Matt Dickinson - Author Picture

Matt Dickinson - Author

Matt Dickinson is an award-winning writer and filmmaker with a passion for climbing and adventure. During his filmmaking career he has worked as a director/cameraman for National Geographic television, the Discovery Channel, the BBC and Channel 4. His film projects have taken him to Antarctica, Africa and the Himalaya, often in the company of the world’s leading climbers and expeditioners. His most notable film success was ‘Summit Fever’ in which Matt reached the summit of Everest via the treacherous North Face. His book The Death Zone tells the true story of that ascent and has become a bestseller in many different countries.

Matt is currently patron at Lady Manners School in Bakewell and continues to climb and explore. In January 2013 he summitted Mount Aconcagua, which, at 6,965 metres, is the highest peak in the world outside the Himalaya. In 2016 he was back on Everest as writer in residence with Jagged Globe’s South Col Expedition. Currently, he is planning an ascent of Mount Denali in Alaska, one of the ‘Seven Summits’.

Recently Matt has started writing fiction for teenage readers. His debut thriller series Mortal Chaos was well received by critics and readers alike. Matt has followed this up with The Everest Files, a dramatic and popular trilogy set on the world’s highest mountain. Lie Kill Walk Away is his latest teen thriller. When he’s not writing, Matt tours the UK, speaking at schools and colleges and inspiring a new generation of adventurers.

A Q&A with Matt about his new book Lie Kill Walk Away

Lie Kill Walk Away is very different to any of your other books. Two teenagers on the run, a government conspiracy and a life-threatening disease on the loose, make for some hard-hitting action. Have stories about secrets and twisted truths always captured your attention?

Ever since I began to read I have always loved thrillers. Fast pace and a twisty unpredictable plot make for exciting reading and I love that feeling when I find myself turning the pages at high speed, totally hooked on the story and wanting to find out more! Thrillers translate from book to film with a natural transition as well, so there’s often the extra dimension of seeing the story on the big screen later down the line and enjoying it all over again. Secrets are important in this genre so I wanted Lie Kill Walk Away to contain a powerful secret world. It was a great experience to fine-tune the plot of the book so that the secret powers of government hold all the cards, leaving my heroes Joe and Becca running for their lives.

Becca wants to be a natural scientist. Do you share her fascination with diseases?

I certainly am fascinated by the science of killer diseases, and have even made a documentary, which I filmed at one of the most lethal bio-weapon production labs in the world. To explore the abandoned base in Kazakhstan, where the Soviets had cooked up weaponised versions of some of the most horrifying pathogens ever invented, we had to make a clandestine journey deep into Voz Island in the middle of the Aral sea. That was where the Russians produced Anthrax, Ebola, and many other lethal pathogens that were designed for use in war. We had to wear bio-protection suits in forty-two degrees of heat. It was a very demanding shoot that could have ended in imprisonment if we had been discovered. The documentary I directed was broadcast by Channel 4 in the series Going to Extremes.

This book explores some difficult issues: a teen in a young offenders’ institution, young people groomed by a terrorist operation, mental illness. Do you think it’s important for young adult books to address these topics?

Teen and young adult writers have a duty to explore strong themes. The world is a challenging place and growing up is sometimes a difficult journey. As a father of five children (including two teenage kids at the moment!) I have experienced this first hand myself. That’s why thrillers such as Lie Kill Walk Away are important, because they tackle gritty issues head-on and don’t sugar coat the world. Books are a window into themes that are sometimes challenging but I don’t think authors should be apologising for that. It’s natural to explore the dark side of our inner world, and might even help in important ways.

Everybody knows you as the Everest climber – which is possibly the most extreme form of adventure there is – but did Lie Kill Walk Away allow you to explore a different kind of adventure?

Yes, probably I am best known for my Everest adventures, but I have plenty of other themes that I want to explore. In my previous series Mortal Chaos, I based the stories around chaos theory and the chain reactions that cause disasters. With Lie Kill Walk Away I wanted to create a very different form of adventure, a thriller environment in which two teenage protagonists are trying, quite literally, to save the world. It’s a big story but I have loved the challenge and I hope that readers will identify with my two heroes.

With fast-paced blink-and-you’ll-miss-it action, we think reluctant readers will love this book. Do you always have reluctant readers in mind when you are writing and how do you try to appeal to them?

I really like it when ‘reluctant readers’ identify with my books and enjoy reading them. It’s a special feeling because it might inspire a new reading hobby that will last a lifetime. ‘Reluctant readers' are often boys with short attention spans. That’s why my books have very short chapters and are generally fast paced. I am the same in my reading habits; I strongly dislike books that are overwritten or just way too slow.

Featured Books, with extracts, by Matt Dickinson

Lie Kill Walk Away
Matt Dickinson
A non-stop, action packed, thrilling tale of a race to save humanity from a deadly virus. 15 year old Rebecca Eden and 16 year old Joe Fontana tell their own tales in alternate very short punchy chapters. Each has suffered...
Lovereading Price: £5.59 - Saving £1.40 (20%) Featured in: YA readers
Format: Paperback | Released 06/10/2016
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North Face
Matt Dickinson
An adventurous rescue attempt out on the north face of Everest, sits alongside the tale of a Tibetan family as they flee for their lives. ‘North Face' is the second in The Everest Files Series with 18 year old...
Lovereading Price: £5.59 - Saving £1.40 (20%) Featured in: 13+ readers | YA readers
Format: Paperback | Released 10/03/2016
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The Everest Files
Matt Dickinson
June 2014 Book of the Month A thrilling journey to the dark side of Everest, it follows 18-year-old Ryan Hart, on a gap year adventure working for a charity in Nepal. Dark forces are at play on the lethal slopes...
Lovereading Price: £5.59 - Saving £1.40 (20%) Featured in: 13+ readers | 11+ readers | YA readers
Format: Paperback | Released 10/03/2014
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Mortal Chaos: Speed Freaks
Matt Dickinson
One beat of a butterfly's wings is all it takes to set in motion a chain of events, over the course of one day, which will change people's lives - and end people's lives. From the father and son diving...
Lovereading Price: £5.59 - Saving £1.40 (20%) Featured in: 11+ readers
Format: Paperback | Released 03/01/2013
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Mortal Chaos 2: Deep Oblivion
Matt Dickinson
July 2012 Book of the Month. Fast-paced and thrilling, a dazzlingly varied sequence of unrelated stories all triggered by one single act dance through the second of Matt Dickinson's Mortal Chaos titles. When a security guard kills a butterfly, the pane...
Lovereading Price: £5.59 - Saving £1.40 (20%) Featured in: 11+ readers
Format: Paperback | Released 05/07/2012
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Reader ReviewedMortal Chaos
Matt Dickinson
'The Butterfly Effect' - otherwise known as the scientific theory that a single occurrence, no matter how small, can change the course of the universe forever - is the central premise of this stunning debut. This heart-stopping adventure by writer,...
Lovereading Price: £6.39 - Saving £1.60 (20%) Featured in: 11+ readers
Format: Paperback | Released 02/02/2012
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