Those were his own words. Alex Scarrow is all of 46 years old, so the perfect exhibit for a history museum.
I crossed over into new territory (Salford) to take this photo of the People’s History Museum, which is situated just by the bridge as you leave Manchester. Which I did, but only to come back at once.
We – Alex, me and the good people from the Manchester Literature Festival and the Manchester Children’s Book Festival – were there to travel in time, and to launch another fantastic competition.
Former rock guitarist Alex now writes the Time Riders book series. His route to writing was twisty, but he got there eventually. Having left school 28 years ago he wasted the first two years, and then he got a job doing blood spatter effects for a computer games company. In the end he left, because his ideas were too weird for them (purple orcs, anyone?), and he started writing books for adults.
Some years ago Alex came to the conclusion that his weird ideas would be better as books than as games (although that trailer for the books is actually awesome) and he began his Time Riders books for children.
Unexpectedly many people in the audience had read the first Time Riders, but Alex still explained ‘where he got the inspiration’ to the series. Although I rather suspect he was making fun of the Titanic film; especially the romance. And he likes Nirvana. That might even be relevant to Time Riders, you know.
There are ‘timewaves,’ and Alex illustrated how history can be manipulated by accidentally allowing a girl in the audience to go and knock on Hitler’s door in 1941, advising him not to invade Russia.
Alex told us the backgrounds of the three New York agents and their ‘support unit’ Bob, before reading the first two chapters of book one. He’s very dramatic, and very noisy, but really quite compelling. His reading alone probably persuaded everyone they wanted to buy the books.
In the Q&A we learned Alex is tired of games, and there were many good time paradox type questions which he explained away. There was also a hint that explaining everything could be a spoiler, so maybe there is something still to come that we don’t know about.
He would love to go back to the moment the Mediterranean filled up with water from the Atlantic (some time ago, I imagine), but he wouldn’t want to travel into the future at all. It scares him. And I hate to report this, but Alex doesn’t like Doctor Who.
Alex finished by reading the postcard one of his characters sent to his mother from the Titanic, and this launched the Postcards from the Past competition. Write a postcard from someone in the near or distant past. Open to all age groups, so get your inspiration hats on and write!
Then there was book signing (the young man from Waterstones and I really need to stop meeting like this) and photographs for the various school groups. At one point it looked like they just didn’t want to leave.
James from mcbf arrived, accompanied by an oversize umbrella. He’d been able to hear Alex from well outside (rather like the Scarrow brothers in Edinburgh this summer). I introduced myself to Alex and reminded him that we met three years ago. He politely agreed.
I left to catch my train, and I would like to know how Alex managed to get to Piccadilly before me! He was looking at departing trains, and I was tempted to suggest he get on mine. But I suppose that would have been mean.