With the release of Dan Brown’s latest novel Origin, we journey once again with Robert Langdon, diving into his world of art and mystery and life-changing conspiracy theories. Throughout the years, Langdon has taken us on heart-racing adventures, from the lush countryside of Scotland to the hidden tombs of the Vatican — but before we embark on another one, let’s get to know the man behind all these mysteries. Read on for a special Q&A with bestselling author Dan Brown, plus a chance to win a copy of Origin and a signed copy of The Lost Symbol.

Origin by Dan Brown is available at Fully Booked Stores and Fully Booked Online.


Art history has been crucial to many of your novels, with famous paintings playing key roles. Which Modern Art paintings or artists should readers study to prepare for your new novel?

DAN BROWN: I’d prefer to preserve the mystery by withholding the names of any specific paintings, but I will tell you that Langdon is a great admirer of Modernists Gaugin and Picasso. In this novel, as he moved into the world of Contemporary Art, Langdon must come down from his ivory tower, set aside his classical predilections, and navigate a landscape of avant-garde works that challenge his very definition of art.

You once gave the writing advice: “Create something and throw it out before anyone can see it. Repeat the process until you create something you can’t bear to throw out.” Is throwing out drafts part of your writing process? Have you ever thrown out a whole novel?

I’ve heard that some writers “get it right the first time,” but I am definitely not one of them. For every page printed in my novels, I have invariably written at least ten that are discarded. When I speak to aspiring writers, I try to share with them my belief that the single most important skill they can learn as a writer is that of separation – that is, being able to read their own work as an “outsider” and ruthlessly delete anything that does not serve their story. I have never thrown out an entire novel, but I once had a computer crash that deleted the first one-third of Angels & Demons back in 1998. That was a very hard day for me. Ironically, when I finally gathered myself and went back to rewrite the novel, the story evolved into something better. And yes, I now back up on multiple machines.

Your books are dense with information about history, art, and conspiracy theories, not to mention always set in culturally rich cities. Can you describe your research process and how research fits into your book-writing process?

For me, research always begins with reading – gathering ideas from history books, newspaper articles, websites, and beyond. Once I’ve read enough to choose a topic for a novel, the next wave of research is done in person – interviewing historians, visiting possible locations, and gathering the details that I’ll need to write the book. The research process is great fun but also very time-consuming, and I always end up with far more information than I could ever use in a novel. For that reason, researching and writing an informative yet compact thriller always feels a bit to me like making maple sugar candy: First you have to tap hundreds of trees, and then you must boil down the sap until you’ve distilled a bite-sized nugget that encapsulates its essence.

For readers (particularly young readers) interested in the fascinating aspects of art history, conspiracy theories, and secret history that fill your novels, where would you suggest they go to learn more?

My original interest in secret history sparked while growing up in New England, surrounded by the clandestine clubs of Ivy League universities, the Masonic lodges of our Founding Fathers, and the hidden hallways of early government power. New England has a long tradition of private clubs, fraternities, and secrecy. For young readers interested in learning more about secret history, I recommend they begin with Manly P. Hall’s “The Secret Teachings of All Ages” – a beautifully illustrated book packed with codes, mysteries, and lost history.

What were your favorite books growing up?

I was a huge fan of Madeleine L’Engle. Her A Wrinkle in Time remains one of my all-time favorite books. I also loved the Hardy Boys mysteries along with the stories of E.B. White, Roald Dahl, and Mark Twain.

Your books are filled with puzzles and codes for readers to solve. What is your favorite real-life puzzle or code that you haven’t managed to crack yet?

I’ve always been captivated by the Voynich Manuscript – the mysterious, 15th century, encrypted codex that still baffles cryptologists, linguists, and historians. The illustrated manuscript was just re-published in a spectacular new edition, actually, and I’ve spent a lot of time studying the text, images, and diagrams. Sadly, I’ve come no closer to deciphering the document’s meaning and purpose. I really hope someone can crack it in my lifetime.

Your books have been described as riveting thrillers that are difficult to put down. Do you set out to write page-turners?

Yes, I work hard to construct fast-paced stories with lots of suspense. For me, the goal is always to create a plot with just the right blend of surprising facts, exotic locales, cliff-hanging intrigue. When I hear that a reader can’t put down my book, I know I’ve done my job.

History is clearly something that you are passionate about. What is it about understanding global history and stories that you find so compelling?

For me, the single most compelling aspect of history is that history is not always as accurate as we might believe. Throughout the ages, our trusted tales of “what happened” have always come from the same source – the winners. In other words, when cultures clash, the surviving people decide how their story will be told. For this reason, I am passionate about examining hidden histories and secret documents in an effort to unearth alternate viewpoints, lost facts, and new ways to interpret the stories we’ve all believed since childhood.

