A Chat with Anthony Horowitz

TIME For Kids caught up with the author of the popular Alex Rider series, in New York City

Apr 01, 2011 | By TFK Kid Reporter Sahil Abbi

Teen spy Alex Rider is back! Scorpia Rising, the final book in author Anthony Horowitz's bestselling Alex Rider series, hit bookstores last week. In the story, the teen spy takes on his most dangerous mission ever. Alex and his caretaker, Jack Starbright, are whisked off to Cairo, Egypt, where Alex poses as a high school student. His goal: take down the terrorist organization, Scorpia, that murdered his parents. Will Alex succeed? You've got to read the book to find out. TFK Kid Reporter Sahil Abbi met with Horowitz to discuss this thrilling series.

TFK Kid Reporter Sahil Abbi (left) chats with author Anthony Horowitz at a bookstore in New York City
COURTESY ABBI FAMILY
TFK Kid Reporter Sahil Abbi (left) chats with author Anthony Horowitz at a bookstore in New York City

TIME For Kids:

Where did you get the idea for the Alex Rider series?

ANTHONY HOROWITZ:

I got the idea from James Bond movies that I watched when I was about 11. [James Bond is a fictional British spy.] I decided James Bond was getting too old. I just thought, wouldn't it be great if there were a teenage spy? That was the beginning of the idea.

TFK:

As a teenager, would you say that you were as adventurous as Alex Rider?

HOROWITZ:

In my imagination, I was very adventurous. I used to go on amazing adventures in my head. But I wasn't that adventurous really because I was stuck in a boarding school and I had the sort of parents who never really let me get in trouble. Ever. So it was all in my imagination.

TFK:

How do you come up with the high-tech spy gear that Alex uses?

HOROWITZ:

I searched the Internet and read a lot of magazines and books. I spoke to people who know about these things as well. I also visited factories that make this sort of machinery. I've been to one of the biggest gun suppliers in the whole of England. It's a police unit that confiscates guns and holds them there. They showed me all of the different weapons. I do a lot of research to make sure that everything I write is accurate.

TFK:

Do news stories inspire your novels?

HOROWITZ:

All of the Alex Rider stories are inspired by true stories from newspapers. Ark Angel, which is about a space station that is orbiting the Earth, came out of a British businessman's idea to put a hotel in outer space. That was the inspiration for the story. The rest of it, I made up.

TFK:

Which book of the series is your favorite?

HOROWITZ:

I think in some ways Scorpia Rising, the new one, is the best. My favorite is probably Stormbreaker, the first one. You know why? It's not the best Alex Rider novel, but it's the one that started the whole thing going. It's the one that introduced me to Alex. It's the book that changed my life because it sold so many copies.

TFK:

Which character in the series is your favorite?

HOROWITZ:

I suppose that would have to be Alex because he is the hero. If I had to choose a character other than Alex, it would probably be one of the villains. I like Yassen Gregorovitch. He's so interesting. I'm going to write a book about him one day.

TFK:

Ideally, would you have all of the books turned into movies?

HOROWITZ:

The first movie was only a partial success. It wasn't quite how I wanted it. I'd like to see the rest of the books made into movies, but this time we would get it right. There are still people interested, so it might happen, you never know.

TFK:

Now that you're done writing the Alex Rider books, are you planning to write something else?

HOROWITZ:

I'm writing a Sherlock Holmes novel. It's coming out at the end of the year. I'm also going to finish my Power of Five series. I've got my book about Yassen Gregorovitch to write as well. I might write one more Tim Diamond book. That's a lot of writing to do.

TFK:

As a child, what were your favorite books to read?

HOROWITZ:

I wasn't a very serious reader when I was young. It took me a while to get into books. The first books I liked were comic books like Tintin. I used to read a series of books by a guy named Willard Price. He wrote adventure stories that are still in print, I think, right now.

TFK:

What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

HOROWITZ:

There is only one difference between a successful writer and an unsuccessful writer. The unsuccessful writer quits. So believe in yourself, enjoy what you're doing and keep going.