In Brief: Meeting Anthony Horowitz
I must confess that if I were to set up someone to speak with Anthony Horowitz whilst he stayed in New York City on his vacation, I don’t know that I’d make myself the first choice. Not that I have anything against me (I have many sterling qualities, though most of them are related to cheese consumption), but I am a children’s librarian. I don’t know about your library systems, but in my world Mr. Horowitz is considered synonymous with his kickin’ spy action thrillers starring Alex Rider. For years my library system considered these to be teen novels, and only recently came around to the notion that they’d be appropriate for the 11 and 12-year-old set. I have read an Alex Rider book or two in my time, granted. You sort of have to when your regular clientele insists that you show them “where the Alex Rider books are” and you want to know what they’re talking about. But as for the bulk of Mr. Horowitz’s older fare, The Power of Five or The Diamond Brothers, I was out to sea.
None of that stopped me when I was asked whether or not I’d like to meet with the man, though. Sure! What the hey, right? I mean, it’s not everyday that a bestselling British author traipses into town and I get a chance to speak with them. Let’s do that thing! Mind you, I had the unshakable feeling that somehow I had just personally stolen the dream of some life-long Horowitz-loving child reader out there, somewhere.
So it was that I found myself headed to Soho on a gorgeous Sunday morning to speak with the man himself. I was rather excited, but not for any of the usual reasons. Yes, he’s a bestselling author with everything from books to television to movies to theater to his name. But most important of all . . . he wrote scripts for the Poirot mystery series. How awesome is that? Poirot!
Yeah, my interests are pretty limited. He was, however, just the nicest guy. Turns out, he was here for fun, not to promote any books. This threw me off a bit. Normally when I meet with authors they’ve a publicist of some sort ah-hovering at their right elbows. I like publicists (they have good shoes) so to be approached by the man himself solo was a bit of a shocker. We discussed some of theater he’s seen here in town (The Book of Mormon = Two thumbs up, Catch Me If You Can = so-so). Then I had to go and bring up the books.
Both of us sort of had to remember what had been released here verses what had been released in Britain already. I know that when I polled my Facebook friends for advice on meet with the man one of them proclaimed “Tell him that I have some rabid Gatekeepers fans who are wondering when the fifth book is coming out! Last I checked his website, I didn’t see anything.” Unfortunately I didn’t see this note before my meeting, so sorry folks. No additional Gatekeeper info from me. What we will be seeing, however, is the release of the newest and last Alex Rider title Scorpia Rising. We’ll also be seeing a new series by the name of Legends, with follows different mythological tales adapted to the short story format. Death and the Underworld will look at different afterlife myths while Heroes and Villains is fairly self-explanatory.
The title that I was most excited about, however, was one I’d spotted in the Penguin catalog last time they had a librarian preview. Bloody Horowitz came out with Philomel back in 2010, but they’re slapping a new cover on it this year. The collection consists of various horror stories. I was a bit curious about the name, to be frank. I mean, here in the U.S. the word “bloody” has no connotation above and beyond the idea of . . . well . . . blood. In Britain it has a slightly different feel. When asked about it, Mr. Horowitz said that the title in Britain is actually More Bloody Horowitz and it was his son’s idea. When asked what the collection should be called, the kid just sort of tossed off a “More Bloody Horowitz!” and the name stuck.
Of course the big project on his plate harkens back to his Poirot years. Having won the approval of the Conan Doyle Estate, Anthony gets to write a new Sherlock Holmes novel. The Estate has never approved of a new Sherlock Holmes novel before, y’know. It sort of reminds me when the Great Ormond Street hospital officially approved of Geraldine McCaughrean’s sequel to Peter Pan, Peter Pan in Scarlet, or when the A.A. Milne Estate gave the nod to David Benedictus to write Return to Pooh Corner. I wonder if authors ever speculate on their future “estates” these days. Will there be a J.K. Rowling Estate (undoubtedly)? A Philip Pullman Estate? A Jon Scieszka Estate? The mind boggles. And, of course, someday we could even see an Anthony Horowitz Estate approving some young writer who wants to make a “new” Alex Rider novel.
Other than that there was only his Injustice TV show and sequel to TinTin . . . wait. Sequel to TinTin? Yup. Before the first TinTin film has even been released, Mr. Horowitz is writing the sequel for none other than Peter Jackson. Um . . . wow.
A tip of the hat and that was all I had to say or to ask. Nice fellow, I must say. Twas a brief interview, but long enough that I got a sense of what was on the table and what was soon to be on the menu. Thanks to Tracey Daniels for setting it up!
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About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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