Thursday, 6 September 2018

Interview: Andy Briggs Hollywood Script Writer and Author of Drone Racer

Hi everyone! Today I'm chatting with author and scriptwriter Andy Briggs, whose latest novel Drone Racer is released today by Scholastic UK.  This is an absolutely brilliant and insightful interview in which we discuss books, drones and film ...

Hi Andy, thank you for stopping by Kathryn’s Inbox. First of all, congratulations on the publication of Drone Racer. I was quite excited to discover that this is the first children’s novel to be published about drones. Do you think that it is important for children to embrace new forms of technology? If so, why?

It’s lovely to be here! I’ve always been a fan of new technology, especially when it emerges into the world and nobody is quite sure of how it will ultimately benefit our lives. A great example of that is the internet, without which we wouldn’t be having this interview!
            I believe people of all ages should embrace technology, but in particular children. After all, that is what will be shaping their lives. I remember the day I received a Commodore 64 home computer for Christmas. I was thrilled to play countless games (Manic Miner and Hunchback!), and had no inkling that it would lead to me, not only to writing Drone Racer, but sitting in my garden on a MacBook, connected wirelessly to the internet, answering your questions.
            Drones are a particular fascination because I have always wanted to be a pilot – but have been both too broke and lazy to learn (I have had both helicopter and aircraft lessons since, but they’re a cautionary tale). Now, with their onboard camera systems, I can soar over the countryside in relative safety. Moving this technology into new sports is even more exciting. Esports – playing video games in championship leagues – and even Formula E (racing robot cars) is coming. Even now, in the Middle East, they have robot jockeys for camel racing. Technology is altering everything around us – it’s vital we keep up to date!

Can you tell us a little about Drone Racer? How do the lives of Carson and his friends change after the discovery at the Air Force Scrapyard?

One of my passions are those (mostly 80s and 90s) films that embrace high adventure in ordinary suburbia. ET, Goonies, Batteries Not Included, Explorers – to name just a few. When I was younger they were the adventures I always longed would happened to me. With Drone Racer I saw the opportunity to bring that magic to three ordinary children.
            They soon discover that the drone they find is not all that it seems. She is Artificially Intelligent and goes by the name of Vanta. With her superior performance, Carson, Eddie and their team engineer Tracy (or Trix, as she prefers), see the opportunity to enter the drone racing league to earn a little cash. Of course, things start going awry as Vanta begins to garner attention, and her secret is revealed.
            Having a piece of technology as a lead is tough, so Vanta is every bit a fully-fledged character with feelings and attitude. She also becomes a confidante for Carson, who is struggling with the loss of his mother. The core of the story is one we all share – the need to be accepted and loved, even if we are very different.

You’ve had a long and varied career as a writer, working on scripts for film and television (including the script for Freddy Vs Jason,) graphic novels and, of course, a number of novels for children. For you, what have been some career highlights?

At the top of that list is a movie called Foreverman, which may never get made – but it gave me the opportunity to work with the legendary Spiderman creator, Stan Lee. Stan keeps in touch and gave me a lovely quote for my first superhero novels, the Hero. com and Villain. net series.
            I have had the opportunity to work with many fantastic people (including Tom Berenger, on a new film (Supervised) which is out towards the end of the year or the start of the next). But the most unexpected moment came this year with the critical success of my last feature film, Crowhurst. It’s a true story I had always found fascinating and our movie was in competition against the bigger Colin Firth version of the story which came out at the same time… and didn’t do so well. For our plucky little movie to garner such critical praise is a huge and humbling surprise.

Finally, is there anything that you’d like to say to your readers in Adelaide, Australia?


Aside from the fact that Australia and Antarctica are the only continents I have yet to visits (and I plan to rectify this soon!), thank you for reading my books, written in a tiny country on the other side of the world. That in itself typifies the power of books – no matter who we are and where we are from, they bind us all together.

Thank you for stopping by Andy. Readers can order a copy of Drone Racer here