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Anthony Horowitz - live webchat Tuesday 10th November, 12 - 1pm

(126 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 05-Nov-09 11:14:10

International best-selling children's author Anthony Horowitz is joining us for a live webchat on Tuesday 10th November between 12 and 1pm. Crocodile Tears, the eighth book in the Alex Rider series will be published in November, and 'Collision', Anthony's new 5-part drama series is soon to hit the screens on ITV1. If you have a question for Anthony, or you have a fervent AH fan at home, post your advance questions on this thread or join us next Tuesday.

Hello Anthony,

I thought, given my mumsnet nickname, I should be your first poster!

So, on behalf of my Alex Rider crazy ds - what happened to the plans to film Point Blanc?

stuffitllllama Thu 05-Nov-09 15:29:51

I wish it was the weekend.. my children would love this!

nickelbang Thu 05-Nov-09 15:32:03

Dear Mr Horowitz,

when are you next doing a UK tour?
because I have a (fairly new) independent children's bookshop and would dearly love to have you visit us...
(shameless begging, sorry!) grin

Mallenstreak Thu 05-Nov-09 16:12:33

Hi Anthony. My son,Jago,used to not like reading very much. However,since September he has read ALL of the Alex Rider books and can't wait for the new one! He reads over an hour every day and really enjoys the adventures.(smile) Would I be able to order a signed copy of the new book anywhere? Thanks.

HeSaysSheSays Thu 05-Nov-09 16:17:37

Arghhh, I thought it was considered rude to write in red? grin

<wonders if grin will be red too>

RTKangaMummy Thu 05-Nov-09 16:49:30

oooooooooooh deffo brill

KangaBoy loves Anthony Horowitz ~ I will ask him for his question and get back to you

DEFFO BRILL ~ Thanks Mumsnet


Deadworm Thu 05-Nov-09 16:52:53

Hullo Anthony,

Both my sons have enjoyed reading lots and lots of your books, so thank you!

DS2 would like very much to know when the next Power of Five book will be available.

We saw your promotional video for Crocodile Tears (in your fabulous flat) and thought you looked a little nervous. Do you enjoy or dislike all the promo work that comes with being a novelist and takes you out of your secret study.

pointydogg Thu 05-Nov-09 17:01:09

Anthony, do you now enjoy the fact you had such an interesting but pretty unpleasant childhood? Do you think it provided a lot of your motivation and ideas for writing or would you have ended up a writer regardless?

mollyroger Thu 05-Nov-09 17:08:46

oooh! Why is the typing all red on this thread? Gore-tastic!

HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 05-Nov-09 17:16:54

Hello Anthony.

My Ds2 who is 10 would like to ask you what books you liked to read when you were 10?

Were there any good boys' books then or did you have to read boring girly stuff like Heidi?

<motherly, Heidi-loving shock>

pointydogg Thu 05-Nov-09 17:17:11

It's not red to me.

Although I have gone all modern and no longer have the classic option.

Is it another attempt to wean people off classic?

Doobydoo Thu 05-Nov-09 20:27:37

Hello Anthony.My son would like to know if/when there will be a 5th Power of Five book?
Jackstarbright...my son reckons there may not be a Point Blanc film as,apparently,Stormbreaker was a great hit in the UK but not in the USA.

HeSaysSheSays Thu 05-Nov-09 21:51:14

It is still all red to me - including the text next to the add a message box.

It would have been great for a hallowe'en special!

Katisha Thu 05-Nov-09 22:42:40

There's going to be a new Alex Rider book???DS will be really happy!
Any chance of a signed copy - he has read and re-read all the others since he had them for Christmas last year.
And will there be any more films?

Rhubarb Fri 06-Nov-09 11:58:57

Never heard of him.

Why is everything red?

Inghouls2 Fri 06-Nov-09 12:07:04

ooo how fantastic! DS1 will be thrilled.
What a shame it's not on a weekend though.
ok...my question is
Despite being an avid reader, ds1 (10), like many boys, doesn't particularly enjoy writing fiction.
When your boys were young, did they follow in your footsteps and enjoy literacy?
If not, did you get involved in their literacy homework?
Do you have any tips on how I can encourage my son to write imaginatively and interestingly without the accompanying moaning, groaning and sneaking off to play football?
I'm sure I'll be back later with a question from DS...

Kerrymumbles Fri 06-Nov-09 12:43:58

OMFG. ds1 will go nuts....


