Talking bricks and books with LEGO NEXO KNIGHTS author Max Brallier

New York Times bestselling author Max Brallier stopped by OOM today to tell us about himself and his new LEGO® NEXO KNIGHTS: Knights Academy series.

Were you an avid reader? What were some of your favorite books growing up?

I was an avid reader (my mom made sure of that – reading was required at home). My favorite book of all time is actually Bart Simpson’s Guide to Life. Tintin was the first series I remember loving – my dad read it to me before bed every night. I devoured the Hardy Boys books. Lots of X-Men comics, Spiderman comics, and Mad Magazine. Loved the Sideways Stories from Wayside School series, Harriet the Spy, the Goosebumps books, the Matt Christopher books, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and – even when I was “too old” for picture books – The Eleventh Hour by Graeme Base. Calvin & Hobbes is my favorite writing of all time. I was too old to grow up with Harry Potter – but I grew up with Jeff Smith’s Bone series. The first Bone collection came out when I was in 6th grade and then the final collection came out just as I was finishing college. Bone is my favorite fantasy adventure sort of thing ever – it’s just brilliant and so sweet and so funny.

Tell us more about yourself as a kid. Did you have a favorite subject in school? A favorite teacher?

I loved to draw, but I wasn’t particularly good at it. My favorite subjects were reading and history – my favorite class was art. I liked gym on dodgeball day – but when it wasn’t dodgeball day, gym was the worst. Running the mile? Ugh. I had so many good teachers that it’s tough to pick just one – can I just give a shout out to the entire Reading, Massachusetts school system? ‘Cause they generally kicked butt pretty hard. #01867

When did you decide that you wanted to become a writer?

I knew two things early on: 1) I wanted to do something creative and 2) I wanted to tell stories. But I didn’t know if I wanted to draw comics, design videogames, make movies, or what. It wasn’t until I was in college that I discovered I wanted to write. I was a film major, but I was interested in screenwriting. That led me to taking a science-fiction short story class with a professor named Katharyn Howd Machan – I wrote one short story, she liked it, that motivated me like crazy and then I was off!

Tell us a little bit about your most recent book series LEGO NEXO KNIGHTS: KNIGHTS ACADEMY. What can readers take away from book 1 and the upcoming books?

Adventure, magic, friendship, sword fights, jokes, monsters, bad dudes, serious danger – this series has a bit of everything cool. With each book, the stakes are raised – and with each book, we learn more about our heroes and we get to see them evolve and grow and come into themselves. I’m really proud of it.

You played with LEGO bricks as a kid. What were the earliest sets you remember?

I was majorly into the space sets. I was obsessed with Star Wars, but there weren’t official Star Wars LEGO sets back then – so I’d create new, original ships that I thought could exist in the Star Wars universe. The first and only huge, major set I had was the Monorail (officially the “6990 Monorail Transport System”) – I got it for my birthday in, I believe, 1988. 

Photo credit: Max Brallier