Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Horowitz on how to deal with lawyers: avoid them

My kids love Anthony Horowitz's work, from the Diamond Brothers mysteries through Alex Rider and on to the Power of Five series. But one of the things I really like about Horowitz himself, beyond the fact that he writes entertaining books, plays and TV scripts, is the progressive perspective he takes to life's difficulties and his line on the best way to deal with lawyers: avoid them!

"I don’t know how many of you have been reading his DEMONATA series. I must say I’ve been enjoying it. But Volume 8, WOLF ISLAND, has just come out and I notice that there is a character in it called Antoine Horwitzer. Any ideas who that could be? In the story, he’s a sort of mad scientist type...

Anyway, my lawyers have studied the book and the bad news for Darren Shan is that they agree it’s definitely defamatory…which is to say that I could win millions from him in court. The good news is that I’ve decided not to sue. If there’s one piece of advice that everyone should stick to in their life it’s AVOID LAWYERS. This is good advice even for lawyers. However, I will be having my revenge. Next year, I have a third collection of horror stories coming out. The title (at the moment) is: AAAGH: TEN UNUSUAL WAYS TO DIE and one of the stories is called THE MAN WHO KILLED DARREN SHAN. I have started re-writing it. Out go all the compliments about CIRQUE DU FREAK and THE DEMONATA. And instead…

Next Halloween, Darren. Wait and see."

Very good.

He's also on record lamenting the state of copyright laws and pointing out, patiently and affably, the degree to which writers like himself depend on earlier creators for inspiration. Anyone reading the Diamond Brothers stories, who is familiar with the work of Raymond Chandler and Alfred Hitchcock, for example, can't fail to see the plot origins of Horowitz's stories in that series. As far as I know it never became an issue but it would have been criminal if some over excitable copyright lawyers or movie companies' legal representatives got in the way of the publication of such an entertaining series of books for kids.

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