DaisymooSteiner Fri 06-Nov-09 16:27:01

When is the next series of Foyle's War going to be shown? blush

mollyroger Fri 06-Nov-09 19:41:14

rhub, if you're on MN classic, it is showing in red because tech has forgotton to turn off a colour code or something erm, technical...

mollyroger Fri 06-Nov-09 19:46:34

Anthony, how do you think the modern James Bond films compare with the older, more 'classic' ones...
For example, my son, who is 12 adores James Bond films, but it seems to me, the more recent filsm have lost their 'innocence'. Which is your favourite and why?

roisin Sat 07-Nov-09 08:48:06

Hi Anthony! I too have two avid Horowitz readers at home. We saw you at the Hay Festival this year and were all exhausted by your energy and enthusiasm. You said at least 4 times as many words as any other speaker at the Festival grin

I work in a secondary school in a variety of roles, including literacy intervention with disenchanted 12-14 yr-olds and am continually looking for ways to encourage and motivate them. I would like to get hold of a small amount of genuine television/film pre-prep material - scripts/screen plays and storyboards. Do you think I have any chance of doing so? Would my best bet to write directly to the director of a particular series/programme? Or do you have any other advice that would help me succeed with this?

Thank you!

StewieGriffinsMom Sat 07-Nov-09 09:13:51

I also think this should be on the weekend since i can't be here on Tuesday!

My question: your books are invariably promoted only for boys to the point where someone at a major high street retailer suggested it wasn't 'acceptable' reading for her. I think we do a great disservice to all children by genderising books but specifically girls who seem to get dumped with crap about fluffy fairies and lovely ponies whilst boys get the real adventure books.

Has the gendered promotion of your books been a problem? Do you write for specific gendered audiences?

Louise2004 Sun 08-Nov-09 08:37:00

Questions from my son (a big fan!):

How did you think of the character Alex Rider? Are you going to make a new movie? How can I get an autographed copy of your new book?

Thank you.

Louise2004 Sun 08-Nov-09 09:20:24

Another couple:

Is there going to be a new Diamond Brothers book? Are any of the characters in your books based on real people you know? Is there anywhere in South Africa you would recommend me to visit (we're going there on holiday next year)?

Thank you.

PeachyInCarnivalFeathers Mon 09-Nov-09 17:11:54

From my 8 year old son:

What's the trick to getting a good title? I like yours very much, they are exciting.

DS2 has dyslexia and struggled to elarn to read, so cheers for getting him excited about books.

PercyPigPie Mon 09-Nov-09 18:25:10

Hi Anthony

My 8 yr old has two questions: could you please write a book about what Alex does in his spare time and when is his birthday?


anthonyhorowitz Mon 09-Nov-09 18:42:21


kizzie Mon 09-Nov-09 18:52:56

from 10 year old DS (he LOVES your books! - thank you for getting him so interested in reading fiction.)

Where do you do your writing and do you have to be in total peace and quiet or do you like listening to music when you are working?

Thanks - DS will rush home to read this tomorrow smile

playdoughfree Mon 09-Nov-09 19:43:41

Hi Anthony

My ds1 (11) would like to know which of your book characters is most like you?

pointydogg Mon 09-Nov-09 19:53:50

AGree with stewie re the pigeon-holing of children's books into boy camp, girl camp. Drives me nuts.

pointydogg Mon 09-Nov-09 20:00:35

Here's a question. Kids love the violent black humour of Edward Eliot (I-didn't-get-where-I-am-today-Dad), especially his grim public school day tales.

Did your own public school experiences influence how you approached your own children's education?

RTKangaMummy Mon 09-Nov-09 20:27:37






Kangaboy is going to write a question for me to ask on his behalf tomorrow while he is at school


PeachyInCarnivalFeathers Mon 09-Nov-09 22:34:52

I am asking a second question but it is for asecond child if that is OK? (still wroks out at 0.5 q'sper Peachy son LOL)

'Dear Anthony, I am nearly ten and want to write books when I grow up. I write lots and lots already at home about monsters and mythology, but what is your best tip for someone like me?'

Thank you

anthonyhorowitz Tue 10-Nov-09 09:56:55


RTKangaMummy Tue 10-Nov-09 11:46:04

Hello Anthony ~ I really enjoyed COLLISION last night ~ very interesting idea

I have a question from my son, Kangaboy who is a huge Alex Rider fan

In Alex Rider who/what is your favourite character/gadget also if you could have a gadget, what would it be and why?




anthonyhorowitz Tue 10-Nov-09 11:53:54

So here I am at the extremely impressive offices of Mumsnet in rain-swept Kentish Town (N. London). Quadruple height ceilings, very industrial, steel girders and grey carpets. Just been given tea and custard creams (not my favourite biscuits) and looking forward to the start of the chat...

