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Andy Briggs

Tell me about 'Tarzan: The Greystoke Legacy'

TARZAN: THE GREYSTOKE LEGACY is the first official Tarzan reboot, completely backed by the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate. I wanted to create a Tarzan for the new generation of reader, while also keeping the fans onboard. Tarzan is 100 years old this year and, despite there not being a film since 1999 or any books, children STILL know who he is and his famous Tarzan call. As a lifelong fan of Tarzan I didn't want to change it too much, although I wanted my Tarzan to be more feral and animalistic, and I wanted Jane to be a real tough-nut too, dragged into the jungle by her father, who is an illegal logger (rather than a dotty professor in the original.)

It was important to me to make sure this is a reboot of the character, rather than a rehash of Burroughs' original classic tale, which I adore. I hope that my book draws new readers to the Ape Man, and they in turn, seek out Burroughs' originals at some point in the future.

TARZAN: THE JUNGLE WARRIOR is out this July, and once again draws on classic elements from the original books (incidentally, Burroughs wrote 26 Tarzan books). In JUNGLE WARRIOR I introduce one of Tarzan's most infamous nemesis, Rokoff - the world's greatest hunter. I'm rather pleased with this book!

How did it feel to be taking on some a famous character?
I was inspired by the way Christopher Nolan made Batman a darker and more troubled character, while still maintaining the hero's integrity. I knew that is what I wanted to do with my Tarzan. I was also aware Tarzan has a legion of fans out there who don't like to see Tarzan changed. Of course, a majority of fans were very negatively vocal when it was announced that I would be rebooting Tarzan, which was an obvious worry, but thankfully when most of them have read the book, they have enjoyed it, seeing it for what it is - a reboot to keep the character alive, and not a replacement for the original.

How do your novels change over successive drafts?
My novels seldom change from the first draft because I spend an awful lot of time plotting them beforehand, and immersing myself in research. I think that's because my background is screenwriting, where plotting is critical. I know many superb authors who can just sit and write without laying out a plot, but I'm not one of them. Thankfully, for me, that means there is very little to rewrite, it's all down to finessing after that!

What's your favourite part of the writing process?
The research, then the plotting, then the first few chapters. After that it becomes a blank until I have finished. I really don't like finishing a novel (or a screenplay for that matter), it just doesn't feel right to do so. But the joys of figuring out the plot, the twists and then making sure the research fits it all is a real joy!

How important is the internet to a writer?
For me it is a massive resource, instant global access to places, customs and obscure research. However, it does not replace actually visiting locations, reading books that have been thoroughly researched, and especially not speaking to people who have been there and done that. It was incredibly difficult to find out what gorilla's smell like, or what it would be like to sit with them just on the internet. For books two and three I have found myself on the edge of volcanos and exploring jungle ruins - for real - just so I can capture that authentic experience on the page.

What are you working on at the moment?
I am just starting the process of plotting the third Tarzan book as well as working on a couple of scripts. I am very happy too, because in a couple of weeks a movie I wrote is about to start shooting. That's all the encouragement I need to write some more new and exciting stories!

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