John Flanagan

I've been a professional writer all my working life - which is a lot longer than I care to say.

I began in advertising, worked in Sydney and London then back in Sydney again, with a brief stint filling in as Creative Director in a Singapore agency. Then I switched to television and worked for eight years on a comedy called "Hey Dad!", among other shows. In the nineties, I started doing corporate work: conferences, videos, corporate songs and so forth.

But all that time, I wanted to be an author. And I was writing books in my spare time.

The Ranger's Apprentice series was born out of a set of short stories I wrote many years ago for my son Mike, to encourage him to read. I wrote and illustrated them for him and I've tried to reproduce some of those original drawings through the website.

There were twenty short stories in all and they served to develop my main characters - Will, Halt, Tug, and Horace. Interestingly, in those original stories, Horace was the villain and he and Will actually fought a duel with practice weapons. When I expanded those original short stories into first one book, then two, then the eventual four that formed the first Ranger's series, I rehabilitated Horace and he turned out to be Will's best friend.

The day I was told that Random House Australia had offered to publish my series is still a red letter day in my mind. It was a lifetime ambition achieved.

I love the fact that I can say I'm an author when asked what I do. I love writing it on immigration forms when I fly overseas. (That's my second favourite form of writing these days!)

The series has grown now to seven books. I still enjoy the characters and to me, that's the key to writing and reading. I believe you have to become involved with the characters. I assume I'll keep writing more in the series, as well as some other ideas I've got waiting (more of that in Projects).

I'm married to a beautiful woman named Leonie. Early in 2007, we celebrated our 40th anniversary together. Over the years we've gone skiing together, played tennis together (she always used to beat me) and these days we play golf together. With golf we're pretty evenly matched. Years ago, I used to shoot at a field archery club, which is where a lot of the background for Ranger's comes from.

I've currently got a new longbow which I take when I'm doing school talks. But I'm sadly out of practice and the nearest range is too far away for regular visits.

I've played in an acoustic band for over thirty years with two old friends. I play guitar and mandolin. I have a collection of instruments but these days Leonie says I have to sell one before I buy another - we're running out of space.

We have two daughters, one son and four grandsons. We live in the northern beaches suburb of Manly in Sydney, which is God's own country as far as we're concerned. Parking can be a problem so I buzz around the suburb on my 150 cc motor scooter. Great fun!

To all those who read my books, I want to say thank you so much. You've helped my dream come true. I'm now doing what I have always wanted to do. I hope you keep enjoying the books.

I certainly enjoy writing them.

John Flanagan.

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