RTKangaMummy Tue 10-Nov-09 11:57:30

Welcome to MN


anthonyhorowitz Tue 10-Nov-09 11:59:07

RT Kanga - so glad you enjoyed Collision and thanks for mentioning it. Answers for your son. My favourite character is Alex, of course - although I like Yassen too. My favourite gadget was the exploding bubble gum (Bubble 07) but for myself I might choose the mosquito cream (ask him - he'll know what I mean).

anthonyhorowitz Tue 10-Nov-09 12:03:40

Two answers for Peachy. Titles are tricky - and no mistake! Sometimes they come easily (Snakehead fell into place when I came across the name in a book about eastern gangs). But sometimes they can take ages. Crocodile Tears, for example, had about a dozen titles before I came up with the one on the cover and even now I worry that nobody knows what it means. I just look for powerful words that collide in a meaningful way. Ie Storm + Breaker. Or Skeleton + Key (which has several meanings).

To your second child (Happy 10th Birthday). My advice to you as a young writer is as follows. Read! The more you read, the better you'll write. Write! A little every now and then - don't stare at a blank page. Writing should be fun. Get out and have adventures. You need something to write about. And most important of all - believe in yourself. Never give up! Good luck...

anthonyhorowitz Tue 10-Nov-09 12:05:27

Kizzie - I can write anywhere, just about. My favourite place to write though is Orford in Suffolk where the views of the River Alde endlessly inspire me. Generally, I like to have noise around me, to feel connected to life. I do sometimes listen to music but it has to be the same music (Vivaldi or Chopin) which I play endlessly. I can't have words in my ears - so no songs.

anthonyhorowitz Tue 10-Nov-09 12:07:17

What an interesting question, M&M's 8-year-old has asked! Actually, Alex doesn't have a lot of spare time as he's always so busy saving the world. But left to himself he would play football, go on long bike rides and - of course - he would read! His birthday is meant to be February 13th (when my second son, Cass, was born). But when you read Crocodile Tears you may see that I've slightly mucked it up...

VinegarTits Tue 10-Nov-09 12:07:50

I would complain about the biscuits Anthony

anthonyhorowitz Tue 10-Nov-09 12:08:48

Jackstarbright? Is that really your name? Nice to start this session with a questioner who sounds so familiar!

Disappointing answer though as there are no immediate plans to make a film of Point Blanc. Stormbreaker did very well in Europe but for reasons that are beyond me, had no proper distribution in the USA – and the sad truth is that you can't make large scale films without American finance.

After Crocodile Tears comes out, we'll see, but frankly I'm not holding my breath.

anthonyhorowitz Tue 10-Nov-09 12:10:27

Edward Eliot was largely based on my father, Pointydogg! I'm not sure he'd have been amused. My children had a fairly different education to mine although I did send them to private schools. Not sure if I should feel guilty about this. They went to a nice day school in Hampstead until they were 13, then went to boarding school. But in their case - unlike mine - it was a choice that they made with me. I just woke up one day and found myself in the misery of Orley Farm and that was that. Also they enjoyed their school days, unlike me. Does this all sound a bit defensive? I think my boys are great so should have no regrets...

PeachyInCarnivalFeathers Tue 10-Nov-09 12:10:39

(Just to say thank you for your reply, they went off to school hopeful today and will be so chuffed; writing is everything to ds1 and he has aspergers so this will mean the world).

anthonyhorowitz Tue 10-Nov-09 12:11:24

Thanks, Vinegar! This is definitely the last time I do Mumsnet (unless they get Jaffa Cakes).

anthonyhorowitz Tue 10-Nov-09 12:13:02

Peachy -

Say hello to DS1 from me! Hope school was OK

anthonyhorowitz Tue 10-Nov-09 12:14:13

Playdoughfree - I'm afraid that none of the characters are really like me, apart from Tim Diamond, the dim detective in my Diamond brothers books. Sorry to disappoint your 11-year-old but I'm nothing like Alex Rider. Much older, for a start.

RTKangaMummy Tue 10-Nov-09 12:14:42

Thankyou for the reply ~ he will be so chuffed with your reply smile

I would like to ask a question from me but I don't want to take your time away from the other MNetters children so answer their questions first smile

I grew up just outside Hastings and I wondered what made you chose Hastings for Foyles War?

I also love something I saw about Midsomer Murders that when you couldn't think what to do next you killed someone grin ~ deffo the most dangerous place in the country to live


anthonyhorowitz Tue 10-Nov-09 12:15:13

I have eaten all the custard creams. No self control...

Hobnobfanatic Tue 10-Nov-09 12:15:17

Just wanted to say thank you for writing books that my book-phobic nephew will read. You've shown him that books can be of interest to 'cool' boys!

anthonyhorowitz Tue 10-Nov-09 12:18:25

Deadworm, again, I'm very happy that you have two sons who read my books, deadworm.

I'm intrigued that you thought I looked nervous in that video – you may be right. I hadn't really prepared for it and was having to make it all up as I went along. Not one of my greatest outings.

