Listen to this article
Anthony Horowitz, 58, writes books, television series, films, plays and articles, including the drama series Foyle’s War and the Alex Rider books for teenagers.
What was your earliest ambition?
To be a writer. There was never anything else.
Public school or state school? University or straight into work?
Orley Farm in Harrow on the Hill. Back in the 1960s it was a foul and sadistic place; to this day I’m very puzzled why my wealthy and kind parents sent me there. Then Rugby school, where I had English teachers who recognised that there was some talent in me and encouraged it. I loved the University of York, though I didn’t do a great deal of work.
Who was your mentor?
Richard Carpenter. He gave me my first job in television on Robin of Sherwood – he was the writer. It was unheard of at the time for a new writer to go in as second writer on a popular series. It was the making of me.
How physically fit are you?
I’m in quite good shape.
Ambition or talent: which matters more to success?
Talent is more important and more valuable. Luck is a very large part of the equation too. There are people that I meet who’ve got to the top through drive and ambition but often they’re not people I want to work with.
Have you ever taken an IQ test?
No. I don’t believe in IQ tests.
How politically committed are you?
I’m intrigued by politics. It was Iraq that made me aware. I still think today we underestimate the terrible damage Blair did to this country.
Do you consider your carbon footprint?
Not as much as I should.
Do you have more than one home?
Yes. I have a second home in Orford in Suffolk. It’s very small but very special to me.
What would you like to own that you don’t currently possess?
Any of Kandinsky’s later paintings.
What’s your biggest extravagance?
Automata – little toys where you turn a handle and they do things. They’re totally useless but fun. Every time I turn the handle on one it gives me pleasure.
In what place are you happiest?
Crete. I go there in the summer and I feel a sense of coming home.
What ambitions do you still have?
Many. Every time I write a book I want it to be better than the book before.
What drives you on?
I love writing, I love telling stories, I still believe in what I’m doing and that I have something to offer.
What is the greatest achievement of your life so far?
What has been your greatest disappointment?
Stormbreaker, the film. I didn’t hate it but it should have been the first of 10 and it wasn’t.
If your 20-year-old self could see you now, what would he think?
We’d recognise each other and like each other. We’re not so very different; I think I dress better now.
If you lost everything tomorrow, what would you do?
Discover myself all over again.
Do you believe in assisted suicide?
Yes. Without any hesitation. With an increasingly ageing and sick population, we must have choice.
Do you believe in an afterlife?
No. Death may surprise me but I’m not expecting anything. I’m not absolutely sure I believe in death, though – since you are unaware of it, how do you know you’re dead? It is an awesome mystery. I’m not looking forward to it.
If you had to rate your satisfaction with your life so far, out of 10, what would you score?
Four. Approximately. My life has been wonderful, I’m not moaning – but I’m not somebody who is deeply satisfied, I’m someone who is always struggling and fighting.
‘Russian Roulette’ by Anthony Horowitz is published by Walker Books on September 12 in hardcover, ebook and audio formats
Get alerts on Anthony Horowitz when a new story is published