ABOUT MATTHEW REILLY
Matthew Reilly is the international bestselling author of twelve novels: Ice Station, Temple, Contest, Area 7, Scarecrow, Hover Car Racer, Hell Island, Seven Ancient Wonders, The Six Sacred Stones, The Five Greatest Warriors, Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves and The Tournament.
Matthew’s books are published in over 20 languages and he has sold approximately 5 million books worldwide: 3 million in Australia; over a million in the US; and over a million in the UK.
In 2011, Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves was the biggest selling fiction title released in Australia for that year. Three more of Matthew’s books have been the biggest-selling Australian fiction titles of their year of release: The Tournament (2013), Seven Ancient Wonders (2005), The Five Greatest Warriors (2009).
Matthew has also written two novellas: in 2005, he wrote Hell Island for the Australian Government’s Books Alive project and in 2014 he released the epic fantasy-quest ebook Troll Mountain.
Matthew has written several short stories, including Roger Ascham and the King’s Lost Girl, a special free prequel to The Tournament which is available online. Other short stories include Time Tours, The Mine and the hyper-adrenalised romp, Altitude Rush.
Matthew was appointed to the Australian Government’s Public Lending Right and Educational Lending Right Committee in 2007. He served on that committee till the end of 2011. Matthew has done speeches at libraries across Australia and around the world, from Minlaton to Edinburgh, from Cape Town to Houston.
He owns and drives a DeLorean DMC-12, the car made famous in the Back to the Future movies. He also has a life-sized Han Solo in carbonite hanging on the wall of his office!
MOVIES AND TV
Walt Disney Pictures bought the movie rights to Matthew’s children’s book, Hover Car Racer, while the book was still in manuscript form.
ABC US Network Television optioned the rights to the Jack West Jr series of books (Seven Ancient Wonders, The Six Sacred Stones and The Five Greatest Warriors) for a TV series put together by ABC US Studios. The producer is the powerhouse Mark Gordon (Speed, Gray’s Anatomy) and the writer is Michael Seitzman (North Country).
Born in Sydney in 1974, Matthew Reilly was not always a big fan of reading.
According to Matthew, ‘I actually disliked reading in my early high school years. I was given very dry old classics in Year 7 and it was only after I read To Kill A Mockingbird and Lord of the Flies in Year 10 that I realised reading could transport you to another world. Once I figured that out, I went out and found all the action novels I could!’
Following this revelation, Matthew soon began creating stories of his own and set about writing his first novel, Contest, at 19 while still at university studying law.
Following rejections from all the major publishers, Matthew self-published Contest in 1996, printing 1000 copies. He produced a big-budget-looking novel which he sold into bookshops throughout Sydney, one shop at a time.
‘I knew Contest had the goods,’ Matthew said, ‘and I just wanted to get it noticed. I knew that publishers checked out bookshops so that’s where I needed my book to be.’
Sure enough, in January 1997, Cate Paterson, then Commissioning Editor for Pan Macmillan Australia (now Publishing Director), walked into Angus & Robertson’s Pitt Street Mall store and bought a copy of Contest. She enjoyed it enormously and tracked Matthew down through his contact details in the front of the book.
Cate was thrilled to find Matthew working on his next novel, Ice Station. Based on Contest and the first few chapters of this new novel, Cate signed Matthew for a two-book deal with Pan Macmillan Australia.
Interestingly, those original self-published editions of Contest have now become much sought after collectors’ items. One recently sold on eBay for $1200!
ICE STATION GOES WORLDWIDE
Published in late 1998, Ice Station was an instant hit, delivering a new style of action thriller to Australian readers. It was snapped up by major publishers in the US, UK and Germany.
Matthew Reilly: ‘Ice Station was a direct response to Hollywood action movies. I figured that when you make a movie, you are limited by your budget. Put simply, it costs big dollars to make big action scenes. But when you write a book, you can create the wildest and biggest action scenes you like and it doesn’t cost you a cent. The only limit is the limit of your imagination!’
HELL ISLAND A SPECIAL PROJECT
In 2005, Matthew was the first author to participate in the Australian Government’s ‘Books Alive’ initiative, for which he wrote the short novel Hell Island, featuring Shane Schofield. Over 200,000 copies of that work were given away for free in August of 2005.