Thursday, August 22, 2013


I never thought there would be a time where I would go completely bananas and have an extreme fangirling moment. Well, ladies and gents, the time has come and you have none other to blame than ALEXANDER GORDON SMITH!!! Today, I have the absolute pleasure of hosting this incredible author on my little blog as part of the 2ND ANNUAL AUTHORS ARE ROCKSTARS TOUR!!! He is one of my favorite authors ever, and I still can't believe I got to interview him. For any of you who don't know him yet, here is why I think he is a world class ROCKSTAR!!!

In his ESCAPE FROM FURNACE series, he built a world so unique and full of terror, you can't NOT get drawn in. He has the ability to simply grab you and pull you right into the world with his characters. You FEEL like you're standing right there with them, living through every horrible thing they experience.

He created one of my all-time favorite characters! Donovan will forever have a place in my heart!

He has the ability to scare the living bejeezus out of me with nothing more than a short sentence. The only other author who's ever been able to scare me like this, is Stephen King.

He chats with his fans and is very generous, giving away books and bookmarks.

He holds writing seminars and goes to schools to share his knowledge.

He is just an un-freakin-believably talented author who will drag you into his worlds with every word you read, and even if you tried, you could not escape the grip his astonishing stories will hold on. If you haven't pick up any of his books yet, you are SO missing out big time!!!

Now, I could go on and on, but I know you guys didn't come here to listen to me. Just a quick note, though - you can find my review for FUGITIVES, the fourth book in the ESCAPE FROM FURNACE series right here. Well, but enough from me, it is time to hear from the man himself, so I give you...

The Interview

Welcome and thank you so much for stopping by my blog today, Mr. Smith. I feel so very honored that you're taking time out of your busy schedule to answer a few of my questions. 

Hi Ina, it’s awesome to be here, thanks so much for having me! :-)

1. For readers who might not know you yet, tell us a little bit about yourself and your most recent book, THE FURY.

My full name is Alexander Gordon Smith, but call me Gordon (my parents switched my first two names around so my initials wouldn’t spell GAS). I guess I’m best known as the author of the Escape From Furnace series. My new stand-alone novel, The Fury, has just been published! The Fury is a nice, gentle, relaxing, romantic story about what would happen if one day, without warning, every single person in the world tried to kill you. Everybody you go near – your mum and dad, your friends and teachers, brothers and sisters, strangers in the street – tries to tear you to pieces. The twist of the story is the main characters essentially turn people into zombies just by being near them, but as soon as these characters die, or get away, the ‘zombies’ go back to normal, they just go back to being mums and dads and friends and so on. So the story follows these teenage characters who have absolutely no idea what’s going on, who trigger ‘The Fury’ in everyone they meet, and who discover it all ties in with something much, much bigger. It becomes this huge, epic, relentless, supernatural nightmare of a tale. I really hope people enjoy it!

 [Ina: I am in the middle of reading The Fury right now, and boy, is it intense, especially since you started it right off with a bang! I can't wait to see how it all unfolds. :)]


2. Has writing always come easy to you, or have you ever suffered from writer's block where you just didn't know what to do? If so, how did you manage to get out of it?

I’m not sure if it has always come easy to me, but I have always enjoyed it. As a kid I would sit and write stories for hours at a time. I loved that every story you started was like opening a door onto an unexplored world where anything could happen. I was hooked on exploring those worlds, and I still find it addictive. I think as long as you’re writing a story that you enjoy then you want to keep going with it, you want to find out what happens. For me, the only way of doing that is writing – I don’t plan stories at all – I have to keep writing or I’ll never know what happens to these characters. That need to know kind of blasts away writer’s block, you just smash through it in your desperation to get to the end of the story! But yes, there are definitely times when the writing is tough, when nothing seems to gel. I think it’s because your brain is struggling to find its way into a scene. The trick for me is to stop writing and do something else related to the story – draw some pictures, make a map, take some photos, do some character studies. This gives your brain a chance to work its way around a block. But as long as you’re enjoying what you’re writing, you’ll get through it! 

[Ina: That's a very good point. I imagine you doing other things related to your story, would give a different perspective of it all, as well.]


3. When writing a story – whether it's a sequel in a series or a completely new project – what is the most important part of the process for you? Is it outlining the plot, developing characters, etc.?

