Author of Alex Rider, Foyle's War, Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, TV and film writer, occasional journalist.



Thu, May 15, 2008

I visited HHQ today and I was asked to write something for the website as I haven’t posted for a while. Actually, “asked” is the wrong word. Strong-armed, intimidated, bullied even. I’m going to have to avoid this place.

And what have I got to offer today? I’ve just emerged from a dark room for the first time in weeks which means that I haven’t seen anyone or done anything. But, on the other hand, I have a new book!

Weighing in at 108,000 words (the longest yet but still not quite Harry Potter standards, you’ll be glad to hear) NECROPOLIS is volume four in the Power of Five and although my two editors haven’t got their hands on it yet, I think this series is going from strength to strength.

I’ve probably told you this already but the book is in three parts, the first narrated by Scarlett, the second by Matt. The last part – the shortest – is told by me. It’s a very dark book, quite gruesome in places (until the editors have had their say) and very different to anything I’ve ever done. My visit to Hong Kong was really inspiring and the city comes over more horrible than you would believe – which is a bit unfair as I actually quite enjoyed being there.

The editors are getting it on Wednesday. I’m then fleeing to Suffolk where I plan to hide out for the rest of May. Limpy (the dog) will be with me. Do say hello if you happen to see me around Orford!

Three other things to mention about this month.

I had a great tour of Scotland and the North of England. This was my “sorry, I’m not visiting prep schools” tour and I found myself in some unusual places, starting with a really great crowd at Everton Football Ground (I know…I don’t support them either). I met a bunch of youth offenders there…at least, I think that’s what they were. They all seemed bright and pleasant to me. I couldn’t help but wonder how they’d got into trouble. I suppose it can happen to anyone.

I was also at Howdenhall Secure Unit in Edinburgh where I met some “looked after children” which is what you’re supposed to call them but again, we had a good time together, interesting questions…all in all the place was a lot nicer than my own prep school – no beatings or cold showers for a start.

And a quick hello to Roycroft Unit in Newscastle. Not somewhere I’d want to spend too much time in myself to be honest but I hope you’re still going to your book group and maybe even reading some of those books I left behind.

Moving on…

I had another birthday. Anyone who has read Granny knows my feelings about old age. The only good thing was getting an iPhone from my dear wife as a present. This is the most fantastic device. Well, I’m not going to do advertising for Steve Jobs just both my sons are massively jealous so it’s done the trick.

And I went to Paris for the day. Also celebrating (if that’s the word) twenty years of being married. We had dinner half-way up the Eiffel Tower which was amazing…until the bill came, when I was tempted to throw myself off.

Things to look out for…

THE ALEX RIDER MISSION FILES. I saw the roughs of Walker’s latest extravaganza last week and it looks pretty good. I wrote quite a lot of it myself and if you never read it (in the Daily Mail) you’ll find an early chapter in the life of AR.

HORROR STORIES. They’ve been put on hold. I have too many books at the moment and don’t want to look like I’m just churning them out. They’ll probably come out next year.

MORE FOYLE’S WAR. Just thought I’d mention it. Due to the stupidity of the men in suits, they cancelled my detective series, then changed their minds. I’m now working on a new series, set in the month after the war. This may be of interest to your parents and/or grandparents.

YASSEN. That’s not the title – I’m still working on it. But I hope to head off to Russia later this year to research Alex 8.

NECROPOLIS. Out October.

No more tours for a while, thank goodness. And now a quick escape from HHQ.

Anthony Horowitz