June 24, 2009

Writing The 39 Clues: A Jude Watson Exclusive

Posted by at 3:32 pm in Authors, The 39 Clues | Permalink

39clues_130People always ask me if I have a writing routine. I do — every morning I get up right before sunrise, and I go right to the computer. It’s dark and quiet. Even the birds are still asleep. I like the feeling that I’m the only one awake in the whole world.

Until The 39 Clues came along, that is. Didn’t I mention in my previous blog entry that things got complicated?

It happened like this: I grabbed a mug of tea, like I always do. Opened the file marked “39 CLUES #4.” Stared at what I’d written so far after a grueling day of work the day before:


Brilliant, right?

That morning, I thought I heard a footstep outside. I held my breath. No, just the leaves skittering on the porch, I told myself. We’d been warned by our editors to be careful, but there was no need to get spooked. I started to type.

If Amy Cahill had to list what was wrong with eleven-year-old brothers, their habit of disappearing would be . . .

Another noise. Definitely not leaves on the porch this time. Definitely . . . footsteps.
I got up and went to the front hallway. Slowly, something was being pushed under the frame of the door.

Judewatson I bent down and picked up a plain brown envelope.



No return address.

I flung open the door. The porch was empty. I stepped out. Nobody there. Nobody on the street, nobody walking away. Spooky.

I’d been instructed not to open any strange envelopes. I knew I had to be cautious. Who knew I was writing the next 39 Clues book? Only a few trusted people.

Or, at least, I thought I could trust them. Riordan, Korman — they were solid. But that Lerangis guy . . . I wasn’t so sure about him. Hey — don’t get me started on that episode in the Chinese restaurant. Nobody is that crazy about fortune cookies.

I reached for the letter. I thought about the old saying curiosity killed the cat.

But I wasn’t a cat person.

Slowly, I tore the seal. Inside was an airline ticket to Moscow. There, I was to change planes to travel to . . . Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

Sure, no problem. Just hang a left at Cleveland and keep going.

I ran back to the computer and googled. Kyrgyzstan was in Central Asia, smack in the middle of a bunch of high mountain ranges. Lovely meadows were perfect for hiking, and intrepid travelers could spend the night in a yurt. Horse trekking was popular. So was fermented mare’s milk. And a game involving a headless goat carcass — don’t ask.

I am not, and never have been, intrepid. I write about heroes. I don’t act like them.

Which Cahill branch could be operating in Kyrgyzstan? Who sent me the ticket? No way I was going on some mysterious journey to someplace halfway around the world I’d never heard of. I don’t know how to ride a horse. I’m not even sure what a yurt is. And I’m afraid to fly. No. Way.

Just then a slip of paper fluttered out from the envelope. I watched it spiral down and land on my shoe.

Hesitate, and all is loss

Follow them to the slanted cross

I took a gulp of my cold tea. But just in case . . . where was my passport, anyway?

— Jude Watson, Author of The 39 Clues Book 4: Beyond the Grave

  1. Samantha

    I read the 39 clues books too.I just finishedyour book “In too Deep”.Now me & 2 qf my friends are doing an author study. Guess who we picked? YOU…
    I gotten 3 of my friends to read the 39 clues books. They love them!!!!!!

  2. Retro Jordan

    Luckily to enter your blog and read your article. I have lots of feeling after sharing your blog. This blog makes me realize the energy of words and pictures. I look forward to more.
    by Retro Jordan

  3. who do you think I am?

    The Cahills RULE!!!!!!!
    TOGETHER WE CAN REACH OUR GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. the thomas fashonista

    that message seems really cool but something weird is going on here
    PS…Ive spoted the madrigals in Scotland!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    THOMAS RULES!!!!!!!!!
    (i hope dan an amy are thomas)!
    And peace out my possy thomas friends.

  5. cobrafighting

    like your books please tell me what branch amy and dan are in before book 7 comes out
    p.s.i would love it if u keep writing

  6. betrayer

    remember,dan led the kabras to kyrgystan as a trick. moskow is a lucian stronghold…
    is kyrgystan a(gulp)madrigal stronghold?
    -the betrayer
    p.s.what on earth is the slanted cross?!
    pps. i wish those cobra-kabras were not in my branch!

  7. _luciancahill39_

    what did you do next? if I were you, I’ll follow the instructions. and maybe the Madrigals sent it to you or the Lucians because Moscow, Russia is a Lucian Stronghold

  8. eliw

    The 39 clues are getting more exiting by the minute! But something strange is happening… I am seeing a lot of M’s everywhere.. I better contact my fellow Ekaterina about this…

  9. Aly

    Hey, that is pretty cool. I love the 39 clues. the bad thing is that the 5th book comes out while I’m away. Maybe I can pre-order it to my hotel!

  10. BlueNurse

    It’s nice that the author’s are sharing their experiences with their reader’s.. It makes the hunt for 39 clues more fun.. but isn’t this a misleading clue for the 5th book…
    Just being cautios…

  11. _Lucian_

    Hesitate, and all is loss
    Follow them to the slanted cross. Cool! Still thinking about that saying though. =) Could take a little bit unless I get a hint from my fellow Lucians.

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