Like I say, I never plan a story – I just don’t have the patience for it, and I always think that if you know what’s going to happen, so do your characters, and they have this safety net to fall back on, so their actions are going to be different than if they had no idea what was going to happen. It sounds weird, but that’s definitely the case with me – if I know where the story is going my characters become a little cocky because they know their fate already. The most vital thing for me is to get to know the characters – if you know everything about them, and I mean, then they come alive in your head, they become real people. That sounds like such a cliché, but it’s a cliché because it’s true. If you know them well enough they start making their own decisions. Alex in Furnace was definitely like that – I’d have a rough idea about what he might do, and he’d say, ‘Are you kidding, that will get me killed!’ And he’d go off and do something else, but it worked because it was his decision. So yes, I’d say getting to know the characters is the most important part of the process for me. Saying that, the most vital stage, and the most fun part for me, is simply sitting down and starting – if you throw yourself into a story hard and fast enough, that momentum keeps you going right until the last word.

[Ina: Haha I could totally see Alex arguing with you about what he should be doing at certain times during the series. He does have a mind of his own after all. ;)]


4. Your characters never seem to have it easy. Something terrible and frightening seems to be lurking behind every corner. While reading your ESCAPE FROM FURNACE books – especially, SOLITARY – I found myself fighting for air, feeling as if I was right there with Alex and his friends. What is it that draws you to write books that are dark, and somewhat disturbing?

Thanks! :-) I love horror for a number of reasons. The main one is that I love to be scared, and when you’re in the middle of a story like Furnace or The Fury, and you have no idea what’s going to happen to these characters that have become your friends, that’s genuinely terrifying. You really feel like you’re writing to survive, like you’re living the nightmare, and I love that feeling. I also love horror because it’s the only genre where there are truly no rules, literally anything can happen, and as a writer that gives you unlimited freedom to just go anywhere with it! Mainly, though, I love to write dark and disturbing stories because I honestly think that when things are at their worst you see people at their best, people fighting tooth and nail for their friends, families, beliefs. Horror for me is all about heroism and humanity and hope. I’m a massive optimist at heart, and even though terrible things happen in these books, there is always a brilliant, bright streak of hope blazing through them. I think that relentless, unbreakable hope – the knowledge that people have what it takes to survive – is the reason I love writing horror so much.

[Ina: This might sound silly, but I find when reading a darker, edgier story, I tend to connect more with the characters because they seem more vulnerable, at times. It's like you get to know them better than you would in any other circumstance, if that makes sense.]


5. Out of all the books you have written so far, which one is your favorite? Which one has been the most fun to write? And, do you have favorites when it comes to your characters?
That’s a really difficult question – it’s a bit like asking a parent to pick their favourite child! :-) I like all my books for different reasons. The Fury, I think, is the best book I have written, because I put everything I had into it, blood, sweat and tears. But the story I’m proudest of is definitely the Furnace series. It was an incredibly personal story to write, partly because Alex is based on me when I was a teenager, and my own rocky experiences. When I look back, that story feels completely real to me – I wasn’t an author writing books, I was stuck inside Furnace. Seriously, I don’t remember much at all from my own life during the years I was writing these books, but I remember every second inside Furnace, every sight and smell and sound. Those are real memories to me, they always will be. I like to think I’ll be writing books for the rest of my years, but Furnace will always be incredibly special to me, it will always be my story. And as for characters… I think I’d have to agree with you and say Donovan, from Furnace. I’m the oldest of four siblings, and he is the big brother I never had.

[Ina: You did an incredible job with Furnace. Even I thought I was down there with all the weird smells and terrifying noises. It still makes me cringe and shiver just thinking about it. And YAY for Donovan!!! I absolutely LOVED what you did in SOLITARY!!!]


6. In your latest book, THE FURY, the whole world – even their own parents – turns on three teenagers, trying to kill them. What inspired you to write this particular story?

The main inspiration was actually a game that we had to play at school. It was called Murderball, and it really lived up to its name! Our sadistic PE teacher would give you a rugby ball and a five-second head start, then he’d send the rest of the class after you. It was terrifying, because you could hear them coming, they’d be howling and screaming and if you ever looked over your shoulder (always a fatal mistake) you’d see thirty people who looked like demons. They were feral. All they cared about was catching you and killing you. I could never outrun them, so after a few seconds I’d be on the floor with thirty people – thirty friends – piled on top of me punching and kicking and biting and strangling. Every time it happened I honestly thought I was going to die! And the weird thing was that when it was my turn to do the chasing, all I cared about was catching the prey, something happened inside my head. It was frightening. Years later I must have still been scarred by this, because I remember asking what would have happened if one day everyone had come after me – not a game, but literally so they could tear me to pieces. And the idea for The Fury was born!

