by Alex English
As a child I always longed for adventure, but growing up in suburban Hampshire meant that excitement wasn’t always around the corner. In fact, not much happened at all. Instead, I looked to books to provide me with escape and I think that’s where my love for adventurous fiction started. The sort of books that took me somewhere I had never been before, whether that was the Amazon jungle of The Journey to the Riversea, the magical Welsh mountains of The Grey King or through the wardrobe to Narnia, escape was what I loved then, and still love now.
Growing up, I didn’t have loads of money to spend on books, so most of my greatest reading adventures started in my local library. I practically lived there as a child and it’s where I made most of my new discoveries. Libraries gave me the freedom to try whatever I fancied after all, if I didn’t like it I could take it back again. This meant I could experiment with different genres – from pony stories to schools in Austrian chalets, from girls who played tennis to those who flew spaceships. It was all there for the taking, and free too! No wonder I spent so much time there.
I still use the library a lot now, both for finding books and as a place to write. As an author, my aim is always to transport my readers to somewhere incredible, just like the books I read as a child did to me. And in fact, I often find writing is just as much fun as reading. I don’t always plan so I am often finding out what happens as I write and going on the adventure along with my characters.
Even though I’ve grown up, I haven’t lost my taste for real life adventures. I currently live in Paris and have also lived in Hong Kong, and my favourite holidays are the sort where I go dog sledding or canoe down the Zambezi river. But even when I’m stuck inside at home, I know I can always escape into a great book. As Lloyd Alexander once said, “Keep reading. It’s one of the most marvellous adventures anyone could have.”
Sky Pirates is published by Simon and Schuster, and due for publication on 23rd July 2020.
Any opinions expressed may not truly reflect those of the FCBG.