Iron Fist The Inventory: A Guest Blog from Andy Briggs

Iron Fist

Since the arrival of Alex Rider in 2000 I have seen a proliferation of books about smart, quick-thinking pre-teen boys launched into amazing action adventures. From the books of Robert Muchamore to Simon Mayo, Charlie Higson and Chris Bradford, there is no shortage of pre- and early-teen heroes combating an evil enemy. Recently arrived on my shelves are Theodore Boone, the boy lawyer from John Grisham, the Urban Outlaws, and most recently The Inventory: Iron Fist by Andy Briggs, the last of which stands apart with its fascinating array of technological and scientific gadgetry, and the number of twists, turns and surprises within.

The Inventory is a collection of the most amazing technology and gadgetry (James Bond wouldn’t believe his eyes).  It includes such wonders as Hoverboots, invisible camouflage and of course the Iron Fist. Dev’s uncle is the curator, backed up by artificial intelligence security. But when thieves try to breach the system and steal the Iron First, Dev is in more trouble than he realises. 

From the outset the gadgetry and action zing from the page. A villain who turns a police car and humans into a two-dimensional object before disintegrating them into bare molecules starts the ball rolling on page five, and is a swift example of the scintillating imagery within. This is a treat – an unputdownable action adventure that’s not dissimilar from playing a video game – except the action is in your head. I’m delighted to welcome author Andy Briggs onto the blog, so that he can relate his favourite moments in The Inventory.

What a challenge! To write about my favourite moments in my new book. Well, it was a complete thrill to type the words: chapter one. Of course, that was later changed when my editor suggested I have chapter titles instead. Still, I thought it was a nice beginning and much better than prologue which I had previously considered. So, since that technically isn’t in the book… writing the end was a huge relief! You can’t imagine the stress that flows from an author’s shoulders when those words are written. Again, my editor removed the end pointing out that very few books actually have that written down as the subsequent lack of pages is usually a give away. So, my two favourite moments from the book aren’t actually in it any more, so I suppose I better find something that wasn’t cut…

There is not too much I can give away as I am hoping that each layer of The Inventory is as much of a surprise to the reader as it was for me. Let me explain. Normally I feverishly plan my books chapter-by-chapter, so I know exactly where I am heading, this comes from my day-job as a screenwriter in which planning is critical. Not all authors do this and I envy those who can just simply write and a story unfolds – so for this book I dabbled in to the art of not knowing where I was going. I knew the beginning and end of course, and had a few plot points I wanted to anchor in, but I wanted the Inventory itself to feel fresh and unexplored.

We’re in the town of Edderton. On the edge of town a boy called Dev lives with his uncle on a farm. Except the farm is not all it appears to be, hidden underground is a sprawling labyrinth of warehouses, hangars and passageways that make up the top secret Inventory. A place where the world’s greatest inventions are kept out of our grubby hands.

Each warehouse is split into zones – the Green Zone, Blue Zone, etc – all with increasing security and radical forms of protection, that eventually lead to the Red Zone at the heart of the complex. This is where the most dangerous gadgets are stored. I wanted the zones themselves to have distinctive characteristics so the gadgets our heroes find did not simply lead the action. When I wrote my TARZAN series I was able to jump from river to jungle to savannahs – when you’re in an underground warehouse a shelf looks pretty much like any other shelf, as I am sure anybody who has been to Ikea has discovered. So, unlike popular home furnishing stores, I was able to split the areas up in unique ways… again, nothing I can specifically talk about without giving anything away, but I had huge fun in creating these environments into which I could shove my characters and make them run for their lives…

Another favourite moment for me was working with the main hero of the book, Dev. Like all heroes he is forced to dig deep inside himself to figure out exactly what makes him so special. In doing so I was able to make him… give him… let him have… um, not sure how to phrase this… a unique quality that I don’t recall reading in any other book. That is a marvellous feeling, when you think you’ve got something different, a twist on the familiar that hopefully adds a little more to the story.

Villains. Villains are always fun… but I can’t give too much away… but if you know your inventors then you may get some of the in-jokes…

So, to end, what can I say about The Inventory. Very little apparently. And my favourite moment? Well, ultimately perhaps it was when I wrote the words Chapter One, in the second book that follows on, and is out later this year. The only problem is I already know which two words my editor is going to change…

www.andybriggs.co.uk

@abriggswriter

With huge thanks to Andy. Suitable for children aged 9+ years. You can buy the book here.