Welcome to my
online journal...

My name is Alexander Gordon Smith, and I'm the author of various books including The Inventors series and the brand new Furnace series.

This is my blog, and is where I talk about books, writing and, well, probably other stuff too...


Just a quick post tonight because I'm sure you're all dying to know how I did on my Japanese test. Right? No? Oh, okay, well I can't tell you anyway because I won't find out until next week! I did seem to forget almost everything I'd learned, though, which isn't good. I'd forgotten how stressful it was to take an exam!

So anyway, it's just been another day of writing. I say 'just' but it is actually really exciting. Furnace 3 is glowing white hot at the moment as the action heats up, but it has become very violent... Even when compared to the first two... I hope my editors (in the UK and the US) don't panic too much! I've just passed the 35,000-word mark.

I'm just having a quiet night in tonight. Last night I cooked a stew and took it round to Mum's to give her a night off the cooking. Me, Mum and Jamie ended up playing a riddle game where you have to solve puzzles. It's called Mind Trap and I'd really recommend it to anyone wanting to stretch their brain power, or for anyone wanting to write mystery books for that matter. It was lovely spending some time with Mum and Jamie anyway.

Oh, and I got such a lovely email the other day from a lady called Lynda in New Zealand. She said some lovely things about my creative writing book, Inspired Creative Writing, which is always nice to hear. But the best part was when she finished the email with this offer:

There is absolutely no need to reply - but should you ever visit New Zealand, drop me a line and I'll bake a batch of scones and invite you to tea :-)

Scones and tea! I think that's the nicest offer I've ever had! Lynda, if I am ever in New Zealand I shall take you up on that, thank you (and I will reply to your email very soon)!

Watashi no namae wa Gordon desu

Last night went pretty well, there was a good turn out up at uni and the readers were all great. It was still a shame that mum couldn't make it as her piece of life writing would have been a nice contrast to the poetry and prose, and just as interesting. But we did the best we could without her! Nathan was pretty chuffed with how many copies of the anthology we sold (plus the ones sold the night before in London), which is all money that gets pumped back into the egg box coffers for more fantastic books. Fab!

I have spent most of the day writing, which is good. Passed the 30,000-word mark for Furnace 3 today, which is a huge milestone psychologically as I always see that as the half-way mark (even though the books have tended to be a bit longer). The story has also reached a vital turning point at exactly the place I wanted it to, which is cool. It's definitely been the hardest of the three to write so far, but I'm really enjoying it and things will only get more exciting in the second half...

Now I'm just putting off doing a bit of Japanese revision. Yup, I have started learning Japanese, mainly in the hope that one day I'll have a book translated into the language and turned into a film by Studio Ghibli (the latter in my top five of the most amazing dreams I can think of). This will be my fourth week and it's also EXAM TIME! I think it's a little early for a test, personally, but then I'm not the teacher! I'll crack on with it in a bit, but for now here are some things I can say about myself in Japanese:

Watashi no namae wa Gordon desu - My name is Gordon!
Watashi no shigoto wa sakka desu - I am a writer!
Watashi wa Igirisu-jin desu - I am British!
Watashi no sumai wa Norwich desu - My home is in Norwich!
Watashi wa eigo to nihongo o hanashimasu - I speak English and Japanese... (kind of!)
Watashi wa kekkon shite imasen - I am not married!
Watashi no dengwa bangou wa ... desu - My telephone number is (now that would be telling)!

Anyway, I'd better go and get revising. Wish me luck for my test!


New DoP!

Just a quick post this evening as I'm running out for the launch of the UEA anthology, which as I mentioned a few posts ago is published by Egg Box. It should be quite an interesting mix of writers reading their work, although unfortunately mum's been feeling ill the last few days so she has decided not to read. It's such a shame as she would have been fab!

