We often hear that reading is important, especially for children. It’s easy to nod along and say: of course it is, especially when your job is to write them. But if I was asked to really think about it – and I was, for this very blog – then why exactly?
For me it ties in to another question – why do I write for children?
Well, let me answer the last question first. I don’t write for children. I can almost hear my editor swooning on the floor as I type that. In fact, out of all my current 21 books and graphic novels (I had to count them too), none of them are written for children. I actually wrote them for me.
I find writing stories a very cathartic outlet in my otherwise dull life. I’m lucky, I write book, TV shows, comics and films, so that gives me a broad outlet to be serious, stupid, thoughtful or depressing as the story fits. But all of them are ultimately written to please me. As for my so-called children’s books, well, they are designed to be held in the grubby hands of an 11 year old me.
There are so many fiercely talented writers out there. I know lots of them and I am often awed by how they can handle sensitive subjects, pluck my heartstrings or make me laugh. They win prestigious awards and appear on highbrow Radio 4 review shows, and they are brilliant. I, on the other hand, write popcorn entertainment. Or I think I do. I certainly do according to my 11-year-old self who lives beneath a smelly trapdoor in my imagination, inspiring me to write the next action-packed wild adventure I wish I could go on too.
I would argue that, unlike adult books, children’s books represent a broader cross-section of story telling. They have the ability to be funnier and wackier than adult books. They can be just as serious, deal with weight issues and win just as many prestigious awards as adult books. Or they can be complete popcorn escapism in which you can put your brain on pause while you enjoy the thrill ride the author is taking you on. Of course, you can layer in plenty of meaning and sentiment, but ultimately it’s up to the reader to decide how much of that they want to take away.
I know this is all important because, going back to that 11 year old me, it’s exactly those kinds of stories that got me writing in the first place. After a shaky start, and a good kick up the backside by my dad and brother, I began to devour books. They took me to wonderful places but, more importantly, made me want to go there. So I did. And as I travelled I began to write stories, tales that I knew would inspire the young me, that would encourage me to explore, ask questions and believe that there is a wonderful world out there – even if it starts inside my head.
In the process of being completely self-indulgent I get the opportunity to travel around the country and visit schools. I love talking to the kids and discovering that they, like proto-me, have the very same desires to explore, escape, laugh, cry… and along the way enjoy a wild popcorn roller coaster ride. Ultimately, I hope they become as inspired as I did so that when they are old and jaded, they decide to entertain their own inner 11-year-old selves – and go out and change the world in some tiny way.
The Inventory: Iron Fist by Andy Briggs (The Inventory #1)
The Rules: if you find a secret inventory of utterly deadly battle tech.
1) Do not try it.
2) Do not tell anyone.
3) Do NOT let thieves in behind you.
What’s more secret than top-secret? The Inventory. Home to the deadliest inventions the world isn’t ready for. Invisible camouflage. HoverBoots. Indestructible metals. Plus a giant creature of chaos: war robot Iron Fist. No one has ever broken past the state-of-the-art AI security system. (Seriously, most bad guys have no idea this stuff is even there.)
Problem 1: the security robot wasn’t ready for a gang of kids wandering in.
Problem 2: they’ve ONLY brought the ruthless Shadow Helix gang in behind them. Seriously dumb, but it’s a bit late for ‘sorry’.
Say hello to trouble: the Iron Fist is in the wrong hands!
Information about the Book
Title: The Inventory: Iron Fist (The Inventory #1)
Author: Andy Briggs
Release Date: 5th May 2016
Genre: MG Sci-Fi / Adventure
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Andy Briggs is a screenwriter, producer and author of the Hero.com, Villain.net and Tarzan series. Andy has worked on film development for Paramount and Warner Bros, as well as working with Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee and producer Robert Evans. With a strong social media following, Andy tours the UK regularly, doing festival, school and library events.
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