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Matt Dickinson - Author

About the 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 by Matt Dickinson

Other books by Matt Dickinson

Popcorn-Eating Squirrels of the World Unite! Four go nuts for popcorn

Popcorn-Eating Squirrels of the World Unite! Four go nuts for popcorn

Author: Matt Dickinson Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/09/2018

Snake

Snake

Author: Matt Dickinson Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 18/05/2017

A thought provoking and inspiring story written for emerging readers, particularly those who are offenders, disaffected or at risk. Liam loves visiting the local pet shop and is desperate to have his own snake. Then one day, Mr Nash, the owner of the shop, disappears ...What has happened to Mr Nash? And how far will Liam go to get what he wants? A story that will appeal to adults but written at the reading level of a seven to eleven year old.

Phytoplasma Methods and Protocols

Phytoplasma Methods and Protocols

Author: Matt Dickinson Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 23/08/2016

Phytoplasmas are a group of bacteria that are capable of multiplying and causing severe diseases in a wide range of plant species and are transported between plants by insect vectors in which the bacteria can also multiply. Phytoplasmas can cause serious and devastating problems for crop plants, especially in developing countries. In Phytoplasmas: Methods and Protocols experts in the field cover topics pertinent to scientists intending to develop a research program on phytoplasmas. The volume opens with an introductory chapter on the importance of phytoplasma diseases, followed by methods for detection and diagnosis as well as techniques for separating and classifying the phytoplasmas into their different taxonomic groups and subgroups. The final chapters cover methods for separating phytoplasma genomic and plasmid DNA from plant DNA for whole genome sequencing. Written in the successful Methods in Molecular Biology (TM) series format, chapters include introductions to their respective topics, lists of the necessary materials and reagents, step-by-step, readily reproducible protocols, and notes on troubleshooting and avoiding known pitfalls. Authoritative and easily accessible, Phytoplasmas: Methods and Protocols serves as an ideal guide to plant pathologists and molecular biologists aiming to set up a diagnostics facility for identifying the presence of these pathogens in plants or their insect vectors.

Bobby Moore The Man in Full

Bobby Moore The Man in Full

Author: Matt Dickinson Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 21/05/2015

THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER AND SHORTLISTED FOR THE WILLIAM HILL SPORTS BOOK OF THE YEAR 'Immaculate footballer. Imperial defender. Immortal hero of 1966. Master of Wembley. Captain extraordinary. Gentleman of all time.' With these words, inscribed beneath the statue of England's World Cup-winning captain, the nation remembers Bobby Moore. But what do we really know about this iconic figure? Pele called him the greatest - and fairest - defender he ever played against. His feats for West Ham United and England are legendary and his technical mastery of the game years ahead of its time. Yet off the pitch, Moore knew scandal, bankruptcy, divorce and drink. He endured a string of business failures and maintained links with the East End underworld. Ignored by the football world post-retirement, this great of the game drifted into obscurity and, famously, was never honoured with a knighthood. Acclaimed football writer Matt Dickinson traces the journey of this Essex boy who became the patron saint of English football, peeling away the layers of legend and looking at Moore's life from all sides - in triumph, in failure, in full. 'This should be essential, sobering reading for anyone who cares about West Ham, England or English football' Metro

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