Roderick Gordon, co-author of the Tunnels series, grew up in Highgate, North London. Chronically shy throughout his childhood, he sought refuge in drawing and writing, and had one of his first short stories published in a school magazine when he was twelve. At University College, London, he read Biology and also met the irrepressible Brian Williams, who was attending the Slade School of Fine Art. They became close friends in the summer of 1980 after discovering they had very similar taste in films, music and literature, but mostly girls.
After a failed attempt to transfer to medical school to train as a doctor, Roderick graduated with a degree in biology, but without the vaguest idea of what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. For a couple of years he composed music and played in a number of bands, and toyed with getting into the film business (he was employed briefly by George Harrison’s Handmade Films), but somehow or other he ended up in the City working in corporate finance.
In 2001, after a nine-year stint with the same investment bank, Roderick was made redundant, something that he now describes as a blessing in disguise. He often says he sold his soul to the devil, but the devil didn’t want it. Now back in possession of his soul and with time on his hands, he was able to meet up with Brian more regularly, and in 2003, they decided to start writing together, something they’d been threatening to do for more than two decades. Their first project was a film screenplay for a thriller, and they both found the process so rewarding they decided they would continue the collaboration and write a book for younger readers, as first suggested by Roderick’s wife, Sophie.
Roderick had always been interested in archaeology and palaeontology. His great-great-grandfather William Buckland is widely recognised as one of the forefathers of geology, and in 1824 gave what is thought to be the first scientific lecture on the jaw bone of a dinosaur called the Megalosaurus, some twenty years before the word dinosaur itself was coined. Roderick himself was fascinated by ‘what lies beneath’, and when he bought a sixteenth-century country house and found that it was rumoured to have a secret passage beneath it, the germ of the idea for Tunnels was born.
All through late 2003 and the summer of 2004, Roderick and Brian wrote together, finally self-publishing their first novel in 2005. The book quickly sold out, attracting the attention of Barry Cunningham, J.K. Rowling’s original publisher and founder of the Chicken House.
After intense media interest and a whirlwind tour, Tunnels was released in July 2007 to huge success, and has now been published in forty counties and achieved sales of more than a million copies worldwide. Shortly after publication, the film rights were snapped up by a large Hollywood financier and production is expected to start in 2010. A manga of the book has even been released in Japan. Tunnels has been followed by further books in the series, Deeper (2008) and Freefall (2009), and Closer.
Roderick lives in North Norfolk with his wife, two children, and some rather noisy chickens, although he frequently escapes to London