Time Travelling with a Hamster is a truly original debut novel from an extraordinarily talented new voice in children’s fiction. Here the book’s author Ross Welford tells us more about his hilarious, funny and brilliant debut novel.
Having my first novel accepted by a world-class publisher was both flattering and surprising; to have it selected as Waterstone’s Book of the Month in the UK is more than I could ever have hoped for.
The idea for Time Travelling With A Hamster began when I lived in Sweden about three years ago. There was a shed in the woods that I would pass every morning while walking my dog. It was a tumble-down, overgrown lean-to with a broken door, and I imagined that it concealed the entrance to a secret bunker.
Well, the shed became a garage, the secret bunker turned out to contain a time machine, and the story now takes place not in Sweden but in the north-east of England, where I grew up. It also turned out, slightly to my surprise, to be a children’s book – about a boy called Al, who has one chance to save his dad’s life. But to do it, he has to travel back to 1984…
So, for want of a better word, it’s a sci-fi novel – which also surprised me. But I wanted it to be true to life as well. That is: funny and sad, unexpected and ordinary, diverse and domestic, because life is all of those things. I hope I managed it.
My only remaining hope is that you and other readers like the story as much as I do. And that the real Alan Shearer doesn’t mind having a fictional hamster named after him!
Ross Welford was a journalist and television producer before becoming a full-time writer. He lives in London with his wife, children, a border collie and several tropical fish. This is his first novel.