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MacHale, D.J. 1956-

MacHale, D.J. 1956-
(Donald James MacHale)


Born March 11, 1956, in Greenwich, CT; married; wife's name Evangeline; children: Keaton (daughter). Education: New York University, B.F.A. Hobbies and other interests: Running, playing guitar.


Home—CA. E-mail[email protected]


Writer, film director, and executive producer of television programming. Worked variously as a filmmaker, freelance writer/director, and teacher of photography and film production. Cocreator and producer, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, for Nickelodeon. Currently cocreator and producer of Flight 29 Down (television series), for Discovery Kids/NBC.


CableAce nomination for best writer, for "The Tale of Cutter's Treasure" (episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark?); Gemini Award nomination for best director, for "The Tale of the Dangerous Soup" (episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark?); CableAce Award for Best Youth Series, for Chris Cross; CableAce Award nomination, for Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective (television program); Gemini Award for Best Youth Series, for Are You Afraid of the Dark?; Director's Guild of America award nomination for children's program, and Writer's Guild of America nomination, both for Flight 29 Down.



The Merchant of Death, Aladdin (New York, NY), 2002.

The Lost City of Faar, Aladdin (New York, NY), 2003.

The Never War, Aladdin (New York, NY), 2003.

The Reality Bug, Aladdin (New York, NY), 2003.

Black Water, Aladdin (New York, NY), 2004.

(With Victor Lee and Peter Ferguson) Pendragon: The Guide to the Territories of Halla (atlas of places from the novels in the series), Aladdin (New York, NY), 2005.

The Rivers of Zadaa, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2005.

The Quillan Games, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2006.

The Pilgrims of Rayne, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2007.


(Reteller) East of the Sun, West of the Moon, Rabbit Ears (Westport, CT), 1991, new edition, with illustrations by Vivienne Flesher, Abdo (Edina, MN), 2006.

Script writer for television programs, including ABC Afterschool Special; Ghostwriter, PBS; and Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective, HBO. Writer and director of Are You Afraid of the Dark? (television series), and Disney television movie Tower of Terror. Cocreator and writer, Chris Cross television series, for Show-time, and Flight 29 Down (television series) for Discovery Kids/NBC. Coauthor of The Tale of the Nightly Neighbors.


The "Pendragon" series has been adapted for audiobook.


Writing novels for young adults was not D.J. MacHale's first career. Though best known for his "Pendragon" series of books about Bobby Pendragon, a fourteen-year-old basketball star whose life turns upside down when he discovers he has a supernatural responsibility, MacHale started his career in filmmaking and screenwriting. As the cocreator and writer behind such television shows as Are You Afraid of the Dark? and Chris Cross, MacHale had plenty of experience writing for children on screen before he began to write in the prose format. When asked about his turn from screen to printed page, MacHale explained to Writers Write online interviewer Claire E. White: "Any screenwriter will tell you that as satisfying and wonderful a career as that is, outside of the people you work with, nobody actually reads what you write. Your writing goes through a process, touched by multiple dozens of people, until it becomes a finished piece of film.… Writing a book is much more pure than that, and I wanted to experience it."

The "Pendragon" series begins with The Merchant of Death. Content with his basketball career, his girlfriend, and his suburban Connecticut life, Bobby receives the shock of his life when his Uncle Press explains to the teen that they are both actually Travelers: beings able to make the leap between parallel realities and on whom many worlds depend. Uncle Press now asks Bobby to travel with him to the territory of Denduron, a medieval civilization now about to break into civil war. In Denduron the two uncover the identity of the vicious Saint Dane, a shape changer who hopes to take over all of the worlds the Travelers have sworn to protect.

Bobby's adventures continue in further books in the "Pendragon" series, among them The Lost City of Faar, The Never War, and The Reality Bug. In each book he travels to a new world, visiting underwater cities, parallel Earths, and societies where virtual reality is commonplace. Along the way the teen meets fellow Travelers, including Spader and Loor, and sends his journals to his best friends back home in Connecticut. MacHale tells each of the stories by combining a third-person narrative with Bobby's viewpoint as noted in the letters he sends home.

While School Library Journal contributor John Peters cited the "predictable, drawn-out" drama in The Merchant of Death, in the same periodical Celeste Steward recommended the "predictable" series as "perfect for reluctant readers." Of The Lost City of Faar, the second book of the series, a Kirkus Reviewer noted that MacHale "displays a flair for action-packed pacing," while a Publishers Weekly critic recommended the book to fans of Jules Verne's adventures, noting that the author "embellishes his science fiction with just enough silly touches to leaven the mood." Writing about The Never War, Sharon Ralwins noted in School Library Journal that while the book "may not be great literature," readers will enjoy its "fast pace, suspenseful plotting, and cliff-hanger chapter endings." According to Kliatt reviewer Deirdre Root, the seventh book in the saga, The Quillan Games, shows that, with each new adventure, the "Pendragon" series "gets better and better."



Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 2003, review of The Lost City of Faar, p. 63.

Kliatt, July, 2003, Deirdre B. Root, review of The Never War, p. 33; May, 2006, Deirdre Root, review of The Quillan Games, p. 11.

Publishers Weekly, December 2, 2002, review of The Lost City of Faar, p. 53.

School Librarian, summer, 2003, review of The Merchant of Death, p. 100.

School Library Journal, November, 2002, John Peters, review of The Merchant of Death, p. 173; July, 2003, Sharon Rawlins, review of The Never War, p. 133; July, 2005, Walter Minkel, review of The Rivers of Zadaa, p. 106.

Voice of Youth Advocates, April, 2003, review of The Lost City of Faar, p. 66; October, 2003, review of The Never War, p. 325.


D.J. MacHale Home Page, (November 26, 2006).

Powell's Books Web site, (November 26, 2006), interview with MacHale.

Writers Write Web site, (September-October, 2004), Claire E. White, "A Conversation with D.J. MacHale."

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