Gravity boots helped me with 'Da Vinci Code', Brown reveals
The recent proceedings at the High Court offered the first clues as to how Dan Brown produced the publishing sensation that is The Da Vinci Code.
Now the American author has offered a further tantalising glimpse into his working practices, in a talk billed as his only public appearance before the release of the film version of his novel, starring Tom Hanks, next month.
When stuck on points of the plot, Brown would dangle upside down from a pair of "gravity boots" to think it out, he told 850 people at the sell-out event presented by the New Hampshire Public Radio and The Music Hall of Portsmouth on Sunday. It was a habit adopted while figuring out anagrams for his earlier novel, Angels and Demons, he said. The bestselling author had revealed some of his unusual working methods during the recent High Court case where two historians accused him of plagiarism, a claim he successfully rebutted.
"For me, writing is a discipline, much like playing a musical instrument. It requires constant practice and honing of skills," he said.
"If I'm not at my desk by sunrise, I feel like I'm missing my most productive hours. In addition to starting early, I keep an antique hourglass on my desk and every hour break briefly to do push-ups, sit-ups and quick stretches. This helps keep the blood, and ideas, flowing."
Critics might say it explains the contortions in the plot.
With the court case behind him, Brown said he was pleased the book's mixture of religion and art history, the Knights Templar and the search for the Holy Grail, had captured popular interest. Even the Vatican had stepped in to comment, because it was unhappy about the suggestion that Jesus and Mary Magdalene had married and produced a child whose bloodline survives to the present day.
But Brown insisted that it was not his responsibility to address the controversies stirred by The Da Vinci Code.
"Let the biblical scholars and the historians battle it out," he said. "It's a book about big ideas. You can love them or you can hate them. But we're all talking about them and that's really the point of it."
The former English teacher said that he wanted to return to the classroom one day and rarely reads work he has finished - although The Da Vinci Code was an exception.
"When the galleys came back, I sat down and I read the novel start to finish in one sitting and I was really happy, really proud of it," he said.
Fans may have to wait a while for the successor to The Da Vinci Code . The new book, which will again feature the Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon as the protagonist, was expected by the end of the year. Transworld Publishers in London admitted it had hoped the book would be finished by the autumn but that it was not now expecting it until next year. "I'm in no hurry," Brown said. "I just have to write a great follow-up and it will be done when it's done."
Brown, 41, at least seemed able to laugh at his recent ordeal in the courts. "By the way, if anybody in the audience would like to sue me, we have forms out the back," he said. "Just pick one up on your way out."
* PHILIP PULLMAN
Writes with a ballpoint pen on A4-sized narrow-lined paper. The paper must have a grey or blue margin and two holes. He writes only on one side and when he reaches the bottom of the page, he finishes the sentence or writes more at the top of the next so the piece of paper next morning is not blank. When he finishes a story, he types and edits it on computer.
* ROALD DAHL
Could not type and always wrote in pencil on very distinctive yellow paper. Produced most of his stories in a small hut at the end of the garden of the family home in Great Missenden in Buckinghamshire where he would sit in a wing-back armchair, his legs covered by a tartan rug and his writing board on his lap.
* ERNEST HEMINGWAY
Wrote in long-hand on onion-skin paper while standing up, until such point as he thought the work was progressing acceptably, when he would move on to his typewriter.
* VLADIMIR NABOKOV
Wrote on index cards, partly because he did not write consecutively from the beginning to the end of a chapter. He then arranged them in order and gave them to his wife to type up.
MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word
Film 'I've never been comfortable on-screen', she says
Review: One Direction, Fourmusic
Review: The World of Ice and Firebooks
Film More romcom than S&M
Review: The Imitation Gamefilm
Comedy...to show her mastectomy scars
TVNetflix gets cryptic
TV review A moving film showing kids too busy to enjoy their youth
Books Not even a Man Booker prize could save Richard Flanagan from a nomination
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 'Not suppost to cry': 9-year-old lists the worst things about being a boy
- 2 Lee Evans announces his retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
- 3 Iggy Azalea responds to Eminem rape lyrics: 'I'm bored of old men threatening young women'
- 4 These grandmas smoking weed for the first time are wonderful
- 5 Pastafarian former porn star Asia Lemmon allowed to wear colander in driving licence photo
Lee Evans announces his retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
Better Call Saul: Breaking Bad spin-off gets release date, logo and ominous new trailer
Iggy Azalea responds to Eminem rape lyrics: 'I'm bored of old men threatening young women'
Angelina Jolie confirms retirement from acting: 'I've never been comfortable on-screen'
Lana Del Rey rape video: Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking leaked footage
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Muslims pre-date Columbus in discovering America,' says Turkish president Erdogan
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Former Tory PM Sir John Major says 'we would not have an NHS without migrants'
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services