SciFiChick.com is featuring Alex Scarrow and his TimeRiders series this week. Today, we have an exclusive interview with the author and a fun giveaway!

How many books are planned for the series?

The series is nine books and was always planned as such. I wanted to create a series with a definite narrative arc; very much a clear beginning, middle and end. One of the great joys of writing this series was that the UK publisher who signed it up (Puffin) were up for it from the get-go and committed to the whole series. Which meant I could clearly plan the narrative across the nine books instead of not being sure whether Puffin’s commitment was going to be for just the first 3 books…and then ‘see how things go’ from there. It’s meant a clear arc, a detailed arc.

I can tell you this…I know exactly how the last book goes. I know how the last chapter of the last book goes. Hell, I even know what the last sentence of the entire series will be!

Will we see changes to the team in upcoming books?

Oh yes. Big time. These are characters that are evolving, and having to do it fast as events around them gather momentum. It’s a strange thing, for the first time as a writer, my characters have emerged from the pages of the books and taken up residence in my mind. I hear them chattering to each other. When I right TimeRiders books now, I feel like I’m turning up at the agreed scene/location and now I’m merely taking notes as they talk and act!

Are you working on anything else besides the TimeRiders series?

Most definitely. A new series called ELLIE QUIN. It’s a series I’ve been working on quietly for several years now and the first three books are going to be launched on the Amazon Kindle on Christmas Day! It’s a character-driven story set in a future universe. So, yes, I suppose you could call it Science Fiction, but it’s so not so much space ships and laser guns as it is funky shopping malls and lip gloss! It’s full of fun ideas…for example, a nail polish that when it dries, you can watch ‘TV’ on it. Another example – a brand of soda pop made of two species of mutually antagonistic bacteria fighting a war across your tongue and thus creating a constantly changing flavour! Or pocket-pets; little alien creatures you grow from seeds. All good fun stuff.

A friend of mine described it as ‘Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Universe meets BladeRunner’, although I’m inclined to think of it more as ‘Hitch-Hikers Guide meets Bridget Jones’. It’s ‘Bourne-like’ conspiracy story of a girl on the run from some seriously bad guys through this crazy universe that is so like our own in many ways, but exaggerated, magnified, by the cool ideas you get from science fiction; aliens, genetic technology, robotics, space travel etc etc.

If your readers are interested…if you visit http://www.elliequin.com on Christmas Day (and the next three days after), you can download the first book for free. My Christmas present to my fans!

There’s also the print version of the books which are also only available from Amazon, but I’m afraid I can’t make them free. :(

Are you a history buff? Do you have to do a lot of research for your stories?

I’ve always been a history geek. Just love reading history for fun. But I’m certainly no expert, nor academic about history. I’m more an ‘avid consumer’ of history. I gobble that stuff up. With TimeRiders I definitely decided from the early stages of planning to stick to the periods of history that fascinate me the most…simply because I wanted this series to be as much fun for me as the writer, as I hope it is for the reader.

So, good grief, it has been incredible fun messing around with the Roman Empire, Victorian London, the late cretaceous era, the American Civil War, Robin Hood and King Richard, the Golden Age of Piracy.

That’s been the light-hearted part – going back in time and fooling around with the way history was supposed to go. But there’s a much darker side to the series…and that’s going forward. Anyone who knows my adult books will know I am deeply pessimistic about our future. The arithmetic is not good; too many people and dwindling resources. Things will go bad, very bad, in the next half a century and it’s naïve in the extreme to think human ingenuity and sudden marvellous technological innovations (like ho-hum…’zero point energy’) will save us all. If you want a read that will frighten the hell out of you, then be my guest and try LAST LIGHT. To be honest…I’ve needed to write something like ELLIE QUIN to cheer me up. I spend far too much time looking into the future and seeing scary things.

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Unlock the code and win!
The above image depicts a scene from the recently released third book in the TimeRiders series, The Doomsday Code. Can YOU be the first to break the code embedded in the image and find out what it says? The first person to enter the correct answer below (following your mailing address, in the same box) to is going to win a limited edition TimeRiders T-shirt and a signed copy of The Doomsday Code.

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes, please. To enter, just fill out the form below with the correct code. Contest ends November 30. I’ll draw a name on December 1, and notify winner via email.

Good luck!

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