|Alex Scarrow and Festival Director James Draper|
First, Alex told us about his fascinating life before becoming a writer. He was in a rock band for ten years after leaving school. “I had to stop living the dream and get a real job,” he told us. Luckily, Alex bagged a job at a games company. His ideas for games were all rejected as people thought they were “too weird”. Alex decided to take elements from all of his failed game ideas and make them into Time Riders – cool, huh?!
After showing us an amazing trailer for Time Riders, Alex talked us through how time travel works and how it can – gulp – backfire. Taking us on a journey through history, Alex joked, “We’ve got global warming because of 1980s hairspray!”
A gripping reading of Time Riders had us all on the edge of our seats – adults, teens and children alike! Lucky for us, Alex decided to read us not one but two chapters of the book. The reading was followed by a book signing; one fan had brought along the entire collection of Time Riders books. Now that’s dedication!
Check out our exclusive interview with Alex Scarrow below:
MCBF: What’s your favourite thing about writing for teenagers?
Alex Scarrow: Well I also write for adults. What makes writing for teenagers a lot more fun than writing for adults is the fact that you can blur genres in a way you can’t with adults. Adults are very set in what they like to read. If you’re writing a crime novel, for example, you can’t introduce any fantasy. Teenagers are much more broad minded.
MCBF: What are the challenges of writing for teenagers?
AS: I think the big mistake some teen writers make is writing for teens as if you’re talking down to them. Write for adults.
MCBF: What inspired you to write about time travel?
AS: It’s something I was always into. As a kid I was a big fan of the Back to the Future movies. I had something lodged in my head then that I wanted to do a time travel series at some point in my life.
MCBF: What would you say to children or teens reading the Festival’s blog who want to write?
AS: The best way to train as a writer is to read a lot. A lot of wannabe writers are good at writing but they tend to read in just one genre. If you read widely you have more areas from which to magpie different ideas.