Pour one out for Brian Jacques

on Thursday, February 10, 2011
Brian Jacques, author of the fantastic Redwall series, died last weekend at age 71.
This is especially relevant to me as the Redwall books where really the books I read the most growing up, and probably the ones that helped push me to writing more than any other in particular.
For example, the first web site I ever worked on was a Geocities site my brother and I made that was a Redwall fan site. Mostly it was used to write fan-fiction set in the Redwall universe (currently the only use of fan-fiction I can condone), but lots of writing happened and it was loads of fun. I think we got to fifth on the top Redwall fansites at one point, even though our site really wasn't that awesome.
Another memory was when Jacques was visiting Santa Barbara for a signing, the closest he's been to us. That was when Marlfox was the most recent novel. We weren't able to go and my brother Ross was crying and crying about it (I think he was around 6) because Jacques was our favorite author. My mom called the bookstore asking if we could just buy a signed book, and apparently Jacques overheard and asked to be put on the phone with my brother. They talked for a good chunk of time over the phone, and Jacques sent my brother a signed copy of Marlfox for free. The guy was awesome.
Probably my favorite parts about the books were the songs and the descriptions of all the awesome foods. One could complain the books fell into routine (which, admittedly , they did) but the food and the songs and the good humor always persisted. They were some fantastic feel-good books in all regards, and excellent books for children (especially now, with that age-group's genre getting darker and more serious by the moment).
So Brian Jacques, you were awesome, and I'm sorry to see you go. You made my childhood, and it is largely your influence that inspired me to this point to try my hand at putting pen to paper. Few have a way to be compelling and imaginative in an old-fashioned,  swashbuckling, good-natured way as the Redwall books did. Thank you for making my childhood wonderful.
And, for the record, Martin the Warrior is still one of my favorite books ever.


Anonymous said...

....I can't believe he is dead. This is the first I had heard of it. It happened a month after my birthday.
I had always planned on meeting him one day, getting my books signed and shaking his hand. They still sit on my shelf with pride of place and I have even lent redwall and martin the warrior to a few people to encourage them to read. It worked and they loved the ones they read.
Turns out I can be a girly girl and cry over someones death. It's not just his death that gets to me, its the end of any chance of future Redwall books.
I'll be making sure that my soon to be 4 year old son and the baby on the way will pick up his books when they are older. They are something I would never get rid of. I'll be reading them again and looking forward to the food and songs and the descriptions he made. I fell in love with those books. I'm happy that I found out through someone who obviously enjoys those books as much as I do and I am glad to hear that he really was as nice as I thought he would be. And I agree with what you say, all of it, including Martin the Warrior being a favourite of mine.
My heart goes out to all of Brian Jacques fans.
Jednie Cabanillas xxx

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