As to the other part of your question, I do sometimes wonder about the whole circus that now surrounds authors...the need to fill theatres and more or less perform stand-up comedy routines to keep children entertained for an hour.

Unfortunately, these days it goes with the territory – if you want to sell books, you have to get out there. I shouldn't complain though. I love meeting the children who read my books (there's nothing quite as addictive as a young person's enthusiasm) and I enjoy my occasional appearances on radio and TV.

anthonyhorowitz Tue 10-Nov-09 12:18:46

RTKanga - I chose Hastings for FW because it was as close to the front line as you could get while still being in England. Also, to be honest, we couldn't afford London (originally, the series was going to be called The Blitz Detective and it was going to be set there). It's true about Midsomer Murders, I'm afraid. Whenever I got to an ad break, I killed someone in a slightly desperate attempt to make sure the viewers would come back. Seven murders in one episode was my record.

cocolepew Tue 10-Nov-09 12:20:58

Well you live and learn! I didn't know you wrote Foyles War it was the best (British) programme of the last few years. I enjoyed Collision last night.

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 10-Nov-09 12:23:28

What books would you recommend for a girl who's basically read every book for her age group and is keen to move on to adult fiction.


Thanks for your reply (although ds will be disappointed). Stormbreaker was an excellent film. I liked the way you adapted the book. Point Blanc has the potential to be even better.

And yes 'jackstarbright' has been posting on Mumsnet for several months now!!!

We are looking forward to Crocodile Tears...


Deadworm Tue 10-Nov-09 12:25:17

Thanks v much for your reply Anthony. On second thoughts the video just looks crammed with enthusiasm for the book, rather than nervous.

My younger son will be cross with me if I don't press for details about when the next Power of Five book is coming out, Again, thanks for all these books. I love seeing my chiodren engrossed.

anthonyhorowitz Tue 10-Nov-09 12:25:32

I'm no expert here (I had two sons) but I do think it's tricky to find the "next step" - the missing link between children's books and adult fiction. My boys loved Robert Cormier, a writer I'd recommend to anyone - particularly the oddly-titled but shocking "I Am the Cheese". They also enjoyed Stephen King but your daughter might dislike the violence and you might dislike some of the bad language. How about classics like "To Kill a Mocking Bird" (which has a compelling story)? The Go-Between by LP Hartley is a fantastic book. Golding? How about even trying Jane Eyre or Pride and Prejudice or it that too much of an ask? The danger is that you can put young people off great literature by introducing them to the wrong books too early. Is this at all helpful?

anthonyhorowitz Tue 10-Nov-09 12:25:59

That last message was to Justine...

fruitshootsandheaves Tue 10-Nov-09 12:26:08

I don't think we've read any of your books. Which one would you recommend to start with and I will tie my children to a chair until they read it suggest it to my children (they are 8, 12, 14...oh and 16 but its best not to worry about her!)

personanongrata Tue 10-Nov-09 12:26:54

Hi Anthony, glad you're on Mumsnet (but they obviously need to get a decent biscuit selection in grin.

Can I ask, how do you fit it all in, the novels and TV writing?

RTKangaMummy Tue 10-Nov-09 12:27:36

Thank you for the answer ~ That is very interesting about FW and the location being close to France


I love Midsomer Murders ~ I like at the beginning wondering who or why someone will end up being killed before the end ~ it will be a shame when John Nettles retires. Will it still continue without him? I am a TV addict and I am a JN fan so I will really miss him.

anthonyhorowitz Tue 10-Nov-09 12:27:45

Jack. I agree. I would love to see Alex back on the screen but on the other hand, films do have a way of spoiling books and I quite like the fact that Alex lives on in the imagination. I'm sort of easy either way.

cocolepew Tue 10-Nov-09 12:28:27

Anthony, my Dd ( Jess) is 11yo and would like to be an author. She has just asked how did you start writing, did you start from a young age?

Thanks smile

antoxo Tue 10-Nov-09 12:29:35

What is your favourite part of writing a book?

anthonyhorowitz Tue 10-Nov-09 12:30:08

Dear Fruitshoots, What a great question. What a great family! For the 8 year old, it's got to be Granny, one of my earlier books - rude and funny in the style of Dahl. The 12 and 14 year old could surely discover Alex Rider, starting with Stormbreaker. Then there's my horror stories (two collections) or Raven's Gate and the Power of 5 series for the 16 year old and her parents. Sorry for all this self-promotion but you did ask!

PandaG Tue 10-Nov-09 12:30:25

What age group did you have in mind when you started to write the Alex Rider series?

My DS is nearly 10, has not yet read and of the series but is likely to read them soon. I've read a couple, and will want to read ahead of him just so I know what themes are coming up so we can discuss them. (and because I enjoyed Stormbreaker and read it in one evening

playdoughfree Tue 10-Nov-09 12:30:31

Thanks for your reply, Anthony.

