‘Writing to me is about flow — it’s about emotion, it’s about not worrying…’

Anthony Horowitz has written two novels each for the James Bond and the Sherlock Holmes series. “I’m an unencumbered writer,” says Anthony Horowitz after one of his sessions at the just-concluded Tata Literature Live! Literary festival this weekend. The 64-year-old writer’s first book, The Sinister Secret of Frederick K Bower, was published in 1979, and since then, Horowitz has written children’s books, murder mysteries, plays, award-winning period drama such as Foyle’s War, Injustice, Poirot and Midsomer Murders. He’s also written two novels each for the James Bond and the Sherlock Holmes series. Excerpts from a conversation with The Indian Express .

What is the trickiest thing about writing for children?

First of all, I always say that if it’s hard, something has gone wrong. I don’t like the words difficult, easy, hard, tricky. Writing to me is about flow — it’s about emotion, it’s about not worrying and testing yourself all the time. I’m not worrying about the complexity of what I’m doing.

I’ve never forgotten what it was like when I was a child, and that’s why I write for young people. Maybe what is tricky is to make sure that my books aren’t too violent, or that the language is accessible — I hate words that cause children to stumble when they’re reading. Coming up with new actions for Alex Rider, sometimes…but this is the fun of what I do.

You’ve said that of all your work, you’re most proud of the Alex Rider series. Why?

I wrote my first book, a children’s book, as an accident, when I was 22. I was almost a child myself and I didn’t know anything about the world. I wrote 10 children’s books that weren’t very successful and then Alex Rider became something of a phenomenon. Why I’m proud of it is that many people have told me that their journey in literature and reading began with those books. I’m very proud that my books have been doorways into a reading adventure.

What was it like to have been published at 22?

I think people think that being published is a big thing — it’s not. It’s a starting point. Of course, I was excited and my mother was happy to have a book in her hand written by her son. But then there’s the frustration of why isn’t it selling 50,000 copies, why is nobody writing about me, or noticing me. I remember standing in bookshops just waiting to see if somebody would buy my book and, of course, they never did. Now, when I go into a bookshop, it’s a different experience. But it wasn’t until Alex Rider that anybody in England noticed my work.

You were commissioned to write books by both the estates of Arthur Conan Doyle and Ian Fleming. Were you daunted?

No, I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t think I could do it. I wouldn’t have written the Sherlock book if I was going to do it badly. I remember I wrote the […]

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