsday Conspiracy on the beach. I read the first page… and then the next…and then the next. Several hours later, I finished the book and thought, "Hey, I can do that." Upon my return, I began work on my first novel-- Digital Fortress -- which was published in 1996.

What are your 2 favorite books —and why?

Of Mice and Men (John Steinbeck) —Simple, suspenseful, and poignant. Better yet, the first paragraph of every chapter is a master class in writing effective description.
Gödel, Escher, Bach (Douglas Hofstadter) —The 3% I actually understood was fascinating.
Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer) —I was amazed how well Archer handled the long time spans without ever losing the narrative pulse. The ultimate novel of sibling rivalry.

What are your favorite books to give — and get — as gifts?

This will sound nerdish, but the all-time best "gift book" has to be a leather-bound copy of the Oxford English Dictionary. How can you go wrong? Of course, don't forget a magnifying glass to go with it. 

Give us three "Good to Know" facts about you. Be creative. Tell us about your first job, the inspiration for your writing, any fun details that would enliven your page.

If I'm not at my desk by 4:00 A.M., I feel like I'm missing my most productive hours. In addition to starting early, I keep an antique hour glass on my desk and every hour break briefly to do pushups, sit-ups, and some quick stretches. I find this helps keep the blood (and ideas) flowing. I'm also a big fan of gravity boots. Hanging upside down seems to help me solve plot challenges by shifting my entire perspective. 

What else do you want your readers to know? Consider here your likes and dislikes, your interests and hobbies, your favorite ways to unwind — whatever comes to mind.

I've recently become fanatical about tennis (and play every afternoon when I finish writing). If anyone out here has any tips on hitting a consistent top-spin backhand, please fax them to Doubleday. 

Source - OnlineCollege

1 comment:

  1. "Digital Fortress" was the last Dan Brown book I read. I've had it on my shelf since reading the DaVinci Code when it first came out. This story was a fun. There was plenty of action and lots of twists to make you think. I would rank this behind Demons and Code but ahead of Deception Point