I just texted it to my son and he replied: "well if he's not like any of his heroes, is he like one of his villains - maybe the one with the world tattoed on his head?"

Hope you're not...

Deadworm Tue 10-Nov-09 12:32:30

Ooh -- what are your horror stories called? My 14-y-o is reading Stephen King and although I'm ok with that, the stories are a bit uncomfortable for a youngster.

anthonyhorowitz Tue 10-Nov-09 12:32:39

Doobydoo and Deadworm - you've both asked about the Po5 series. So here is a Mumsnet exclusive - the first sentence of the last book!

The line of Cadillacs cut through the very heart of the city, stretching the entire length of its main avenue.

The bad news is that so far it's the only line in the new book as I haven't really got into it yet. So in answer to your question, I think it's probably a couple of years away. My next book is a collection of horror stories, coming out in 2010.

fruitshootsandheaves Tue 10-Nov-09 12:33:35

thanks for your reply. I shall put those books mentioned on their christmas lists!

playdoughfree Tue 10-Nov-09 12:33:52

Power of Five, Deadworm - v v good but first one in the series scared me to death! <pathetic>

anthonyhorowitz Tue 10-Nov-09 12:35:10

cocolepew...I started writing when I was 8 years old and in all honesty I knew then that there was nothing else for me. How did I start? I simply picked up a pen and and an old ledger and began scribbling stories, plays, poems...whatever. I remember asking my parents for a typewriter for my tenth birthday. It's odd because there were no other writers in my family and my father was always trying to persuade me to "go into business" like him. It was an impulse from the very start and still is today. I'm only happy when I'm writing.

anthonyhorowitz Tue 10-Nov-09 12:37:18

Antoxo - I love every aspect of writing from thinking up the ideas (often while walking my chocolate Labrador in Suffolk) to planning and structuring, to research and so on. Perhaps most of all I love the act of writing, the scratch of the nib on the paper - I use a computer only for the second draft - and the sight of the pages mounting up. I never have writer's block. I can't wait to get back to my desk and start work. Except it isn't work. It's a total passion...how else could I survive 35 years as a writer?

anthonyhorowitz Tue 10-Nov-09 12:39:35

PandaG, I suppose the age range for Alex was vaguely 8 years and up but in truth I don't think too much about my audience. A lot of it is instinctive although occasionally my publishers and I will tussle over levels of violence and things like that. I'm glad you read the books too as I always have parents in mind and feel that I'm writing for them too. I loved reading with my sons (rather than before them) and still believe that it's the best way to get on a level playing field with your children. They won't be so keen to share their computer games with you in later life!

cocolepew Tue 10-Nov-09 12:39:43

Thanks for replying. To quote DD "Awwww that's so nice".

GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 10-Nov-09 12:41:10

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 10-Nov-09 12:41:20

Hello, Anthony - any chance you could answer my question (right near the beginning of the thread)?

My son will never forgive me otherwise...

<opens new pack of custard creams>

anthonyhorowitz Tue 10-Nov-09 12:41:33

personanongrata - I guess I have no life at all outside writing. No. That's not true. How do I fit it all in? It's a very long day when you're on your own all the time and you'd be surprised how much I can get through in ten or eleven hours (before my wife gets home and I have someone to talk to). Again - see earlier answers - I love what I do so it's easy to lose myself completely in my work in all its different forms.

anthonyhorowitz Tue 10-Nov-09 12:42:50

Helen - I'm so sorry. I have answered your question but it's got swallowed up in this office somewhere. The answer should arrive at any moment!

anthonyhorowitz Tue 10-Nov-09 12:43:38

Pointydogg, I have to be careful when I talk about my unpleasant childhood. After all, I had wealthy parents, a stable family life, a solid education. So what's to complain about?

Well, Orley Farm in Harrow-on-the-Hill, mainly, one of those vile 1960s prep schools that seemed determined to destroy – emotionally and psychologically – as many of its alumni as it could!

I definitely had an odd childhood and I think it did steer me unerringly to my present career. I knew, aged eight, that I would be a writer, partly because it was the only thing I was only good at but also because, even at this very early age, I was seeking refuge and escape in stories. The library was my lifeline.

I can still remember everything about it, from the colour of the wooden panels to the lay-out of the shelves. It was the only place in the school where I felt alive.


I agree that the one of the joys of reading is you get to 'contribute your own visuals' as it were. Despite watching Alex P in the role on film, my son tells me that he 'sees' a different Alex R when he reads the books.


anthonyhorowitz Tue 10-Nov-09 12:44:48

Helen, found it! You ask me what books I was reading aged ten. Well, not being terribly bright, I actually began with Tintin. I loved the world of the books, the bizarre characters, the mix of humour and adventure. Also, there weren't too many words!

