Matthew Reilly - Author Biography

Born July 2nd, 1974, Matthew Reilly is the international bestselling author of the following action/thriller novels:

  1. Contest
  2. Ice Station
  3. Temple
  4. Area 7
  5. Scarecrow
  6. Hover Car Racer
  7. Seven Ancient Wonders
  8. Hell Island
  9. The Six Sacred Stones
  10. The Five Greatest Warriors

Published in over 20 countries and known for their highly visual style, fast pace and large-scale action scenes, over 3.5 million copies of his books have been sold around the world, more than a million copies apiece between Australia, the UK and the USA.

Some of his works have been optioned by film studios for series or feature production, and he continues to create works of fiction across all major media platforms, from short stories, through to novellas and screenplays.

Matthew’s novels have also - unexpectedly - become a major tool in the fight to get teenagers into reading. While written for a mature readership, Matthew’s novels have become very popular with reluctant male readers. This may stem from Matthew's own childhood experience, citing his dislike for set reading projects in high-school as his main inspiration to 'do it better'.

He wrote Contest while just 19 and self-published it in 1996, deliberately aiming to have his book noticed by publishers who talent-scout at bookstores. His dedication paid off, and was discovered by Pan Macmillan's then commissioning editor Cate Paterson. His first industry-produced novel, Ice Station, proved so monumentally popular, that it had to be reprinted six times in its first two years.

The continued success of his novels has been attributed to not only the accessible, 'storyteller' style of writing, but also the highly charged and kinetic action sequences that take place throughout his works, deliberately making use of his 'unlimited budget' of imagination to create scenes 'too big for Hollywood'.

A huge movie fan, Matthew owns an extensive range of movie memorabilia, including:

  • A life-size replica of Han Solo encased in Carbonite (from Star Wars)
  • A DeLorean DMC-12 (From Back to the Future)
  • A 1:1 scale replica of the Jango Fett helmet (also from Star Wars)
  • A replica of the Chachapoyan fertility idol (from Raiders of the Lost Ark)

Matthew has also written several short stories, including those for charity, magazines, the web and The Bulletin's annual Summer Fiction issues. These include:

  1. Rewind / The Fate of Flight 700
  2. The Mine (a 4-part serial)
  3. A Bad Day at Fort Bragg
  4. Altitude Rush
  5. The Rock Princess and the Thriller Writer
  6. Time Tours
  7. The Dead Prince
  8. Complex 13

Outside of the entertainment industry, Matthew has also partaken in several charity-, celebrity- and publicity-based events. Including:

  • He regularly attends writer's festivals around Australia as a speaker or panellist.
  • In 2000, Matthew was a delegate at the What Makes a Champion conference in Sydney. Nelson Mandela gave the opening address at the conference, and it featured such luminaries as Edmund Hillary, Richard Butler and Shane Gould.
  • On January 1st, 2001, Matthew walked in the Australian Centenary of Federation Parade as a representative of Australian Literature.
  • He has appeared on the Big Breakfast television show in Britain.
  • He has appeared on the Good News Week celebrity game show in Brisbane.
  • Matthew has been engaged by one of Australia's most successful television producers, Hal McElroy - creator of Blue Heelers and Water Rats - to develop a couple of new television series.
  • In 2001 and 2002, Matthew was a special ambassador for National Youth Week, an initiative designed to get young people to chase their dreams.
  • In 2003, he is one of the faces of the Australian government's National Literacy and Numeracy Week.
  • In August, 2003, his book, Ice Station, will be one of six books sold at less than half price as part of a special literacy-driven project called Books Alive.
  • As part of a charity dinner for the NSW Cancer Council in 2002, he offered to name a character in Scarecrow after the highest bidder. The winner was Alec Christie. Look for his name in Scarecrow!
  • Matthew has played in several celebrity cricket matches and golf days alongside members of INXS, rugby union legend Matthew Burke and a host of other Australian celebrities.
  • He has trekked to the base of Mount Everest

Matthew Reilly Quotes

  • 'They're there to eat people.' -  on why he has scary creatures in his books.
  • 'You only get one first novel.'
  • 'To anyone who knows a writer, never underestimate the power of your encouragement.'
  • 'As for Contest, one question that nagged me all the way through the writing process was: how the hell am I going to kill the Karanadon? The answer came to me completely out of the blue. It just hit me. I started dancing around the house, pumping my fists in the air.' - on the writing of Contest.
  • 'There is no such thing as an aspiring writer. You are a writer. Period. I was told that once, and I have never forgotten it.' (Interview in Area 7)
  • 'Now, I know what you're thinking: Matthew Reilly books aren't exactly known for their character development. Hey, one reviewer once said that the characters in my books don't live long enough to warrant any development.'
  • 'A sequel should reveal some kind of extra dimension to the lead characters of the original.' - on sequels.
  • 'Simple. I offered it to every major publisher in Sydney and they all rejected it!' - on why he originally self-published Contest.
  • 'I think people like escapism, and that is exactly what Ice Station is. Pure, unadulterated, escapist entertainment.'
  • 'There was the time time I told a reporter something embarrassing about my mother's carpet, only to see it included in the subsequent article, which I should add, appeared in the weekend magazine of a national newspaper!' - on stand-out memories in his dealings with the media.
  • 'The added bonus was that with two stories I could get double the action!' - on the split-story structure of Temple.