Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is very happy to shine our Friday spotlight on mystery writer Anthony Horowitz. I asked him to please tell us a bit about himself and his writing, and this was his response:
I’m a British writer working in many different fields. My best known books are probably the Alex Rider series which has sold around 20m copies worldwide but recently I’ve been working in the field of action and murder mystery with three Bond novels, two Sherlock Holmes stories and an original detective series involving Daniel Hawthorne whose rather unusual sidekick is…me! I also write TV, film and theatre.
Anthony, where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester–though they should totally check here first!)
Where can people find my work? In bookshops and libraries, airports, schools, thrift stores, a few museums, antiquarian book stores, eBay, on Netflix, Amazon…one of my books was recerntly spotted in a bar in Paraquay.
How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?
You can follow me on Twitter or you can check out my website: anthonyhorowitz.com. Bung my name into a search engine and something will usually come up.
What draws you to the particular genre or style that you write? What do you think draws readers to these kinds of books?
All my life, I’ve been fascinated by what you can’t quite see, what’s just out of sight or in the corner of your eye. I love magic, illusion, slight-of-hand, surprise…it’s why my home in London contains two secret passages. So the books I write tend to be full of twists and turns. I love murder mysteries where all the clues are set out in full sight but where, hopefully, the end will still leave you guessing. If you want a book with a surprise that will knock you off your seat, try Moriarty (my second Sherlock Holmes novel). Or try to work out the intricate plot-lines of Magpie Murders, a murder story all about murder stories. My stories tend to be fast-paced with lots of action – this obviously helps when I’m writing James Bond. There’s so much bad news around right now and the world seems so full of difficulties that I hope my work will provide some sort of escapism. That’s how books have always been for me. They’re doors that open and sweep you away to a better place.
What has been your favorite adventure during your writing career?
Of course, I’ve had adventures. My research has taken me all over the world – from Cuba to Antarctica to the Australian outback – and I’ve been fortunate to meet some extraordinary people along the way. But the fact is that much of my life has been spent on my own in a room, writing – and that brings me to the true answer to your question. The biggest adventure of my life has been writing itself. I’m unusual, I think, in that I’ve covered so many different things: YA fiction and adult books. Crime, horror, comedy. Books, TV, films, theater. I’ve made a deliberate decision to keep moving, to keep challenging myself, to try to do something completely new and different with everything I write. I’m not saying I’ve always been 100% successful but it’s always been my philosophy that if you’re afraid to fail, you can never completely succeed and even after writing professionally for forty years with over fifty books under my belt, it’s always the next one that excites me, the thought of doing something that hasn’t been done before. Writing is the adventure of my life.
What was the inspiration for your latest series? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished book?
I’d like to think that the Hawthorne series gives you an idea of what I mean. There are three books out so far: The Word is Murder, The Sentence is Death and A Line to Kill. A fourth, The Twist of A Knife is out this fall. About five years ago, my publishers asked me to produce a long-running detective series with a nod towards Agatha Christie (I’d written many episodes of the series with David Suchet as Hercule Poirot). They were a little horrified when I told them that I was going to appear in the books myself. The idea is that the detective, Daniel Hawthone, needs a writer to describe his adventures and the two of them will split the royalties fifty fifty. The writer he chooses is me. But what I hope I’ve done us to turn the whodunnit upside down. Normally the writer (Doyle, Christie) is the cleverest person in the book. They know what’s going to happen long before it does. They know the murderer before the murder has been committed. But in the Hawthorne books, the writer knows nothing! He doesn’t even have a book if the detective doesn’t solve the crime. I’m loving creating these mysteries and I hope you’ll give them a try. They’re exactly the books I wanted to write.
Thanks, Anthony, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer our questions!