What was the hardest thing about writing this book?
To be honest, like most books, it was all rather tricky. A bit like escapology, in fact. I started off, suspended from a height and it was all very exciting. Then the chains and padlocks turned out way more complicated than I could possibly have predicted, and it was suddenly frightening. My clever plans didn’t work out quite like I expected, I had to perform some high-speed wriggling and that still didn't work and it seemed perfectly likely that it might go very wrong indeed but then, out of nowhere, something seemed possible, and I tried it, and the next thing I knew the story was done. Phew!
Which scene in the book is your favorite?
Well, in any book about a young Houdini, the big escape he (just) pulls off at the end is always going to be very exciting—and I still feel a bit frightened when I re-read that bit. But I also like a scene with the cake towards the beginning, which was inspired by something my editor said—it changed the feel of the whole book.
Which part of the book was the easiest to write?
I find dialogue relatively easy—maybe it’s because I also write for TV. My characters just won't stop talking—mind you, the stuff that happens to them in this story is pretty extreme (kidnappings, sinister Bulgarian magicians, high-wire tightrope walking, deadly traps), so you can't blame them.
Which actors would play the main characters in the movie version of the book?
Well, the main characters are the young Harry and his two friends, and they're all children – so they would probably be unknowns. Like the kids in the Harry Potter films, before they became famous. As for the grown-up characters, Eddie Izzard would make a wonderful Herbie Lemster, the old magician who inspires Harry when he's shining shoes on the street, and who mysteriously disappears in a puff of sinister smoke.
Which songs would be on the soundtrack of the movie version of the book?
Harry's friend Billie is an escaped orphan from New Orleans, and plays the ukulele. She would take charge of all musical business, and probably sing the whole story as a super fast-paced hill-billy ballad.
Any future books in the works?
Another Young Houdini book, and something totally different about which I will say nothing apart from that it’s for younger readers. I'm also a screenwriter and at the moment I'm busy writing shows for Disney and the BBC.
I have a website at www.simonbnicholson.com. Follow me on twitter @simonbnicholson.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Simon Nicholson writes for Nick Jr. including such shows as Tickety Tock, Bob the Builder, and Zack and Quack, as well as for BBC children’s programming. He lives in London. Visit him online at www.simonbnicholson.com and on Twitter @SimonBNicholson
ABOUT THE BOOK:
October 7, 2014
(and by OUP in the UK and rest of world February '15)
$15.99 Hard Cover
Young Harry Houdini spends his days chaining himself to train tracks and teetering on wires high above the city with his two best friends, Arthur and Billie. But when Harry's friend and magical mentor, Herbie, disappears, the three friends band together, determined to rescue the beloved magician.
With nothing more than a mysterious puff of purple smoke, an ominous threat, and a menacing Bulgarian for evidence, Harry, Arthur, and Billie embark on a dangerously thrilling investigation that pushes their skill, and friendship, to the limits. But can Harry find Herbie before it's too late?