Last night went really well. Me, Kate, Simon and Jen went out for dinner with Tania, who is a Director of Photography. She has read the script for the film and she loves it, and we all loved her, so it looks like we've got ourselves a DoP for next year! Tania really knows her stuff, and I think she and Jen will make a fantastic team. Stagnant may only be a horror film, but they are planning to make it look gorgeous!

Oh, and I was good and only had a salad, you'll be pleased to know. Although there was so much oil on it that I might as well have had a pizza... Still, at least it means my diet has officially started... Anyway, I must dash. Check the news page tomorrow for an exciting update!


Oh god, what a horrible night. I thought yesterday was going to be incredibly healthy because Jamie, Christopher, Matthew and I went for a swim up at the university. It was great to have some exercise, but it all went downhill when we got home. I had one of my 'well my diet will start tomorrow so we really should pig out as much as possible tonight' moments and Jamie and I ended up ordering a mountain of Chinese food which we set about devouring with an animal ferocity which, to an outsider looking in, might suggest that we hadn't eaten in weeks. I don't know whether it was that, or the doughnuts we had for pudding, which kept me awake all night feeling like I was going to explode. Blurgh.

So now it's morning and I feel awful and I've promised myself that's the last time I'm going to eat crappy take-away food (I've heard that before). To be honest I think it's Jamie's fault, because we've made a bet that I'll have a flat stomach by my 30th birthday next February. I think I will (well I don't, but I'm eternally optimistic) and he sincerely doubts it. He doubts it so much, in fact, that we have each put 500 squids on it! I think he's sneaking into the house at night injecting fat into all my fruit and veg just so he can win the bet...

Anyway, today is the start of my new diet and I'm determined to stick to it. Partly for the money, and partly because I had loads of dreams last night about having a heart attack and going to hospital, and if that isn't my body crying out for help then I don't know what is!!! I figured that I'll keep track of my weight here online because if you are all watching then maybe I won't eat that last bit of cake...

It's just a shame that I'm meeting Kate and the director and DP of our film tonight in Pizza Express. And I always feel so silly ordering a salad. Maybe my diet should start tomorrow...

Man Flu...

Well, so much for blogging regularly! Never mind, I'm here now and that's the most important thing... It's been a bit of a rotten week actually because I've had a horrible case of flu. Not just normal flu either, but the dreaded MAN FLU. It really is rotten. My head has been stuffed full off cotton wool, and my nose is dripping so much I could be a character in my own short story, snot. Gross! I've just been steadily overdosing on Lemsips all week, and am starting to feel a little better. But only a little...

So yes, most of the week has been spent in bed or in front of the telly feeling sorry for myself, which apparently is the most common symptom of man flu. It's not been a total loss. Yesterday Jamie, Lynsey, Lucy and I went to see the City of Ember, which I have to say was totally awesome. I mean the plot was a little too baggy at times, and there were a couple of clumsy moments. But overall I really enjoyed it.

I think what impressed me most was the concept of the city itself, buried underground and powered by a single generator which is on the verge of meltdown. The blackouts, when they happened, were terrifying because of the idea that without the generator these people will live in a world of total darkness. It is effectively a plague of blindness which effects everyone. I won't say if it happens or not, but the threat of it is enough to really drive the film forwards. It's a similar sort of motivation that drives Furnace, to be honest, as you hopefully develop the same hunger - craving - for daylight and fresh air when reading them. I'd really recommend this, anyway. I'm off to buy the book today.

Speaking of Furnace, being ill has given me a chance to crack on with number 3. It's absolutely chilling at the beginning of the book, although obviously I can't say why because it will spoil it! Now I'm about a third of the way through and it's turning from horror into pure, adrenaline-fuelled adventure! The word count currently stands at 24,000.

There has been some great news about foreign rights deals for Furnace as well, really really exciting stuff. I don't want to say too much now for fear of jinxing it, but I'll let you know as soon as I can!

And just one last thing for now. Thanks so much to everybody who has sent emails and letters in the last few weeks, they've all been fantastic to read. I promise I will get back to each and every one of you as soon as possible. I've just been so busy with the book! Sorry for being so rubbish at replying.


