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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.
December 2016 Book of the Month 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 heartache and each has experienced loss, yet dealt with it in very different ways. They meet in unusual circumstances and soon find themselves battling for their lives. The introduction set me on high alert, it took me a few seconds to understand what I was looking at, it was certainly intriguing and I immediately wanted to know more. Matt Dickinson doesn't shy away from difficult subjects, he exposes pain, corruption, loss, fear and meets them head on, yet with undeniable sensitivity. Well suited to both young men and women, ‘Lie Kill Walk Away’ is an exciting, adventurous and captivating tale. ~ Liz Robinson Matt Dickinson is known as the Everest climber – which is possibly the most extreme form of adventure there is – but did writing Lie Kill Walk Away allow him to explore a different kind of adventure? Matt says: 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. Read the rest of this Q&A on Matt's author page. We think this is great book for reluctant readers and Matt agrees..he always keeps ‘reluctant readers’ in mind when writing, ‘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. I can promise readers of Lie Kill Walk Away that they will be in for a very fast read.’
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 Ryan Hart finding himself once more fully immersed in the culture of his surroundings. The two separate stories blend into each other until they beat with one heart. Everest sits brooding, occasionally rumbling and roaring, ever present, ever mysterious. This is a fascinating story, all the more so, due to Matt Dickinson’s background, he has climbed Everest and he’s spent time with the local people, consequently Tashi’s tale in particular rings with truth. With evocative chapter heading illustrations, this is a simply told, yet dark tale that doesn't shy away from desperate deeds. Encouraging further research into the region, ‘North Face’ is not only thought provoking, it is also a completely captivating read. ~ Liz Robinson
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 of the highest peak in the world, and Ryan sets out to solve it all. Mount Everest remains one of the most dangerous places in the world for its unpredictability. In the month that this is published in 2014, a large number of sherpas perished on the mountain, so this novel is incredibly timely.
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 in Hawaii to the teenagers surfing the bullet train...from the kidnapped girl in Rio to a bear attack in Japan...the chaos knows no bounds. The action is non-stop in this tense and compelling adventure. You can check out some sensational reviews for the Mortal Chaos series by clicking here.
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 of glass it is fluttering against falls from the building. The immediate effect is remarkably small; the shock waves are immense. Across the globe in different continents and completely different settings, the lives of a host of characters are changed forever. Some are lucky; others are less so. The story of each is utterly compelling. You can check out some sensational reviews for the Mortal Chaos series by clicking here. Scroll down to read the reader reviews for this book.
'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, film maker and climber Matt Dickinson will leave readers breathless. Heart-stopping and adrenalin fuelled, Mortal Chaos flashes between four locations and a number characters around the world including the North Face if Everest, Washington DC, Wiltshire and Malawi. It's the book Jack Bauer would have read as a teenager! Shortlisted for the Key Stage 3 category of Brilliant Books, Oldham Schools’ Book Award -------- In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Mortal Chaos a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Here’s a taster from one of the reviews. “I can honestly say that anybody who has not read this book is truly missing out on one of the best fictional adventures of their lifetime." Scroll down to read the rest of this review and all the reader reviews.
EVEREST IS WAITING ... STORMS, AVALANCHES, YETIS AND ALL! A million pounds and popcorn for life. This is the incredible prize on offer if a team can meet the challenge: to make popcorn on the very summit of Mount Everest. The squirrels have their doubts. They could end up as a snack for a snow leopard. What about frostbitten paws? Will the friends even be able to breathe in the thin mountain air? But when little Alfie is kidnapped and held hostage by one of the Everest teams, the squirrels begin the deadly climb. Can they rescue Alfie? What if the yetis attack? And what about evil Rosalba and the thuggish honey badgers? It's the popcorn-eating squirrels' greatest adventure yet! Popcorn-Eating Squirrels Go Nuts on Everest - the sequel to Popcorn-Eating Squirrels of the World Unite! by bestselling children's author Matt Dickinson - is a mountain survival epic unlike any other.
Everyone knows that squirrels love nuts, right? Wrong! When three young squirrels meet Salty - a grumpy, greedy old squirrel, addicted to popcorn - they become tangled up in a magical adventure that is to change their lives forever. But what will become of Ben, Cassie and Alfie when the evil honey badgers show up? Will the three friends survive an unexpected tumble in the Pop-O-Matic 3000? Popcorn-Eating Squirrels of the World Unite! by bestselling children's author Matt Dickinson is a funny, non-stop action-adventure story about four squirrels who dive in to all sorts of mischief and chaos in the pursuit of a delicious new foodstuff: popcorn. Making friends, battling enemies and overcoming obstacles along the way, this is a story for children who like to be thrilled with every page turn.
