The Astonishing Future of Alex Nobody

Written by Kate Gilby Smith, Cover by Thy Bui, Published by Hachette Children’s

I am kicking off the blog tour for The Astonishing Future of Alex Nobody with a wonderful Q&A with author Kate Gilby Smith. She has kindly taken the time to answer my questions amidst editing a new project and they are fantastic answers.

Can you tell us about The Astonishing Future of Alex Nobody in a couple of sentences?

The book is about a twelve-year-old girl called Alex who finds out that people are travelling back in time to meet her because one day in the future she becomes famous! The only problem is, she has no idea why…

The secret of Alex’s fame maintains throughout the entire story- how hard was it to continuously build that mystery without giving too much away?

It was tricky! In the first draft, I hid it a little too well, and so I had to go back and leave a few more clues. In fact, when I first started writing the book, I didn’t know exactly who Alex became in the future. It was only by following the story that I found out. Then it seemed incredibly obvious and I wondered why it took me so long to realise.

If you could be famous, would you want it to be as an author or for something else?

I’m not entirely sure I’d like to be famous at all. I would much rather be a time tourist travelling back to meet famous people! But if I had to choose, I’d quite like to be a famous primatologist like Dr. Jane Goodall.

What time period would you want to travel back in time to visit?

I’d start with Mesopotamia. Perhaps take in the invention of the wheel, see who came up with the concept of time.

How far into the future would you wish to travel?

I’d travel really far into the future if I could. One thousand years at least, because then I could read the history books and learn about everything I’d missed.

Did your experience in working with publishing help with your journey to publication?

It made the process of writing a book somehow more real, more attainable, less mysterious. It meant I was surrounded by excellent books and big ideas. It also meant I knew about literary agents and how that process work. I had the idea for the book long before working in publishing but being a publicist definitely helped me to work up a pitch for it because that’s what I do for a living!

Are you working on anything you can share with us at the moment?

Very excitingly, I’m working on a second book. It’s another standalone novel for children. I’m taking a break from editing it as we speak.

What tips would you offer other writers?

What really helped me was to forget about writing a whole book and to instead aim for just three chapters. Try to write the absolute best first three chapters you can, three chapters which set up your story and ask big, exciting questions in a reader’s mind. You can figure out how exactly you’re going to answer those questions later. But it’s far less intimidating to start small and concentrate your efforts. This is also the bit that literary editors tend to read so you want to make sure it’s the best it can be. It was incredibly motivating for me when I showed family members my first three chapters and they asked, so what happens next?

Some quick-fire questions:

* Past or Future to visit?

Definitely the past, because travelling to the future totally breaks Time Law.

* Book or Ebook?
Ohhhh I love both, but I’d have to say book.

* Sweet or Savoury?
If I could live entirely on ice cream I would.

* Night Owl or Morning Person?
Twit twooo!

* Writing or Typing?
Typing, but I make scrawled notes in notebooks and on the back of bank statements, envelopes and things.

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