Ross Welford worked as a business journalist before becoming a freelance writer and television producer, working on shows such as The Big Breakfast, This Morning and Bridezillas. He lives in London with his wife, children, dog and tropical fish.
Ross's highly acclaimed debut novel, Time Travelling with a Hamster was shortlisted for nearly every major literary award including the Costa Book Award and he has now written eight middle grade novels; What Not to Do If You Turn Invisible, The 1000 Year Old Boy, The Dog Who Saved the World, The Kid Who Came From Space, When We Got Lost in Dreamland, Into the Sideways World and The Monkey Who Fell From the Future.
The Monkey Who Fell from the Future (HarperCollins Children's Books)
When a monkey falls out of a screen and into a live television show, it starts a chain of events that sees two children accidentally sucked into the future. We asked Ross Welford to tell us more about his new book, The Monkey Who Fell from the Future.
Read a Chapter from The Monkey Who Fell from the Future
Q&A with Ross Welford
1. What happens in your new book, The Monkey Who Fell from the Future?
In the year 2425, Ocean Mooney and her friend Duke dig up a tablet computer that was buried in a time capsule in 2023. Meanwhile, in 2023, teen genius Kylie and her cousin Thomas demonstrate the "time tablet" live on TV. Things do not go as planned, resulting in a time-swap and a massive adventure!
2. What was the spark of inspiration for this book?
I started by imagining what it would be like if the things we have today - phones, computers, gadgets - ended up in a museum in the future. Will they still work?
3. What draws you to writing about time travel?
I guess it's a great way of making observations about the present.
4. Why did you decide to go to 2,425, and to make our future world in decline? Did the pandemic help shape your ideas?
I am sure the pandemic did influence me, although I did not want anybody to die. Instead, the population in 2425 is reduced by hardly anyone being born. I call it The Great Silence. I'd already written a sort of 'futuristic' world in The Kid Who Came From Space, although that wasn't earth. I just wanted to try something else.
5. How did you decide what this future world would look like - for example, no computers and every child's dream - no school!
It all came from imagining what would happen if the population declined dramatically and suddenly. After a while, nothing electronic would work any more; there'd be no more petrol for cars and planes; electricity would be rare, as would schools and so on. (Having so many people on the planet causes problems, for sure - all the same, there are benefits as well.)
6. What would you, personally, expect to see by 2,425? And what would you most want to see?
Oh crikey, I have NO idea! Humans have always been very good at solving the problems that we encounter and I don't see why that would change. Personally, I'm cautiously optimistic that we will avoid the world-ending calamities that are so often predicted. What I would most like to see is an end to war. (Sadly I'm less optimistic about that.)
7. Kylie, the time travel genius in this story, is an Australian prodigy. How did she develop as a character, and her relationship with her cousin Thomas?
When I was Thomas's age I had a younger Australian cousin come to live with us so I drew on my memories of that to create a picture of their relationship. (My cousin and I became - and remain - good friends, but I imagined another scenario in which we didn't!)
8. Who is your favourite supporting character?
Monsieur Lumiere - the uncle of Duke - is one of my favourite characters ever. He is a travelling showman, touring with a run-down exhibition of 20th and 21st century items including the world's last-remaining film of Star Wars. It was fun creating him and his funny way of speaking.
9. You often include animals in your books - why is that, and why did you choose a monkey for this adventure?
I like animals and they seem to fit well in my books. And who doesn't like a monkey? Pierre was in the very first scene I wrote for this book. That scene didn't make it to the final version, but he was always going to feature.
10. What are you writing currently?
I'm not sure I can say what I'm writing now. I think it's supposed to be a bit of a secret!
When you're not at your desk:
1. If you could be anything other than an author, what would you be?
I'd love to have been a cartoonist. I can draw quite well, but I would need more training and practice to make it a job.
2. What famous person would you most like to meet, and why?
J.K.Rowling without a doubt. She is a complete genius who has influenced children's writing forever.
3. If you were given a ticket to travel anywhere you wanted, where would you go?
Somewhere warm, with a clean beach, and fresh seafood, and a beach-bar, and a hammock and a good book.