Did you always want to be a writer?

I’ve always loved writing. When I was five years old, my mom helped me write and publish my first book. I dictated, she transcribed, and we did a print run of one copy with a cardboard cover and a two-hole punch binding. The book was titled: “The Giraffe, The Pig, and the Pants On Fire!”  I still have it today.

Back in the 1990s, before you were a household name, you would write to individual readers personally. The author-reader relationship has obviously evolved since then. Do you miss those days?

I do miss the days of interacting personally with readers. I think it’s because I spent so many years as a teacher and loved that face-to-face process. Writing is a solitary journey, and so I am always excited to go out on book tour and meet readers one-on-one. I learn so much by listening to the questions they ask.

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30 Comments

  1. I haven’t read any of Dan Brown’s books but I have been meaning to read some of them soon!

  2. Fave authore evah!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. My favorite Dan Brown book is Deception Point. Having read all of Mr. Brown’s books (except Origin of course), Deception Point stands out because of the sprinkling of a science fiction aspect amidst what is essentially a political thriller. To this day I wonder why Hollywood hasn’t picked up the novel and turned it into a full-length feature or at least a Netflix three-episode special, but alas, I believe the current trend of franchise reboots are to blame.

    I’m excited to read Origins and I hope to pick it up soon!

  4. Has anyone else figured out the code on the dust jacket of Origin?

  5. Dan Nikkoli Soria

    I love all of Dan Brown’s books. But if I have to pick one, I will choose The Lost Symbol. It was the only book that totally influenced my personal beliefs. It was scary at first, but TLS is a mind-opener and an experience I will never forget.

  6. Kim Valentino

    I really love Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. I like how the chapters are perfectly cut short so that you won’t need a break when you’re in the middle of a chapter. I am not really into history so I am not aware of almost all facts included in the novel. But as a work of science fiction, it seemed like the author did A LOT of research and put a lot of thinking on how to explain things in a way that scify readers would really love.

    • Fully Booked

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  7. Ah, Dan Brown, the person responsible for my grown-up versions of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys. Novels packed with mystery, suspense, thrill and a whole lot of thinking. He’s the kind of author whose writing lets you take away more than just a journey but also nuggets of wisdom, hard-boiled knowledge and worked out neurons. And I can’t wait to dig into this one! I hope I win. *fingers crossed*

  8. The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons

  9. RL storyline always has been one of my favorites. I do hope this gets a film adaptation as well!!

  10. Paula Cervantes

    One of my dreams is to meet Dan Brown in person. I’ve been a fan since I read his Inferno. He’s one of the most brilliant author ever. How I hope Dan Brown will come here in the Philippines! Book tour please?

  11. Daniella Jeanica L. Cuaresma

    It is so hard to choose from all his books since I have always been a fan of his works. But if I had to choose, my favorite would be Angels & Demons. It is my first Dan Brown read and my first copy came from a book sale. I was 13 at that time. It was very eye-opening experience for me. At first, I didn’t know which ones are true and which ones are make-believe. And this is one of the things I love about his books: they are always mysterious. I have loved how he laid out this story. It was full of surprising turns and twists. You can visualize the streets of Rome, of everything just by reading it. I was very captivated by how he was able to come up with this unbelievably good story. Best part: Science and Religion all in one. Maybe this was the reason I was drawn to this book. At an age where it is believed that science and religion cannot be combined together to explain things and has always been a controversial issue, Dan Brown’s take on this is something I had always remembered ever since I read it. It goes, “In the end, we are all just searching for the truth, that which is greater than ourselves.”

  12. Daniella Jeanica L. Cuaresma

    It is so hard to choose from all his books since I have always been a fan of his works. But if I had to choose, my favorite would be Angels & Demons. It is my first Dan Brown read and my first copy came from a book sale. I was 13 at that time. It was very eye-opening experience for me. At first, I didn’t know which ones are true and which ones are make-believe. And this is one of the things I love about his books: they are always mysterious. I have loved how he laid out this story. It was full of surprising turns and twists. You can visualize the streets of Rome, of everything just by reading it. I was very captivated by how he was able to come up with this unbelievably good story. Best part: Science and Religion all in one. Maybe this was the reason I was drawn to this book. At an age where it is believed that science and religion cannot be combined together to explain things and has always been a controversial issue, Dan Brown’s take on this is something I had always remembered ever since I read it. “In the end, we are all just searching for the truth, that which is greater than ourselves.”

  13. I believe that Dan Brown’s eloquence and cryptic symbols will still guide us to delve into his world. I enamore this blog.

