Brian Herbert Interview, plus links to author biography, book summaries, excerpts and reviews

Brian Herbert

Brian Herbert

An interview with Brian Herbert

The Story Behind Dune: House Atreides
by Brian Herbert

When my father first sat down with me to go over one of my manuscripts, he told me that he couldn't teach me how to write; instead, he would teach me what he called "the care and feeding of editors": how to make manuscripts look presentable so that they wouldn't be tossed into a slush pile, unread. He then proceeded to teach me how to write. I remember many instances when we would brainstorm ideas and dissect my own novel manuscripts. He taught me how to develop worlds, to create characters, to invent action...and to describe all of it. We collaborated on the novel Man of Two Worlds, Frank Herbert's last published work, and even talked about working together on a new Dune novel, but we'd set no date, had established no specific details or direction.

That novel was not to be. When my father died in 1986, he left several projects unfinished. For years there were rumors that I would write another novel set in my father's Dune universe, a sequel to the sixth book in the series, Chapterhouse: Dune. Prominent writers approached me with offers of collaboration, but in tossing ideas around with them I couldn't visualize the project coming to fruition. They were excellent writers, but in combination with them I didn't feel the necessary synergy for such a monumental task. Along with Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and a handful of other works, Dune stood as one of the greatest creative achievements of all time, and arguably the greatest example of science fiction world-building in the history of literature. For the sake of my father's legacy, I could not select the wrong person.

It wasn't until I began conversation with Kevin J. Anderson, a critically acclaimed and internationally best-selling author, that I found someone whose enthusiasm and passion for the Dune universe match my own. Much of Kevin's writing had been influenced heavily by the work of Frank Herbert. I read everything I could get my hands on that Kevin had written, and did more checking on him. It soon became clear that he was a brilliant writer and that his reputation was sterling. We hit it off immediately, both on a personal and professional level; new story ideas fairly exploded from our minds and together, we found the energy to tackle such a massive project.

Frank Herbert had left behind literally thousands of pages of notes, ideas, and sketches. Of all the possible Dune stories we could tell, Kevin and I chose to concentrate on an immediate prequel, to go back to the heart of Dune's readership, the core characters and situations that had made this the best-selling science fiction novel of all time: The love story of Duke Leto and Lady Jessica; their first battle with Baron Harkonnen; the quest of the planetologist Kynes, sent to the desert world of Dune to investigate the precious spice and the sandworms and the Fremen...and the power-hungry Crown Prince Shaddam, who would do anything to secure the Imperial throne.

The Dune universe is a vast canvas, with ample opportunity for many stories, but we have chosen to start here, featuring the characters with whom all Dune fans are familiar. Dune: House Atreides is a personal story that means a great deal to us; we hope booksellers and readers alike will feel the same way.

Brian Herbert

Unless otherwise stated, this interview was conducted at the time the book was first published, and is reproduced with permission of the publisher. This interview may not be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the copyright holder.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Shotgun Lovesongs
    Shotgun Lovesongs
    by Nickolas Butler
    Nickolas Butler's debut novel, Shotgun Lovesongs, follows five life-long friends, now in their mid-...
  • Book Jacket: Gemini
    Gemini
    by Carol Cassella
    How good is Gemini, Carol Cassella's book about a Seattle intensive care physician who becomes ...
  • Book Jacket: The Goldfinch
    The Goldfinch
    by Donna Tartt
    Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer for Fiction.

    Her canvas is vast. To frame a story about art, love and ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

Published Apr. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  170The Weight of Blood:
    Laura McHugh
  2.  143Happier at Home:
    Gretchen Rubin

All Discussions

Who Said...

Every good journalist has a novel in him - which is an excellent place for it.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

P Your O C

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.