Monday, February 27, 2012

Interview with Alexander Gordon Smith

Alexander Gordon Smith

 I will be meeting Alexander on March 5th and I figured I would ask him all event themed questions since I will be hearing mostly book and writing themed questions at the event.

Escape From Furnace
Lockdown (my review)
Solitary (my review)
Death Sentence 

New series
The Fury
Currently working on finishing the 2nd book 

Hi Kristina, thanks so much for interviewing me on your blog! It's awesome to be here!

1) If you could meet any 3 authors (dead or alive) who would they be?
Fantastic question! There are just so many to choose from! I'd love to meet Shakespeare, of course, and Dickens, and George Orwell. I'd absolutely love to meet Poe and Lovecraft too. You'd have to be careful if you brought all those authors back to life for a chat, though, as I think they'd probably all end up talking to each other (or arguing) and not to me! The living author I'd most love to meet is Stephen King, just to thank him for being such an inspiration. I'd also love to be able to meet me from the future – hopefully I'll still be an author – to find out in advance which books I was going to write!

2) What do you like most and least about touring?
Touring is one of my favourite parts of being a writer. I never thought I'd have a job where travelling the world and speaking to fans was part of my weekly routine! I especially love visiting the States, because you guys are so friendly, and so supportive, and so enthusiastic about books! And you have such a beautiful, hugely varied country, it's so awesome getting some time to see the sights. I often think I'll move over to the States at some point, and touring is a good chance to find my favourite spot! The other great thing is that you have to eat out pretty much every night, so it's an excuse to totally pig out. I'm usually a bit chunkier after a tour! The only thing I don't enjoy is being away from my family. I miss them so much when I'm on tour, but luckily the schedule is usually pretty hectic so there isn't much time to be homesick.

3) Was there any city that you were hoping to go to that isn't a part of this tour? 
There were loads! I was originally planning to head to LA as well, which had to be changed because there just wasn't enough time. I was in Utah last year and wanted to head to Vegas for a bit, but likewise it never happened. The problem is that I'm English, and I look at a map of the US and say 'well Seattle and LA are right next to each other, can't I just pop down for the afternoon?' Because over here distances are so small that you can drive pretty much anywhere in a day. In SLC I even asked a taxi driver if he could drive me down to Vegas, thinking it was like an hour away. Luckily he didn't, because it would have been about eight hours and a hell of a cab fare! I am aiming to visit every state in the US in the next few years, so I should get the chance to visit every major city too, but on this tour I'm doing Seattle, San Francisco, Philadelphia and New York which is pretty awesome!

4) What are you looking forward to most while on this tour?
Definitely meeting the fans. I have the most awesome fans on the planet, they're just so cool! When my books were first published I'd do events and nobody would show up, or there would be a few people there but they had no idea who I was. Well, both of those things do still happen, but less so now! More often now people will come to the events having read the books, which is so brilliant. One of my favourite things is when a fan shows up with a pile of creased, well-thumbed books that have obviously been read over and over, and wants me to sign them all. I love that! I've had such a great response from fans about this tour, so many have said they'll be coming to see my show. One fan is even bringing her puppy to a show because she named it Zee after a character in Furnace. How amazing is that!

5) What has been your favorite or most memorable signing event?
The first one is probably the most memorable, if only because it's the most terrified I have ever been! It was in Glasgow, a notoriously tough place to perform, in front of 200 kids. I had two jokes to break the ice, and neither of them got a single laugh. I was ready to throw myself out the window of the Mitchell Library!! But it turned out to be a great event. I think the signing I most cherish was at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, in 2010. My first year at the festival (in 2008) I had a few people at my event, and signed maybe ten books. But the author next to me had a queue of hundreds going all the way round the shop. I felt so embarrassed that so few people were interested in my book, but that author just leant over and said to me 'don't worry, we've all been there, it gets better!' Sure enough in 2010 the queue for my books was around the shop, and an author next to me had nobody, so I leant over to him and said exactly the same thing. Having so many fans line up for me to sign their books was just amazing, it was the first time it truly hit home that I was an author. I'll never forget it!

6) Favorite, most shocking and/or oddest question anyone has ever asked you at an event?
Somebody once said 'I haven't got enough money for a book, but if I give you 20p can I have your phone number?' I politely declined! The oddest questions tend to be things like 'do you have a helicopter?' 'Were you really locked inside Furnace?' 'Can you give me your books for free?' Things like that! The worst experience was when a man interrupted my event to tell me, and the audience, that my books were full of violence and should not be read by anyone! I was furious! I told him that if he'd actually read the books (which he hadn't) he'd see that although there is violence in them, the heart of the story is about hope, heroism and humanity, and the importance of friendship. Then I punched him in the nose. No, I didn't really punch him in the nose (as much as I wanted to), but he did look rather red-faced as he sloped off.

7) What was the last author event that you attended just as a fan?
I went to see Darren Shan when I was in Edinburgh for the festival last year. I'm a HUGE Shanster, and he was doing a special, one-off event where he condensed all of the Cirque du Freak books into a two-hour show. It was just amazing. I was also doing an event with Darren at the festival, which was so surreal, because I'd been a fan of his for so long and there I was alongside him on the stage. It was one of the best weekends ever!

8) Have you ever had anyone dress up for your event?
Yes! People do sometimes show up in homemade Furnace Penitentiary shirts and overalls, and somebody even turned up once with a gas mask on! I'm hoping he was dressed up as a Wheezer, and wasn't just a weirdo in a gas mask...

9) What was the coolest thing someone ever gave you at an event?
I don't get presents very often! Occasionally people give me fanfic stories they have written about Furnace, or pictures they have drawn, which is so cool. I am always happy to receive presents, though, if anybody wants to bring me one! :-)

10) What event prep do you do?
When I first started out, my event prep consisted mainly of throwing up in terror, crying and thinking of ways to avoid having to go on stage (I once even thought about throwing myself in front of a car – a slow-moving one – to break a limb or two). I used to be so scared of performing in front of people! After a few events, though, I realised just how much fun it was. Now I absolutely love it – I get withdrawal symptoms if I haven't done an event for a while! I don't do any prep, it's more fun if I just roll with it. The more informal the event, the more people seem to enjoy it!

11) Do you have any book taglines? A themed sentence for each book when personalized?
I usually sign books with "Don't have nightmares..." My handwriting is so bad, though, that a few people have looked at it and said "Don't have neighbours? Why can't I have neighbours?"

Thanks again for interviewing me! :-)  And hopefully I'll see some of your readers at the event, it will be great to meet you!

I loved reading these answers and I'm even more excited to meet Alex in person.

I just found the cover for Execution on Amazon and is that not the creepiest thing you have ever seen?! My favorite cover is Death Sentence it is intense and powerful. Execution is hard to for me to look at.

Will you be meeting Alex at any of his tour stop in the US?



Alba said...

Okay...I seriously need all the books *-*
I just own the first one T_T and just because it was a gift.
Wow! Alex seems such a nice person *___* I tend to relate the book to the author so I was really scared to read this interview lol, I'm weird like that, so I expected something dark and sinister even if I've yet to read his books I know now with this interview-OMG that guy who said those things about his books-_- why did he even continue reading them then??? hello? there are romance books around the corner ¬¬ - that you'll have an amazing time!! Say hi to him from me!!
You're so lucky you get to meet authors!!!!

thanks to you and Alex for the interview :D

Kristina said...

@Alba I loved reading this answers and I'm even more excited to meet him.