The first books I enjoyed were the Willard Price series – Elephant Adventure, Crocodile Adventure etc. They're still in print and although some may disagree with the premise (two boys travelling the world to capture animals for their dad's zoo), I'd recommend them. They're full of natural history and there are moments of peril and daring escapes that would even make Alex Rider gasp. Crocodile Tears was certainly inspired by Price – as was Chronicles of Ancient Darkness, the excellent series by Michelle Paver. I also read Valiant and Hotspur!

anthonyhorowitz Tue 10-Nov-09 12:45:14

Thanks for asking, Deadworm. I asked my 16-year-old son, Cass, for a title for a collection of horror stories that was both scary and funny. He thought for about 30 seconds and then came up with "More Bloody Horowitz" so that's what it's called. I agree with you about Stephen King, by the way. I do think some of his books are good for younger readers (try The Dead Zone) but others can be too unpleasant and intense. My horror stories, of course, are perfectly judged!

fruitshootsandheaves Tue 10-Nov-09 12:46:15

I am such a bad mother because I have no idea what my children are reading! After saying we haven't read any of your books, I have just found the whole series of Alex rider books on DS's book shelf blush
For my penance I shall read them all tonight.

antoxo Tue 10-Nov-09 12:46:53

Thanks for your response - am v jealous of the walks with your chocolate lab. What are your thoughts other children's authors - thinking of Charlie Higson, Michael Morpurgo and Jacqueline Wilson and which others do you rate?

anthonyhorowitz Tue 10-Nov-09 12:46:54

Playdough - you have a very amusing son. I probably am more more like the villains than the heroes in some ways...I do enjoy creating them. But definitely not Kasper with all the tattooes. Maybe General Sarov (Skeleton Key)? I always have to remind myself that Alex is 14 and I'm 54 - so we can't really be compared. The bad guys, of course, are closer to my age...

personanongrata Tue 10-Nov-09 12:48:13

Thanks for your answer, and sorry if you've already covered this in other answers (am keeping half an eye on webchat while meant to be working!).

Do you switch between writing projects during your day, then, or just work on one thing at a time?

HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 10-Nov-09 12:48:36

Oh, yes to Willard Price - much loved in our house, though we tend to skip over the bits about 'uncouth natives' rather quickly...

anthonyhorowitz Tue 10-Nov-09 12:49:08

fruitshoots...your message is doubly insulting. grin First, nobody could describe reading the Alex Rider books as a "penance". They should be a pleasure! But secondly, shouldn't you be watching part two of Collision tonight? Don't tell me you missed part one!!!

Deadworm Tue 10-Nov-09 12:49:20

Thank you very much. "More Bloody Horowitz" is great title. Will get it.

It is really lovely to hear your passion for writing and stories in all your comments here. And I'm glad you don't think much about the ages of your readers: I don't like the suggested age-banding schemes for children's books.

anthonyhorowitz Tue 10-Nov-09 12:51:09

antoxo...alas, Lucky is now almost 12 and not much longer for this world (though still fit and spritely). Other authors? There are so many good ones around! Michelle Paver is excellent. I really liked Patrick Ness's first book though it is perhaps a touch too violent. Darren Shan is always good for a laugh. Lots of bloodshed. Morpurgo is at his peak...

cocolepew Tue 10-Nov-09 12:51:43

I've just had a quick read of your bio, I didn't know about your childhood. DD isn't having a great time of it at the moment and she is heartened that someone she 'knows' has been unhappy and now is doing what she would love to.

anthonyhorowitz Tue 10-Nov-09 12:52:19

Helen - too true. Willard Price (like my other hero, Herge, did live in less enlightened times). But I think these old-fashioned attitudes are still worth exploring in some ways...

fruitshootsandheaves Tue 10-Nov-09 12:52:22

errr well....blush Am starting iplayer now grin will watch collision and read Alex Rider at the same time!

kittykitty Tue 10-Nov-09 12:52:37

Have you ever gone into a bookshop and tactically rearranged the books so yours are all at the front?

anthonyhorowitz Tue 10-Nov-09 12:53:36

Louise 2004: Yes, Louise – there will be one last Diamond Brothers book and thank you for asking as I really like Nick Diamond and think he's occasionally overlooked – thanks to Alex. It will be called RADIUS OF THE LOST SHARK and will be set in Australia.

I'm in Sydney next year and will be starting the research. As to South Africa, Cape Town is amazing of course and you must do the drive along the coast to Port Elizabeth...it's beautiful. Allow two or three days. Stopped at a hotel along the way with a sign that read: BEWARE OF THE HIPPOPATAMI. We thought it was just a joke to amuse the tourists but about a dozen of them crossed the lawn that night. It's quite a famous place so you should be able to find it.

