Q&A With Anthony Horowitz

Q&A With Anthony Horowitz

When you wrote Stormbreaker did you visit Cornwall for inspiration, and can you surf?

I visit all the locations for my books – including Moscow for Russian Roulette. And, yes, I did go to Cornwall – although sadly I cannot surf. I got a surfing expert to provide all the technical details and imagined the rest.

What inspired you to start writing?

Well, I wasn’t much good at anything else. I knew when I was very young that I loved reading books and telling stories. I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was about eight.

When you wrote about Alex Rider's arch-nemesis Yassen Gregorovich in the series, did you always plan to give him his own book?

I came up with the idea about the same time as I was writing Scorpia. Yassen always struck me as an interesting character and I’ve always wanted to write a book about someone who is basically bad.

Because the back stories of Yassen and Alex Rider are so similar, is it possible that the two could have swapped each other’s lives?

That’s the whole point, really. Yassen and Alex start in very similar places but then make choices that take them in opposite directions. I think that’s what’s so interesting about the book. As Yassen says (at one point), they’re reflections of each other.

Is Alex based on someone you know?

Alex is partly based on the son of a friend of mine. But he was also inspired to a certain extent by James Bond. Wouldn’t it be great if Bond was a teenager? That was the thought that inspired the series.

Is Russian Roulette the last book in the series?

I’m talking to Walker (my publishers) about a collection of short stories. This will contain some of the Alex Rider pieces I have already published and a novella about Alex in Iraq. I also want to write about the spymaster Mrs Jones and explain how she lost her kids.

Why is Alex never allowed a gun?

That was partly due to my publishers who didn’t want the books to be too violent. But in the end I thought it was a good idea. When you read about kids with guns in the newspapers, the stories are always unpleasant ones. Alex is better off using his wits.

When you first wrote Stormbreaker, how many more Alex Rider books did you think you were going to write?

When I wrote Stormbreaker I thought there might be two or three books in the series. I’m quite surprised to have reached number ten.

Some of the scenes in Russian Roulette are quite hard-hitting. Why did you want us to like Yassen and be on his side?

Yes – there are some tough scenes in the book. I do want you to like Yassen. But more to the point, I want you to understand him. In a way, it’s not his fault that he becomes an assassin. Do people ever choose to become bad?

You write lots of different types of books but which is your favourite genre to write?

I think adventure/thriller writing is probably my favourite genre – both for teens and for adults. I love any book that keeps you turning the pages.

Do you read teenage fiction and if so who?

To be honest, I don’t read a lot of teenage fiction. I just don’t have the time. But I try to keep up with the work of Patrick Ness and Meg Rosoff and if something is a huge bestseller I’ll probably take a quick look and try and work out why.

 

More:

Meg Rosoff interviews Anthony Horowitz about The Power of Five

Horowitz on Holmes

Russian Roulette by Anthony Horowitz is out on 12th September, published by Walker Books.