I was able to cross off one of my bucket list authors this month. Neil Gaiman.
Neil. Freaking. Gaiman.
On Thursday, March 8th I attended An Evening with Neil Gaiman in Cincinnati OH.
I fist discovered Neil Gaiman’s books in 2016 – obviously I was living under a rock for the first 28 years of my life – and have been working my way through his works ever since. If I had to choose, I would probably say my favorite books are Neverwhere, Stardust, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane.
Neil has pretty much solidified his spot in my favorite authors list. When my bookish bestie blew my phone up with the news that he was coming to Cincinnati, I could hardly contain my excitement. Oh, and the tickets were only $5 a pop. There was no way in hell I was going to miss this!
Here is what I learned from the event…
- Back in 2013, Neil Gaiman gave a lecture for The Reading Agency (to watch a video of this lecture and/or read the transcription you can do so here → Neil Gaiman lecture in full: Reading and Obligation). Neil began the evening reading this lecture for us. I must say, it was amazing. More like an ode to bookworms. If you have 25 minutes to spare, I highly encourage you to watch it. You can also read the transcription, but I feel like it is more impactful coming straight from Neil.
- “What was it like to be friends with Ray Bradbury?” Neil responded that they were friends in a “slow and odd way.” He mentioned that he met Ray when he was on his Death is a Lonely Business book tour and that they kept bumping into each other at events like comic cons.
- “What is your ideal pizza?” Neil disclosed that he wasn’t sure, but that he’s fairly certain there’d be mushrooms involved.
- At the time of this event, Neil had just returned to the United States after being away in South America for the shooting of the TV mini-series for Good Omens. Apparently, Terry Pratchett’s last wish for Neil was for him to make sure that Good Omens made it onto the screen.
- “Will you ever appear in a cameo role in any of the film/TV adaptations of your books?” Neil & Terry Pratchett had always joked that they would both appear in a cameo for Good Omens. Their plan was to do a scene where they would be in the background in a sushi restaurant eating sushi. Neil felt like he couldn’t do the scene solo without Terry. Instead, Terry’s infamous hat and scarf make an appearance hung up on a coat stand in Aziraphale’s bookstore. Neil himself will be making a small cameo appearance in episode #4 as a intoxicated man passed out in a almost empty movie theatre.
- “What other profession would you do if you were not a writer?” Neil joked that he wouldn’t be able to be anything other than a writer because he has no other marketable skills. All joking aside, he feels like he is doing what he is meant to be doing.
- “Do you have a Douglas Adams story?” Neil said that in person Douglas was tall and clumsy. He said Douglas was not the type of author who loved writing, but he loved that he wrote something.
- “Is The Ocean at the End of the Lane about yourself as a child?” Neil responded that he wrote TOatEotL for his wife so she would know what he was like as a boy. The boy in that story is definitely him.
- “Will they ever make a proper film adaptation of one of you books?” Neil laughed, but revealed that he was very fond of Coraline and Stardust. He did mention that the version of How to Talk to Girls at Parties is very strange…. but that he loved it.
- “What is your formula for success?” He doesn’t do the same thing twice.
- Neil was a journalist when he was younger (20s) & basically made up lies during interviews about who he had all written for. He then made it his life goal to write for all the big publications that he had lied about writing for.
- One of the keys to Neil success, in his opinion, is that he has never limited himself as an author. He likes the freedom of being able to write a book like American Gods, and then turn around and write a book like Coraline.
- “How do you develop a writing style?” Neil laughed and said you don’t set off to have a style. You just need to write a lot and people will eventually start recognizing that it’s you.
- “What are you currently reading?” To which he responded “a small index card”
- “What scares you?” Neil admitted that he is scared of things happening to his children, no control, short sightedness, and leaving the world less hospitable than when he arrive.
- “What gives you hope?” Children give Neil hope. He is also given hope by the fact that people can change.
- Prior to this event, Neil signed 2,000 copies of the paperback version of Norse Mythology. *Yes, I did buy one. Also yes, I already owned a hardback signed copy that I had picked up from my local bookstore when the book first came out. No, I don’t have a problem…. Did you see the new cover?!
- Neil first decided that he wanted to write Norse Mythology back in November 2008. Had he had known it would have been a #1 best seller, he would have finished it much quicker.
- “What has been the biggest surprise of your writing career?” He joked that his writing career has been the biggest surprise of his writing career. He started off writing as a way to feed his family and see his name on the spines of books, he never anticipated he would be where he is now.
- “Do you Google yourself?” *This was my question! I geeked out a little bit that he chose my question to answer* He responded that the demon Crowley actually invented Google (lol)… He said that back in his younger days he did google himself and keep up with what was being said about himself in the media, but not as much anymore.
- “Where has been the oddest place where inspiration hit?” Neil embarked on a story about when he visited China back in 2010. He said that he was visiting the archeological ruins of a Buddhist Monastery when he noticed some locals selling tourist trinkets. After declining all the souvenirs, the man pulled out a box from under the table that contained the remains of a human elbow. Neil politely declined the invitation to purchase the elbow, but the story he has yet to write is going to be about someone who buys the elbow, and all the trouble it will cause.
Are you a Neil Gaiman fan? If so, which of his books is your favorite?
Which authors are on your “author bucket list”?