Killer Storm: the third and final book in the Everest Files trilogy by Matt Dickinson. Teenage climber Ryan Hart is still in Nepal, working at a refugee centre with his Tibetan girlfriend, Tashi. His obsession with summiting Mount Everest is as strong as ever, but a climbing accident puts his plans on hold. As soon as Ryan recovers, he and Tashi journey deep into the Himalaya. Old friends have come back into their lives and invited them on the adventure. On the way they discover disturbing news: Nepal's summer rains have failed and the country is in chaos. There are riots in the cities. Bandits roam the hills. As they arrive at Base Camp, a violent terrorist attack kicks off. Ryan and his friends are held hostage. Escape is their only option, but all the trails are guarded. They must head for Everest's deadly slopes. The friends battle against the elements to keep one step ahead of the terror leader as the chase intensifies ... Storm clouds gather high on the mountain. The scene is set for the ultimate Everest adventure.
LIE: 'I check the Range Rover dash. The keys are in there. The sirens are closing in. There's a police helicopter coming over the hospital.' KILL: 'I have to decide. Decide right now. I can keep out of trouble. Not get involved. Just run away through the park and go home and pretend none of this has happened. Or I can help Becca.' WALK AWAY: 'I stare into her eyes. Those deep blue eyes. Just for a split second. I tell her, get in the car .' Joe and Becca uncover a deadly secret. A lethal bioweapon is about to be unleashed. Millions will suffer a terrible death. Now they are being hunted down. And their problems have only just begun ...Lie Kill Walk Away is the latest teen thriller from Matt Dickinson, author of The Everest Files and Mortal Chaos.
The Everest Files story continues in North Face ... Ryan Hart is an 18-year-old adventurer on a mission. To get himself to Mount Everest and check out the truth about the world's highest peak. Friends have told him dark stories about the mountain, outrageous things that he wants to see for himself. Just a few hours after Ryan arrives at Everest Base Camp a lethal earthquake strikes. Avalanches pound the glacier, burying Ryan's climbing buddy and killing many others. A desperate rescue saves Ryan's friend, but only after a local Tibetan girl Tashi helps with the search. Stress levels are running high among the climbing teams. The mountain is shut for the season because it is judged too dangerous. Then a flashlight reveals a clue. Someone is alive, high on Everest's treacherous north face! Tashi is convinced it is her 15-year-old brother. Ryan is prepared to risk everything to help. Storm clouds gather as they set out on their illegal climb, a do-or-die mission which the local militia will do anything to stop.
Project X Alien Adventures takes you on an incredible reading journey with this fantastic story featuring the popular Project X characters Max, Cat, Ant and Tiger. On the trail of the Weaver, Max, Cat, Ant and Tiger rip-jump to one of the most dangerous dimensions yet - a volcanic island. But Mount Inferno is not the only danger that awaits the micro-friends. Together they must escape from a wild pack of hyena-like creatures, find a way into Burner City and defeat the terrifying Mantis if they are to survive. Can they do it and find the thought vial they need? Carefully levelled and highly motivating, this book is ideal for independent reading. This book also contains notes on the inside front and back covers with advice on supporting older children with their reading, questions for readers, and a follow-up activity.
The Everest Files: a thrilling journey to the dark side of Everest. In the deepest Himalaya a story is spreading like wildfire. The story of an Everest expedition unlike any other.An expedition that ended with mysterious disappearances ... and death. This is the mystery that eighteen-year-old Ryan Hart sets out to solve. Ryan is on a gap year adventure, working for a medical charity in Nepal. When a local girl begs him to investigate why her sixteen-year-old friend Kami never came back from Everest, Ryan cannot resist the challenge. A solo journey takes Ryan deep into the mountains where his detective work finally pays off. What emerges is a shocking tale of lies, betrayal and obsession. All played out on the lethal slopes of the highest mountain in the world. Little by little Ryan is falling under Everest's deadly spell.
Butterfly effect: The scientific theory that a single occurence, no matter how small, can change the course of the universe forever. A father and son diving off the coast of Hawaii, with the sharks closing in. A scientist in a forest under attack from a savage bear. A young girl who has been kidnapped by drug dealers in Rio. The teenagers surfing on top of a speeding bullet train. For them, and many others, things will never be the same again. Some will live. Many will die. All are connected. The action is non-stop in this tense and compelling adventure.
Butterfly effect: The scientific theory that a single occurrence, no matter how small, can change the course of the universe forever. Hannah, homeless and on the run. Gwen and Tehpoe, kidnapped by violent rebels. Todd and Isabella, threatened by piranha attack. Wai Yan, hunted by a cruel dictator. Stian Olberg, fighting to save his vessel from imminent destruction. For them, and many others, things will never be the same again. Some will live. Many will die. All are connected. The action is non-stop in this tense and compelling adventure.
'The Butterfly Effect ': the scientific theory that a single occurrence, no matter how small, can change the course of the universe forever. When a butterfly startles a young rabbit, and the rabbit makes a horse rear, it starts a chain of events, over the course of one day, that will change people's lives . . . and end people's lives. From a climber on Everest to a boy in Malawi . . . from a commercial pilot to an American psycho . . . the chaos knows no bounds. This heart-stopping adventure by writer, film maker and climber Matt Dickinson will leave readers breathless. It's the book Jack Bauer would have read as a teenager!
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