Robert Muchamore is the best-selling author of the Cherub series, Arctic Zoom and Killer T. His previous books, covering topics from young spies to budding rockstars, have been translated into 24 languages and sold over 14 million copies worldwide.
His latest book, Robin Hood: Hacking, Heists and Flaming Arrows begins a brand-new series about 12-year old Robin Hood in a modern Sherwood Forest. Robin Hood plans to avenge his wrongly jailed father, but before that, he must learn to survive in a forest full of snakes, bears and bandits.
Robert Muchamore joins us to talk about sharing stories, his inspirations and how to create a thrilling mission.
- Describe yourself in 3 words or phrases.
Bearded, uncoordinated, hates mayo.
- Why do you think sharing stories is so important?
Stories are hard wired into our brains. We even make them up in dreams as we sleep. For kids, fictional worlds are a sandbox where they get to explore what is right and what might be possible.
- What were your favourite books to read as a child? Were there any authors that inspired your writing?
I was a geeky kid who got bullied and early on I loved the Asterix books. I’d fantasise that I was the Obelix character, who had super strength and could beat anyone up.
In my early teens, I loved Sue Townsend’s Adrian Mole books. Not only were they funny, they made me realise that all the weird teen stuff wasn’t just happening to me.
- What inspired your latest book Robin Hood: Hacking, Heists and Flaming Arrows? Why did you decide to put a modern twist on a classic folk tale?
I like to think of Robin Hood as a kind of trashy Shakespeare. Everyone gets to reinterpret and reinvent the legend, from Bollywood movies to virtual reality. The more I researched the character, the more it drew me in.
- Your previous books, such as the CHERUB and Henderson’s Boys series feature young adventurers and agents, what makes a great mission and a great hero?
I think it’s all about creating characters who readers love and make you want to know what happens to them next. Harry Potter was a brilliant example of compelling characters at the core of a story. I think the early Star Wars movies were a huge influence on the way I write, because the tension between Han, Luke and Leia is so perfect.
- If you could share a story with anyone from the past or present, who would that be?
My dad was a storyteller, I guess that’s where I get it from. He was full of mad stories. Like his horse bolting and throwing off all the bottles when he worked as a milkman, and how as a boy his Jewish landlady gave him money to empty a pot of urine out of the window on to Black Shirts heading to a fascist protest a nearby park! As kids, we all groaned when dad trotted out a familiar story. But now he’s gone, I’d love to hear them all again.
Robin Hood: Hacking, Heists & Flaming Arrows by Robert Muchamore is out in April, published by Hot Key Books