All About Alex Keller
Alex Keller has studied Ancient History, Archaeology and Egyptology, but in the end decided to be a writer.
‘Intelligently written, with plenty of wry humour that adds to its adult readability. Haywired is a fun fantasy adventure full of family secrets, a circus, pirates, steam punk machinery, dark twists and some excellent grimness. I look forward to the next one.’ Un:Bound.
Alex has written two books, Haywired and Rewired. He has always been a fan of fantastical worlds and bizarre characters and writing lets him explore these ideas to his heart’s content. Alex lives and writes in North London. Alex is also a member of NAWE (National Association of Writers in Education) and has public liability insurance of up to £10 million.
Alex Keller’s School Visits
During the visits, Alex is happy to work around the school timetable and alter the content and duration of the visit depending on your school’s wishes.
A whole day visit with Alex will involve either four workshop sessions or three workshop sessions and an assembly, depending on the school. Alex can also visit for half days if that would be preferable.
During the assemblies, Alex gives a talk on both of his books and what is steam punk. Essentially steam punk is the result of combining certain imagery you would normally associate with the 19th Century or thereabouts and combining it with ideas from genres such as science fiction or fantasy.
Also, time permitting and if the school wishes, Alex can read from his books and answer any questions the students may have.
Workshops tend to be 60 mins long and Alex works with the students to produce their own short stories which are then read out at the end of class. The content of these stories alters with the age of the students.
Years 3-4 write their own fairy tales while the older groups and secondary students may focus on more general adventure stories. However, Alex is prepared to alter the sessions to focus on particular aspects of the curriculum if the school wishes. For example, he has worked in one school where the students created back-stories for characters in order to aid their character creation abilities.
Alex will bring books with him on the day and these can be signed and purchased from Alex.
In the quiet village of Little Wainesford, Ludwig Von Guggenstein is about to have his unusual existence turned inside out. When he and his father are blamed for a fatal accident during the harvest, a monstrous family secret is revealed. Soon Ludwig will begin to uncover diabolical plans that span countries and generations while ghoulish machines hunt him down. He must fight for survival, in a world gone haywire.
An extract from Haywired chosen by Alex Keller:
When they arrived back at the apartments, Ludwig said good night and watched the Captain stroll off down the corridor.
He closed his door, turned the key, and walked over to the wash basin to begin clearing away the day’s grime. But as he lent over the water…
Glass few across the room. Ludwig covered his face and waited. When the glass finished falling, he looked up. On the other side of the room a hole had appeared where the window once was. Outside he could see something moving.
It was the head of a HELOT.
Ludwig scrambled towards the door as strange, dull thuds echoed into the room. He quickly glanced back. The HELOT coming through the window was very different from the one he had built with his father. As it stepped into his room, Ludwig saw eight long, metal legs coming out from underneath its body, ending in nothing more than sharp, cruel-looking points. Each time it took a step closer, the tips sliced into the ground.
Reviews of Haywired:
‘The reader is gripped throughout…intrigue and suspicion pour from the pages thanks to rich characterisation. There is also a dark hopelessness as the story weaves on, a sense of imminent foreboding caused by an all too familiar hand. Even though the subject matter maybe somewhat fantastical, there is a solid reality to this world, a physical quality that makes it unnerving… I am excited to find out what happens to his characters next and just what mesmerising spin Alex Keller will take us on in future incarnations.’ The Solitary Bee
‘Haywired is very different to the steampunk books I have read so far. The publishers are calling it a steampunk fairytale and I cannot come up with a better phrase to describe it, as that is exactly how it reads. The fairytale feel to the story is there from the very first page and at times it is as if the Brothers Grimm were alive and well and writing for a steampunk loving audience. Like many fairytales it is also relatively short, weighing in at a slim 170 pages, but even so it still manages to pack quite a punch. Of course, most adults know that the Grimm fairy tales were exactly that – grim… Haywired is like this as well – the story is deliciously dark in places.‘ Book Zone 4 Boys
‘An exciting and masterful adventure – Ace!’ Jon Mayhew, author of Mortlock and The Demon Collector – on Haywired
“There are worse people than me, boy. Much worse.” Mandrake von Guggenstein has escaped! Snatched on the day of his execution by a nightmare creature called Grilsgarter, the Terror of Beacon is loose again. The clock is ticking. Can brothers Ludwig and Hephaestus find him before their world is plunged into darkness again?
An extract from Rewired choosen by Alex Keller:
As soon as Ludwig heard the voice in the alley he cried out and bolted as fast as he could. It had been so close he had felt breath on his ear.
Ludwig ran, heading for the street in front of him. But when he got to the end of the alley an arm shot out, knocking him to the ground. He scrambled in the dirt and looked up. Standing over him were a boy and girl of maybe sixteen or seventeen. The girl had a long blade pointing right at Ludwig’s heart and the boy had a wicked smile on his face. Ludwig couldn’t help but notice, despite his terror, that she had swirling patterns across her face just like the Captain had.
‘What’s this, Desses?’ the girl asked the boy next to her. ‘It looks like we’ve caught ourselves a snooper.’ She knelt down, pressing the point of her weapon on Ludwig’s chest and making him yelp. ‘We don’t like snoopers, do we Desses? Who sent you? Was it Russ? No, I bet it was Stevie. Stevie should’ve told you what happened to the last snooper of his we caught. He wished the slavers got him.
Reviews of Rewired
‘This is the thrilling sequel to the ‘steampunk’ fairytaleHaywired. Once again the author has successfully touched the nerve cells of 11+ year olds by delivering a clever gothic horror adventure full of intrigue, suspense and plenty of humour thrown in.’ Lovereading for Kids
‘For anyone who enjoys a good story with an abundantamount of imagination and some of the most interesting characters you’ll find, then this is the book for you. It incorporates some great action and ‘crazy’ fighting scenes, and some fantastically strange machines that will keep you intrigued right to the very end. Please pick up a copy of this book, read it and then pass it on to your friends – you won’t be disappointed.’ Mr Ripley’s Enchanted Books
Recommendations & Reviews
‘The children really enjoyed your visit and the staff all thought you were very friendly and loved talking to you.’ Caroline Forgeron, teacher St. Michaels Prep, Otford
‘The feedback from the students has been very positive, especially from the writing workshops. Many students are still bringing in stories to show me and I am now looking at running a writing club as interest is so high.’ Susannah Philips, Skinner’s Academy, Hackney, London
‘Alex came in to work with my Year Five class over two consecutive Wednesday mornings. I chose him as my class has lots of potentially exciting (but reluctant) writers and I wanted them to be invigorated and inspired, whilst also improving the boring but essential skills of pace, descriptive detail and writing at length. His visits provided all of this and more; the children were completely absorbed in the writing tasks and produced some of their best work. They really enjoyed studying Haywired before his visit, and we have kept it as part of our Year Five curriculum. We would love to have Alex visit again next year. He was punctual, professional and really engaged with the children. Thanks!’ Katy Lawrence, teacher, St. Jude’s School, Herne Hill
“Just wanted to officially say thank you for your wonderful creative writing workshops on Friday. Getting reluctant year 9 boys to connect with anything remotely to do with reading is difficult at the best of times but you managed to engage them in the activities and I was amazed at how focused some of them were with their writing. One of them even wanted to come back at break to carry on with his story! I’ve also had some great feedback from the teachers in the class and now have a waiting list for your books!” Barbara Band – Head of Library & Resources, The Emmbrook School
To Make a Booking
To make an enquiry about Alex Keller, or any of the other authors, poets & illustrators listed on this website, please phone Trevor Wilson on +44 (0) 1535 656015, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org