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

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


Personal


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

Addresses


Home—CA. E-mail—[email protected]

Career


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

Awards, Honors


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.

Writings


"PENDRAGON" SERIES; YOUNG-ADULT NOVELS


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.

OTHER


(Reteller) East of the Sun, West of the Moon, Rabbit Ears (Westport, CT), 1991, 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. Co-creator and writer, Chris Cross (television series), for Showtime, and Flight 29 Down (television series), for Discovery Kids/NBC. Co-author of The Tale of the Nightly Neighbors.

Adaptations


The "Pendragon" novel series was adapted for audiobook.

Sidelights


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 co-creator 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 easy-to-follow plot lines as "perfect for reluctant readers." Of The Lost City of Faar, the second book of the series, a Kirkus Reviews contributor 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."

Biographical and Critical Sources


PERIODICALS


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 Zaada, 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.

ONLINE


D.J. MacHale Home Page,http://www.thependragonadventure.com (November 26, 2006).

Powells Books Web site,http://www.powells.com (November 26, 2006), interview with MacHale.

Writers Write Web site,http://www.writerswrite.com/ (September-October, 2004), Claire E. White, "A Conversation with D.J. MacHale."

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