[Ina: Wow, Murderball?! I would be surprised if there was a person who hasn't been scarred by this kind of an experience. But hey, in the end you are the one who won the game since you turned around and made it into an amazing story. Murderball 0, Gordon 1. :)]


7. What is the best and/or most rewarding part of being an author for you, personally? Is it writing your books, sharing your finished work with readers, sharing your knowledge with others during seminars?

This is a great question, and a tough one to answer. In some ways, the writing is reward enough in itself. I always said that even if I wasn’t being paid to write these stories I’d be writing them anyway, because I absolutely love it. For me, it’s like sitting down to read a book or watch a really great television series, only you get some say in what happens. I would happily spend all my time in these worlds with these characters, it’s like having a never-ending adventure! It feels like the absolute polar opposite of work. Having said that, the most rewarding part has to be interacting with the fans. I have the best fans in the world, they are so awesome. That’s the thing that has blown me away, the emails and letters and messages and fanfic and fan art I get every single day, people telling me how much they enjoyed the books and how much the stories mean to them. It’s astonishing, and humbling, and something I never really imagined would happen. I’ll never forget going to one signing in Seattle where two awesome fans were dressed up in Furnace outfits and one had even brought along her puppy, which she’d named Zee after one of the characters in the book. That was so awesome!! It means so much to me that people take the time to get in touch. And it’s something I actually said to the fans in a letter at the end of Execution (the fifth Furnace book): I never would have been able to finish the series without all that support. Those letters kept me going, gave me strength. They still do. That’s why I always say that the books I write aren’t just my stories, they belong to the fans, they are their stories too.

[Ina: Wow, I just got goosebumps! Oh, I remember the dog! You had a picture of him on your facebook. He looked so cute!]


8. Is there a book out there you wish you would have written? Some brilliant storyline you wish you would have come up with?

I think just about every good book I read I end up wishing I’d written! I’m always hearing of book and film ideas and thinking “Noooooooooooo! I should have thought of that!” Sometimes it's almost heart breaking, because you've just had this experience with a book and you want it to be your story, and you're seething with jealousy and you just want to kill the author… Anyway, best not go there. :-) I think all authors are quite insecure and a bit jealous at heart. Every time I read something by Stephen King, or Clive Barker, I get that 'I want to be you!' feeling. And certainly with Something Wicked This Way Comes, which is one of my favourite books of all time, and which I have decided I did actually write, whatever anyone else says. :-) But the jealousy is a good thing, I think, because it stops us getting laid back, keeps us on our toes. I mean, every time I read a good book I feel like I have to up my game, I have to be a better writer.

[Ina: It's definitely a great motivatio. Unfortunately, I'm not a writer, but there are a ton of books out there I wish I would have written. ;)]


9. OK, well, this might be a tough question. If you had to live one of your protagonists' life for one whole day, which one would you choose? Would you rather be trapped deep below the earth with The Warden and Wheezers breathing down your neck? Or would you prefer to live in a world where every single person was out to kill you? 

Ha, this is an awesome question!! :-) It’s a really tricky one to answer, too – I tend to come up with ideas based on my own worst fears, so both scenarios would be an absolute nightmare! Part of me would rather be in The Fury, because of what happens to those main characters – I can’t say too much without spoiling it, but having those abilities would be kind of cool. I think I’d pick Furnace, though. I feel like I have already survived that story once, and I think I could do it again. Weirdly, I get nostalgic for Furnace Penitentiary and the Wheezers and the Warden and all the people I met down there. I pine for it, sometimes. Despite the horror, those were some amazing times. Living out Alex’s life there for another day would be a great chance to catch up with everyone – I miss you guys!!
[Ina: Aw, I miss them, too! I think there might be a re-read in the near future. ;)] 


Quickie questions:

Favorite childhood book:
Tintin, I absolutely loved them!

Favorite author:
Well, a little obvious maybe but certainly true, it has to be Stephen King (with Clive Barker coming a close second).

Favorite place to write and/or read:
In my house – I have a very short attention span and can’t handle any distractions!