I loved the Cape of Good Hope so much that I took off all my clothes and dived into the freezing water in a moment of madness/elation. And if you don't mind spending a small fortune, a safari is unforgettable. Finally, avoid Sun City!

anthonyhorowitz Tue 10-Nov-09 12:53:57

persona...I have a strict rule. Only one project a day, I never switch, for example, between Alex and Foyle. They inhabit such different worlds!

thedollyridesout Tue 10-Nov-09 12:55:07

Anthony, my daughter is 8 and wants to be an author smile. What advice do you have for her?

RTKangaMummy Tue 10-Nov-09 12:55:13

Fruitshoots COLLISION is really interesting idea for a TV programme ~ you should deffo watch it smile

anthonyhorowitz Tue 10-Nov-09 12:55:55

kittykitty. Every writer in the world has rearranged his or her own books so I'm guilty as charged. Worse than that, I used to send my children into bookshops when they were tiny - they used to hate it, crossing the road whenever they saw a bookshop looming up! I can't do it any more. I once got caught by the manager at Waterstones, Bath - she recognised me - and I was so embarrassed I almost died.

anthonyhorowitz Tue 10-Nov-09 12:57:06

Mallenstreak, Another odd name. What is this with Mumsnet? Mallenstreak, I'm delighted that Jago is enjoying my books.

Crocodile Tears is out next week and you can get signed copies if you're near Edinburgh, Birmingham (Dudley) or London – which is where I live. That's probably not very helpful, I'm afraid.

cocolepew Tue 10-Nov-09 12:57:38

Collsion has an amazing cast. Did you vote for Craig on Strictly Come Dancing? grin

anthonyhorowitz Tue 10-Nov-09 12:57:42

Deadworm. Totally with you on age banding. My main objection is that I sometimes work with young offenders, aged 18 and up, who read my books. A cover with an age band will only embarrass and discourage them. Leave well alone. Parents and children are smart enough to work out the age range for themselves...

RTKangaMummy Tue 10-Nov-09 12:58:52

perhaps some of the mumsnet names will end up in a AH book one day grin

anthonyhorowitz Tue 10-Nov-09 12:59:03

thedollyridesout. See earlier answer. 1) Read 2) Write - a little every now and then. 3) Have adventures so you have something to write about. Break a few laws...but don't get caught. 4) Believe in yourself. 5) Never give up.

anthonyhorowitz Tue 10-Nov-09 12:59:43

Nickelbang, My next UK tour starts on Thursday (can't help wondering about that name).

I'm in Edinburgh, Birmingham, London and Dublin. Also spending two weeks in the USA. You don't say where your bookshop is but if you let me know – contact Walker Books – I'll try to look in if I'm ever in your area.

Without wishing to sound ingratiating, I do have huge respect for independent bookshops because they play such a vital part, in particular, in children's literature. They know their audience and know what to recommend. And with the disastrous price slashing that goes on in the main chains and supermarkets, they need all the support they can get. I try to visit as many as possible. So if I'm anywhere near, let me know!

How can you get a signed copy if you do live near London?

Ingles2 Tue 10-Nov-09 12:59:57

hello hello am I too late?
did Anthony answer my question?

Ingles2 Tue 10-Nov-09 13:00:56

Despite being an avid reader, ds1 (10), like many boys, doesn't particularly enjoy writing fiction.
When your boys were young, did they follow in your footsteps and enjoy literacy?
If not, did you get involved in their literacy homework?
Do you have any tips on how I can encourage my son to write imaginatively and interestingly without the accompanying moaning, groaning and sneaking off to play football?
sorry copied and pasted...

anthonyhorowitz Tue 10-Nov-09 13:01:11

Goodbye everyone. That's me off now. Hope these answers were OK. Mumsnet have a few more up their sleeve which they'll post when I'm gone. Do please keep watching Collision (ITV needs you). All the best,

Anthony Horowitz

Louise2004 Tue 10-Nov-09 13:01:36

I just rushed in from work to catch the end of this - my son says "thanks for answering and I look forward to avoiding any hippos and buying your next Diamond Brothers book!" - thank you.

RTKangaMummy Tue 10-Nov-09 13:01:59

Thank you Anthony for a really deffo brill webchat ~ it has been great fun


fruitshootsandheaves Tue 10-Nov-09 13:03:37

Thank you Anthony
(I am watching Collision right now grin)

GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 10-Nov-09 13:13:44

Anthony, thanks very much for coming in. We'll get Jaffa Cakes in next time, honest blush

As promised, here are some more answers from Anthony:

Inghouls 2: Can I say first, Inghouls, that in a way I'm quite glad this conversation is aimed at parents rather than children. I talk to children all the time but think it's important to engage adults in the conversation too. From my experience, if parents aren't interested in books, it's unlikely their sons/daughters will be. As to your question, I'm not 100% sure it is possible to encourage your son to write and as someone who was very rotund and unfit at the age of ten (and onward) I would be more inclined to encourage his football playing! Sorry if I'm sounding like an agony uncle here. How to write more imaginatively? Read. When I read books that I love – Dickens, Stephen King, Stiegg Larsson, whatever – I find myself inspired to write well. It's sort of infectious. And if you really want one other piece of advice, I'd say make sure he writes about what he enjoys (football perhaps). I don't think it's possible to write well if you're not enjoying it.

