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Posted by Amy

January 27th 2015

Hi William, I have been trying to find the quote for the funeral ceremony from the wind on fire series. As a 11 year old I read it for my sisters funeral. The 10 year anniversary is coming up and I no longer have the books but was hoping to once again read the quote and was wondering if you could sent it to me please? It would mean a lot. Kind Regards, Amy

William Nicholson responded:

Believe it or not, it's so long since I wrote the books that I can't remember where the funeral ceremony is. However, I can remember the death of Ira Hath at the end, and I think the words spoken then must be the same as the ones you mean. They are: "We who are left behind watch you on your way. The long prison of the years unlocks its iron door. Go free now, into the beautiful land. Forgive us who suffer in this clouded land. Guide us and wait for us, as we wait for you. We will meet again."

Posted by Sarah Le

January 19th 2015

Would love your advice for aspiring filmmakers who want to write for their own films as well. Do you think film school is the best way to learn filmmaking and screenwriting? Or is it something that can be self-taught? Often times, film schools are unaffordable. In such case, what would you advise? How does one go about learning this craft best? Thanks. PS - Please do not listen to the critics on Firelight. It is one of the my all-time favorite movies. To me, it's romantic and unforgettable and is an inspiration in filmmaking. Thank you for giving us Firelight! I have the DVD (in Chinese since I couldn't find it in English anywhere). Would love it if there's a Director's Commentary also. Maybe one day, when the Criterion Collection is smart enough to add Firelight to their shelves, you will do a Director's Commentary on it. :)

William Nicholson responded:

Film school is undoubtedly a great way to learn (though it wasn't my way), but I do understand the cost is an issue. If you can't go to film school, you can make your own by watching films and learning from them, and by making your own no-budget films using your phone or whatever. I think there's no substitute for doing it, making mistakes, learning from them, and getting better. Great if you can do this in an organised environment, but it's not the only way. Just tell yourself: most films are very poor, and you can do better. Why not? And thank you for the kind words about Firelight.

Posted by Rolando Cordova

January 10th 2015

Dear Mr. Nicholson, I remember hearing a few years ago about a film being made on the life of William the Conqueror and the Battle of Hastings. Is that movie still on? I recently read a book about 1066 and I remembered that a film had been in the works for some time. Also, I was hoping I could ask a quick question on screenwriting. I recall watching some of the extras for Gladiator (again this was many years ago now so forgive me if I'm not remembering exactly what was said) and one of things you mentioned is that you gave the character of Maximus more of a desire to "return to his family" rather than mere revenge against Commodus. If I recall correctly, you had said that you wouldn't want to see a film where a man is just seeking vengeance for the sake of vengeance. So with all that being said, can the focus of a script be a simple revenge story and still be compelling? Thanks for your time.

William Nicholson responded:

I don't think the film of 1066 is going to be made, I'm afraid. As for revenge movies, yes, it can definitely work. There are many gripping films that are only driven by revenge. It's just not what I personally want to write about. I'm interested in characters who are able to move beyond tit-for-tat rage to a place where we can discover what they love, as well as what they hate.

Posted by Angie

January 8th 2015

I absolutely ADORE your first book of the wind on fire trilogy and will DEFINITELY read the next two by the end of next week but i was wondering how and where do you get your inspiration from i had other favourite books in the past and 'miraculously' they're all replaced by the wind singer i also want to ask you is there any website you know of that will let me read the next two online for the fact that I've looked and am at the point of bursting yet still cant find it otherwise ill just buy it however i would much prefer it online thanks for the help you've probably heard this many a time before but this time the truth : I'm your number 1 fan

William Nicholson responded:

As far as I know you can get e-book versions of the Wind on Fire books; but there's no website that has them for free. Sorry about that. If you were anywhere near me I'd say come by and I'll give you a copy, out of gratitude for your enthusiasm.

Posted by God's General

January 8th 2015

What does it take to do a screen play like, MANDELA, a long walk to freedom. This movie left me emotional after watching it. You are an excellent writer.

William Nicholson responded:

It took me 17 years, believe it or not. Much of that time was spent in getting the project off the ground, but it was a huge undertaking, and one I felt was much more important than me. It's emotional, but it's also about a man who made choices that shaped the world, and continue to shape it, largely through refusing to return hate for hate. I love the finished result, and I'm very proud of my part in it, so thank you for your kind words.

Posted by Rhys

January 7th 2015

Looking over your filmography, you look like you're currently writing a lot of screenplays, as compared to a few years ago, where you don't have any between Gladiator (2000) and Elizabeth (2007), and Elizabeth and Les Mis (2012) respectively. I was wondering what caused the break (if indeed there was a break), and how you get involved in those projects? On a completely unrelated note, I was wondering when you'd be returning to 'young adult' fiction; I've been compiling a quick list of your YA stuff on my blog in a post that briefly talks about your OBE and my own experience with your books, and it struck me how much books like the Wind on Fire have influenced my tastes. In particular, I love the way you deal with issues of faith; in hindsight, Windsinger seems to run parallel to the journey of the Israelites in exodus; this is something I didn't really notice when I first picked the books up as a 12yo. So of course was wondering if you were currently revisiting the genre/age group. (I'm aware your answer is always a "sort of/maybe/whenever it comes up, I just thought I'd pose the question again to see if there were any developments on that side!)

William Nicholson responded:

I've kept on writing screenplays, but they don't always end up as films. But it is true I've been pouring more of my passion into my novels in recent years. As for going back to YA fiction - I don't honestly know, but I think it's very possible I will. The fantasy form gives me great freedom, and allows all sorts of unexpected stuff to bubble up from my subconscious, some of it as you note religious in its nature.