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...
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.
[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?
[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.?
[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?
[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.]
*****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.
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?
[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?
[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. ;)]
Favorite childhood book:
Tintin, I absolutely loved them!
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!
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:
About THE FURY:
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!!!
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.
GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!!!
GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway