Simon Fox on Deadlock and the best thrillers for tweens and teens

Deadlock by Simon Fox. Book cover and author photo.


This month our Macaw subscribers are getting stuck into a thrilling and pacey adventure that we were completely gripped by when we read it! Deadlock by Simon Fox is an edge-of-your seat adventure, action-packed and perfect for fans of Alex Rider. It's also a story with real heart and characters young readers will relate to and empathise with. It was an easy pick for our Macaw boxes and we're thrilled that Simon has agreed to tell us more about what inspired the story and which thrillers for tweens and early teens he recommends you read next.

What inspired you to write Deadlock?

I just loved the idea of the perfect thief.  Someone who can get into any lock and open any door.   And why shouldn’t it be a kid who’s doing it for the right reasons?  If the bad guys lock things away, the good guys have got to be able to steal them haven’t they?

Are any of the characters or elements of the story based on real people or events?

No, but I did think about a reworking of the Raffles stories by E W Hornung when I was first planning.  These books are pretty old but they’re still exciting and the main character is a gentleman thief who breaks into safes and is a master of disguise.  Except Raffles’ motives are pretty selfish and he relies on brute force a lot of the time.  I think Archie has a little more finesse!

What do you hope young readers will take away form the story and how it unfolds?

Mostly I want them to enjoy the adventure.   I really hope they can imagine themselves in some of the tricky situations Archie finds himself in and think about how they might approach them.   Archie has some pretty difficult choices to make so maybe the reader can think about how they might act in the same situation.  And I really hope they like Bunny because in lots of ways, she’s the real star of the story.

How do you think things would have worked out differently if Archie had handed himself in?

I would normally say to everyone that if you’re in trouble, go to the police, but in this case Archie had some specific reasons not to.  And his dad asked him for help so it was probably right that he didn’t hand himself in.  If Archie doesn’t work things out, I think things will turn bad very quickly for Archie’s dad.  Sometimes, you’ve got to do what you think is best.

Can you tell us anything about what the future holds for Archie?

There are plenty of locked doors out there and things that are hidden which shouldn’t be.  Of course, he has to get out of this mess first, doesn’t he!  No Spoilers…

Why did you choose to write books for this age group?

Because young people have the best imaginations for adventure.  Much better than adults.

Do you have a favourite place to write?

I tend to write in the main library in Brighton because there are too many distractions at home.  And I like picking out characters for my stories from the people around me.   I’m the one staring into space, trying to work out how Archie can get out of his next mess.

Which other thrillers for this age group would you recommend our subscribers read next?

I love Anthony Horowitz’s Alex Rider books as well as the Young Samurai series by Chris Bradford.  And if you’re prepared to be a bit more adventurous try The Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas which is probably the best adventure story of all time.

Copies of our Deadlock pack, including a copy of the book and loads of fun activities to go with it, are now available for individual purchase. Grab a copy while stocks last!

This post includes affiliate links to our page, meaning we receive a small percentage of the sale should you purchase through them. Additionally, a percentage from all sales on the platform goes directly to local UK bookshops which is an initiative we're delighted to support!


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