A Ticket for Neil Gaiman’s Book Tour
Posted by Laurel Wanrow
I’m a Goodreads fan of several authors–real ones, who have book releases. Back in May I read a post by Neil Gaiman announcing he had several upcoming book tours, and there were still 100 tickets left for the Washington DC one! Thrilled, I jumped in and got a spot.
I journeyed downtown to take my place in the very long first-come-first-served line and began a wait to enter Lisner Auditorium and get my book.
If you’ve never done this, there is always more waiting than actual event, but that’s how it goes when you are famous, and you promise to sign each and every copy of The Ocean at the End of the Lane. 1500 enthusiastic readers cram your event.
It’s exciting, clearly tiring for the author who pulls it off with calm charm for days in a row –we’re his 9th stop on the England and US tour–and yet I still sigh watching him and hope that one day I may be in his shoes.
A few little fun appearances courtesy of our host Bookstore, Politics and Prose…
…and the talk begins.
Neil relays how this book is an accident. He intended to write a story for his wife, away recording new music, who he misses very much. She doesn’t really get fantasy writing, so he decides to pen a story for her about the things she does like: him, honesty and feelings. The short story morphs into a novella and then–hooray!–his first adult novel in eight years.
He writes with a fountain pen, in a notebook, completes the novel, then types it up. As he does so, each night he reads to his wife Amanda the portion he has typed that day. And he reads to us, chapter four, because he’s now bored with reading chapter one.
A few more stories, questions, and another brief reading and we are called by groups to line up for the signing.
Did I mention there are 1500 of us?
Fortunately I am in the third group, and though I’ve had great views and photos from my fourth row seat, I cannot resist snapping more before I must walk to the top of the auditorium to get in line, then down again.
Up on the stage, moving surprisingly fast, I’m finally to the table and for all of 20 seconds, I stand in front of Neil Gaiman while he signs my two allowed books.
I ask a question, which I always come up with in advance for this moment: “Do you write more than one story at a time?”
“Yes,” he answers. “Though I know I shouldn’t.”
There are no huge revelations gained over the evening, no words of wisdom that will change how or what I write. It is simply a nice event, an opportunity to mingle with other fans and be happily in awe in the presence of someone who creates incredibly great stories.