Daisymoo: Thank you for asking about Foyle's War, Daisymoo. FW will be back on the screens next year with three episodes – of which I wrote two. The Russian House tells the terrible story of what happened to the Russian PoWs who were repatriated at the end of the war. The Hide is based on a bizarre unit called the British Free Corps – British PoWs who were persuaded to fight for the Nazis. The stories take place between VE day and VJ day when the war was still, technically, continuing. Contrary to rumours, the new series is not called Foyle's Peace!

Mollyroger: very happy to engage with you about all things JB. Of course I prefer the Sean Connery Bond films...they were the ones I grew up with and nobody bettered Connery in the part. I did like Roger Moore at the time but looking back, I do cringe at some of the "jokes" and the central performance. The later Bond films struck me as increasingly unsatisfying...the stories just didn't make any sense and things like John Cleese's ill-considered appearance as Q, made me want to hide behind the seat. I did like the first Daniel Craig film but, like you, thought it didn't really work as a Bond film. Yes, it had lost its innocence, its joie de vivre. I was also surprised that they were allowed to show a female agent drowning in front of our eyes. This was unpleasant and - given how many ten-year-olds there were in the audience when I went to the film – completely inappropriate. Even so, Casino Royale had lots of good things in it. Then came the second Craig film, Quantum, for me the worst Bond film ever made, a feeble rip-off of the Bourne series, directed in a way that was more inclined to induce nausea than thrills. Glad I got that off my chest!

Roisin: I hope you enjoyed H-on-W as much as I did. I think it's my favourite festival, particularly if the sun is shining. I'm not sure how you can get scripts and pre-production notes as I don't think they're in the shops (although I did notice recently that there is a new series of books analysing popular TV shows). I'll be happy to send you a script or two if you write to me via my assistant, Olivia Zampi, at Greenlit Productions, 14-15 D'Arblay Street, London W1F 8DZ. We don't really do storyboards, by the way. We can't afford them!

StewieGriffithsMum: Dear SGM, please could you tell your high street retailer from me that he or she is an idiot! Anyone who discourages a child from reading anything is clearly heading in the opposite direction to the rest of the world and for what it's worth the Alex Rider books have a huge female following. I'd say that around half of my emails and fan letters come from girls. I noticed that in her conversation with Mumsnet, Jacqueline Wilson mentioned that she has boy readers too and that's exactly how it should be. Of course there is a certain amount of sexual stereotyping in children's literature. Don't expect to see an Alex Rider novel with a pink cover any time soon. But I've always been slightly suspicious of the boy/girl debate (why is it always boys who supposedly don't read – why is it only boys that we seem to worry about?) and I'm even more suspicious of your retailer. Give me his or her address and I'm heading round with a brick...

cocolepew Tue 10-Nov-09 13:20:21

Ohhhh more Foyle! Yipppe.
That was a great chat.

mollyroger Tue 10-Nov-09 14:58:48

oh thank you for replying ds will be so pleased (as I am!)

PercyPigPie Tue 10-Nov-09 17:14:28

Anthony on the off-chance that you too are now a Mumsnet addict (we do have dads on here) and have checked in to your thread - thanks very much for answering my son's question, he is very chuffed.

pointydogg Tue 10-Nov-09 18:47:40

thanks for replies, anthony

DaisymooSteiner Wed 11-Nov-09 01:14:55

Hurrah, more Foyle. I can't wait smile

PutDown Wed 11-Nov-09 08:47:07

Me too Daisy,had thought Foyle had become a casualty of ITV cutssad

nickelbabe Wed 11-Nov-09 12:37:29

what a lovely man!
I didn't dare look at the webchat yesterday in case I started begging! grin

I've emailed my walker rep and told him that Anthony horowitz said he wanted to come to my shop! [fingers crossed]
grin grin grin

nickelbabe Wed 11-Nov-09 12:39:01

(without sounding bigheaded, do you think he knows who i am if he was thinking about my nickname?)

kizzie Wed 11-Nov-09 18:10:14

Ive just read this back from start to finish - wasnt he lovely !!!! smile

And Ds is ecstatic that his question was answered.

Deadworm Wed 11-Nov-09 18:12:10

He was. Really engaging and genuine.

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