I blatantly failed to do any writing yesterday, again! I ended up going round to Jamie's and playing COD (or Call of Duty for the uninitiated) on his 360. It's a great game, very realistic. You can almost feel the bullets zipping past your head. Well, when I play they tend to zip into my head because I'm not very good. Jamie is ace at it, though.

I'm not really a wargame fan. I'm much happier with a survival horror. I love horror, I absolutely do, in all its many forms. But I think the genre really reaches its apex with games. Take something like Silent Hill, for example. The most terrified I've ever been in my life is playing that game. You get the immersive plot of a great horror novel, combined with the remarkably disturbing visuals and music of a film. But instead of being a passive observer you are literally in the game, your very survival depends on your own actions. It's utterly terrifying, but great! I'm currently waiting impatiently for Dead Space, Silent Hill 5 and the new Resident Evil too. I've just downloaded Siren Bloodsong from the Playstation store but to be honest that's a little too scary even for me...

We went out for dinner with Lynsey and Lucy, which was nice. I fancied pasta, but everywhere was fully booked, so we went to Pizza Express in the end. Their Sloppy Giuseppe pizza is amazing, as are their dough balls. It was a very funny evening, and for some reason Lucy and Jamie got a total giggling fit when I said 'would you like a bite of my strudel' in a German accent. I thought Lucy was going to wee herself!

Anyway, I shouldn't play any more games or eat any more pizza until I've finished my own horror story, Furnace 3. I promised myself I'd get up at eight this morning and start writing. I slept in until 10.30!!! I'm going to stop procrastinating with this blog and start doing some now. Maybe it will be easier if you all know my word count, then I'll feel bad for not writing as much as I need to each day. Okay, it currently stands at the 13,000 word mark... Wish me luck!

Egg Box

Yesterday turned out to be an Egg Box day, which is the first one I've had in ages. Egg Box is the name of the publishing company I set up years ago whilst at UEA, and which is now run by my great friend Nathan Hamilton. He's just published the University of East Anglia creative writing anthology, which is a gorgeous looking book full of some incredible writers (including my mum, who has just finished the Life Writing MA).

We spent a few hours up at uni stuffing envelopes, which was kind of fun in a weird way. Then we celebrated by losing a lot of money on the quiz machine... Then by going for a curry. I cooked myself a curry the night before, so I didn't particularly fancy another one, but Nathan was insistent. It was delicious though. He is usually a very messy eater, but last night I definitely won the award for 'most disgusting mess on the tablecloth'.

So anyway, today is my first weekend of being a full-time writer, so I do feel like I should be doing some writing. But then again maybe I'll go to the cinema...

A Celtic Adventure

I went on a bit of an adventure last weekend with the gang (for those who didn't read my old blog the gang consists of me, Lynsey, Lucy and Jamie). Lynsey is thinking about writing a children's book, which I think is a great idea. It will make a nice change from the very morbid (but very good, Bridport-winning good) short stories she writes.

So, for a bit of research, we decided to visit a traditional Iceni village in Norfolk. It was a bit of a drive away, but fortified with some Aero Bubbles and Mars Planets we made it in the end. It was an odd place, with not a hell of a lot in it to be honest. I mean there was a village, made in the style of Iceni architecture, but back then villages only consisted of a couple of huts and a place to park your cow, and this recreation was no different. It was fun wandering round the huts, though, until Jamie pulled the hand off a dummy and we ran for the hills in case the rest of the plastic family suddenly came to life to exact some Iceni-style revenge... We might have had our heads put on spikes like these poor souls!

It was a great day, and lovely to see Big L and Little L again. We shall have to plan more adventures soon!

A Little Something

Well I am absolutely shattered after working on the site all day, but it wouldn't feel right if I didn't at least write a little something on my blog. So here it is:

A Little Something.

More tomorrow!

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