HomeBooks by AgeAges 4-8My Writing and Reading Life: Ross Welford, Author of Time Traveling with a Hamster

My Writing and Reading Life: Ross Welford, Author of Time Traveling with a Hamster

The Children’s Book Review | October 7, 2016

I write because …

I write because I ran out of excuses not to. (It’s always easier not to write.)    My career as a television producer was going nowhere – and that’s an understatement – so I was heading into my fifties with no job.

I read because …

I read because I can.  Why wouldn’t you?  Mind you, I’m not one of your book obsessives who reads all the time, and nor do I read especially fast.  I do watch television as well.

Latest published book …

Time Traveling With A Hamster

I wrote this book because …

I wrote this book because I was returning to the UK after two years in Sweden, and people were going to ask me, “So – did you write the book you were talking about.” (See answer 1 above)

Best moment …

…was when someone other than my wife and daughter (I strongly suspected they were just being polite) read the book and loved it.  That was Silvia Molteni from the London literary agency Peters Fraser Dunlop, who immediately signed me as a client.  What followed – a book deal, getting the advance copies, seeing it in bookshops – was wonderful, but not as wonderful as the first time that someone who didn’t know me read it and liked it.

My special place to write …

… is my house in the country, in Oxfordshire.  I go there with my dog for a few days to get my word count up.  There’s a pub very close but I’m not allowed in it unless I have achieved my daily target.  (That’s self-imposed.  It’s not like the barman checks…)

Necessary writing/creativity tool …

Tea, probably.

The person who has been my greatest writing teacher or inspiration is …

I probably wouldn’t have finished Time Traveling With A Hamster without NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which encourages you to write 50,000 words in a month, thereby making a first draft.  That discipline – to write even when you don’t much feel like it – is what gets books finished.  I have never met a single published author who writes only when they’re “inspired”.

Currently reading …

I’m fictioned out for a bit after a long summer reading load, so I’m currently reading I Find That Offensive by Claire Fox, and So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson.  Both are concerned, in different ways, with free speech in the modern world – a subject that writers and artists feel (or should feel) very strongly about.

Favorite bookshop …

Favorite bookshop is The Travel Bookshop in Notting Hill.  It was featured in the movie Notting Hill, and it’s very close to my house.  Never seen Julia Roberts in there, though. (In fact, the actual shop wasn’t actually in the film: the film-makers used a studio interior and another shop-front round the corner.  Sorry to disappoint.)

All-time favorite children’s book I didn’t write…

The Brothers Lionheart by Astrid Lindgren.  Orphan brothers, swords, knights, dragons, and an ending that would give modern publishers a fit of the vapors.  Love it.

Favorite illustrator …

Kit Williams.  I didn’t bother trying to solve the riddle in Masquerade, I just liked the pictures.

A literary character to vacation with …

I’d quite like a holiday with Dean Moriaty from On the Road by Jack Kerouac but it would be too exhausting, so make that a long weekend. For a longer trip, P.G Wodehouse’s Bertie Wooster would be fun company, so long as Jeeves came along too to handle tickets and hotel bookings.

When you aren’t reading or writing I am …

Practicing magic tricks, or playing the piano.  Got them confused once and the piano disappeared. (Boom-tss, thank you, I’m here all week.)


Time Traveling with a HamsterTime Traveling with a Hamster

Written by Ross Welford

Publisher’s Synopsis: Back to the Future meets The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time in this original, poignant, race-against-time story about a boy who travels back to 1984 to save his father’s life.

My dad died twice. Once when he was thirty-nine and again four years later, when he was twelve. On his twelfth birthday, Al Chaudhury receives a letter from his dead father. It directs him to the bunker of their old house, where Al finds a time machine (an ancient computer and a tin bucket). The letter also outlines a mission: travel back to 1984 and prevent the go-kart accident that will eventually take his father’s life. But as Al soon discovers, whizzing back thirty years requires not only imagination and courage, but also lying to your mom, stealing a moped, and setting your school on fire—oh, and keeping your pet hamster safe. With a literary edge and tons of commerical appeal, this incredible debut has it all: heart, humor, vividly imagined characters, and a pitch-perfect voice.

Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Schwartz & Wade | 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0399551499

Available Here: 

About Ross Welford

Ross Welford

Ross Welford

Ross Welford worked as a business journalist before becoming a freelance writer and television producer. He has worked on shows such as The Big Breakfast, The Morning, and Bridezillas. This is his first novel. Follow @rosswelford on Twitter.

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