  14. It’s so difficult to choose just one because I’ve enjoyed reading his books and have learned a lot from each book but, if I had to choose 1, it’s probably Inferno. As usual it’s a fusion between the arts and the sciences but, this time, they tackled an issue closer to home — overpopulation. The book was also able to bring me to the streets and different landmarks of Florence, Venice, and Istanbul — the first 2 cities of which I’ve had the privilege of exploring in real life. It was a very interesting read that prompted me to research more about the setting the related history. All-in-all it was a very interesting read!

  15. Joshua Punzalan

    I’ve always been in awe of Brown’s works. I’m sure this will be a thrill for many.

  16. My favorite Dan Brown novel is the Lost Symbol. The occult nature of Freemasonry coupled with the various symbols depicted in the novel makes for an intriguing story. I love how Dan Brown carefully masks his characters, his plot, his story. Not gonna give any spoiler here, but all I can say is this, you wouldn’t expect who the antagonist is, moreso how the plot unfolded, truly superb! Kinda sad though that the Lost Symbol wasn’t made into a movie, I guess the CIA would’ve stopped its production midway anyways, haha!

  17. Jesse Ray Bergonia

    My favorite book from Dan Brown is of course, the Da Vinci Code. The riveting story he made was truly spectacular, making you want to turn immediately to the next page. I haven’t read the other books in the series, but in time, I’ll be excited to get my hands on them.

  18. Mariemel Joy Alinsub

    Angels and Demons. I just started reading Dan Brown’s books this year before reading angels and demons I have been skeptical but after reading it, I’ve been in love with his works and how he blends architecture, art and symbology together in solving mysteries.

  19. Michelle Babanto

    Out of all the books from Dan Brown that I’ve read, my favorite would have to be ‘Inferno’. I was glued from the start until the last page! I read the whole thing in one sitting (which doesn’t usually happen when I read other books from Dan Brown haha!). The plot, the concept of the virus (the whole time i was reading the book I kept thinking about “The Black Death”) and addressing the problem of overpopulation was also really intriguing and worth mentioning.
    Add in puzzles and riddles, suspense, betrayal (Sienna!), a bit of romance (also Sienna), and a whole lot of adventure and I am hooked.
    It also helps that the story is (somewhat) related to Dante’s Inferno, which is <3

    • Fully Booked

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  20. My favorite Dan Brown book is Da Vinci Code 🙂

  21. Jonathan Ayson

    My favorite Dan Brown novel will always be Angels and Demons because it provided a glimpse of the riches of the Vatican in material and symbolic wealth that most us would never see in person

  22. John Allan Paran

    I love Dan Brown and the adventures of Robert Langdon. The mixture of science, art, and history are the perfect ingredients for an awesome adventure. 😀

  23. Kris Abasta

    My favorite Dan Brown’s book is Da Vinci Code. It’s the experience that made me choose this book among others as I clearly remember that I hid from everyone at home to make sure I wouldn’t be disturbed as my hands wouldn’t let go of the book. It was already dark and my only source of light was the moon and the electricity post in front of our house as I actually ended up in our balcony. I was holding to every line on every page that I would do anything just to keep going. That makes this book atop for me.

  24. Julian E. Sison

    The Lost Symbol has to be my favourite of Dan Brown’s works possibly because it’s one of the few works that doesn’t feed on an intriguing longtime religious controversy but rather a love for truths and enlightenment about Washington DC as well as the real goal of the Masons, who I was able to see in a more positive and understanding light for the first time. It was also the book that taught me that there was a statue of Darth Vader’s head in one of Washington DC ‘s iconic buildings.

  25. Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon series has been one of my favorite adult mystery/thriller books. Brown created a great main character, and continues to make interesting adventures in his novels.

  26. I enjoyed reading ‘Angels and Demons’ because it presented thought-provoking arguments on science and religion. Very engaging book! I find Dan Brown novels to be interesting reads. Looking forward to reading ‘Origin.’

  27. Oh! One of my favorite Dan Brown’s Novel is Da Vinci Code. I love the information and the fiction part of the book as well as the reality that has been imparted in the novel. It was visually pleasing and stunning both at the same time. It dwells in a lot of themes and I like that it was one of the novels that made me accept that not only the good things are just good because the society told us to, maybe, the bad things could have been the good thing if it weren’t portrayed with negative attachment. Like our world and life, there are always two sides of the coin and in people, sometimes you are in up and sometimes you are in bottom.

    • Fully Booked

      Congratulations! You’re one of the winners of our Dan Brown book set giveaway! Please wait for our email to know how you can claim your prize. Thanks for joining and sharing your thoughts with us!

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