Favorite thing to do when you're not writing:
Thinking about writing, and playing video games. So many video games.

Favorite style of music (I love music, so I just had to squeeze this one in):
Hans Zimmer when I’m writing, rock when I’m not.

Favorite thing to do to find inspiration:
I love to go on long walks with my iPod on, listening to movie soundtracks. The ideas just pour into my head. I’m so lucky to be able to call that my job!

Thank you again so, so much for being on my blog today, and for spending some of your precious time answering all my questions. And another HUGE thank you for creating one of my favorite characters in Donovan “D”!

It has been a real pleasure, thank you! :-)


 About the Author:

Alexander Gordon Smith, 33, is best known as the author of the Escape From Furnace Series, made up of Lockdown, Solitary, Death Sentence, Fugitives and Execution.

His new series, The Fury, has just been released in the UK and comes out in the States in 2013.

He also wrote The Inventors - which was runner-up in the national Wow Factor Award - and The Inventors and the City of Stolen Souls, both of which were co-authored by his eleven-year-old brother Jamie. 

He is the author of two creative writing handbooks, Inspired Creative Writing and Writing Bestselling Children's Books, a number of screenplays that are currently in development, several non-fiction books and hundreds of short stories and articles.

Gordon is the founder of Egg Box Publishing, an independent, non-profit imprint designed to publish and promote talented new writers and poets, and is the co-owner of Fear Driven Films, a production company filming its first feature in 2013.

He is also the founder of Inkling Studios, a brand new venture which specialises in creating books, films, television programmes and computer games for children and young adults. He actively encourages people of all ages to read and write, and runs creative writing talks and workshops across the world. In 2009 he was named by the Courvoisier Future 500 as one of the most promising young entrepreneurs in the United Kingdom.

To find out more, check out his full biography on his website.

Where to stalk Gordon:

Website       Facebook       Twitter       LOCKDOWN on Facebook



Goodreads Description:

From the creator of the Escape from Furnace series, a ferocious epic of supernatural terror, perfect for Stephen King fans

Imagine if one day, without warning, the entire human race turns against you, if every person you know, every person you meet becomes a bloodthirsty, mindless savage . . . That’s the horrifying reality for Cal, Brick, and Daisy. Friends, family, even moms and dads, are out to get them. Their world has the Fury. It will not rest until they are dead.

In Alexander Gordon Smith’s adrenaline-fueled saga, Cal and the others must uncover the truth about what is happening before it destroys them all. But survival comes at a cost. In their search for answers, what they discover will launch them into battle with an enemy of unimaginable power.


THE FURY is available NOW!!!

Amazon         Barnes & Noble         The Book Depository



The publisher, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), is so generous as to offer up a copy of THE FURY (unsigned) to ONE lucky winner! To enter simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013


I have the pleasure to be a part of the MADE TO FORGET blog tour. Today you will get a teaser of the main character ELSABETHA. Don't forget to enter the GIVEAWAY!!!


“Don’t let that wound your ego.
I’m practically a stranger to myself.”


About the Book:

There’s something that lies within my memory. Hidden in the dark. Something that can kill me and those that I love. But I was in an accident, covered in mystery and deception. And my memory…was lost. There are those who want me to remember. I don’t trust them. And those

I do trust…are fighting for me to forget.

Elsabetha Ellery wants to get her memory back, even if it kills her.

After waking up in a hospital with no memory, Elsabetha quickly learns those who claim to be her friend are anything but. And those who are her true friends keep themselves unseen.

Stuck with piecing together her broken memories alone, Elsa struggles with having faith in those she trusts and heeding the warnings of the dangers in recovering her memory. Ignoring them, she faces heavy consequences. Ones she doesn’t see until it’s too late, and a life is lost.


About the Author:

A Kansas native, Samantha LaFantasie spends her free time with her husband and three kids. Writing has always been a passion of hers, forgoing all other desires to devote to this one obsession, even though she often finds herself arguing with her characters through much of the process. She’s primarily a fantasy writer but often feels pulled to genres such as sci-fi, romance, and others.

Among her writing credentials, she’s a board member of the Kansas Writer’s Association and has founded her own critique group, lovingly named, The Fighting Hamsters.

Samantha loves to take time to enjoy other activities such as photography and playing her favorite game of all time, Guild Wars 2.

Want more from Samantha? Keep up with her at any of her digital hangouts.



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