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...

Is it really going to be this much work?!

It's been all quiet on the blogging front again recently, sorry about that. Don't blame me, blame this movie that we are making! I knew film producers didn't exactly have dull, uneventful lives, but I had no idea quite how much work went into organising a movie shoot - and we're still six months away! It's all one great big juggling act, with money, people, props, sets, locations and a million other things all up in the air at once, and it takes so much concentration to keep them all going that you forget about your real life! I do love it, though.

I've spent the last week designing logos, and we've gone for the gruesome one above. I've also built a website, which IS NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED as it has a number of (fake!) severed limbs and the like. But anybody over 15 years of age is welcome to pay it a visit!

Fear Driven Films.

The rest of this week will be devoted to Furnace, especially the edit of book number two, Solitary. The lovely new publicity person at Faber, Laura, has been sending me lots of requests for interviews and things, which is wonderful, and there are a few school visits and festivals lined up too. I can't wait!

And right now I'm off to buy a World War II gas mask and leather overcoat from Ebay so that we can do some photo shoots and video with the terrifying Wheezers...

Don't Shoot 2

I could have been shot with tasers the other day, but that would have been a walk in the park compared to what might have happened yesterday! I had to go down to the American Embassy in London, which sounds exciting but it was only to get a tax number for any payments coming from the US. Anyway, Edina at Ed Victor (my literary agency) warned me that security was very tight and that they'd do searches and everything to make sure no weapons of any kind get into the Embassy.

So I went down, walked anxiously through the main gates, which were surrounded by armed police with HUGE guns, and handed my bag to the security guards who proceeded to put it through the x-ray machine. I knew something was wrong when their expressions went stern and they started pointing at the monitor. 'That's a knife,' said one, looking nervous (although not anywhere as nervous as I was looking by now).

'A what?' I said. 'A knife?' Had I actually brought a knife into the US Embassy?!?

I was expecting the police to come racing in any second to splatter me all over the walls, but fortunately the other guard on duty was a little older, and had obviously done some DIY in his time, as he pointed out that it wasn't so much a knife as a utility kit. It was basically my leatherman, which is essentially a pair of fold-up pliers with other tools attached, including a knife. It's less a killing weapon than a fixing one.

Or a bomb-making one.

I must have put it in my bag for some reason and totally forgotten about it. Anyway, after a little spluttered explanation on my part they took it away with all my other metal objects, and my phone, and locked them away, ushering me through into the main building.

So all was well in the end, but it was pretty scary!

The Bride

After much negotiations with the police and the security up at the University of East Anglia, we finally got round to organising a photo shoot for the movie. Kate, Simon, Jen (the director) and I drove up to the UEA broad at 11 and met with security. It was a beautiful day, and even though the lake was half frozen the sun was shining and it was perfect photo weather.

Unfortunately it was perfect dog-walking, kid-taking-outing and jogging weather too, which meant that the broad was absolutely choc-a-block! Which is fine usually, but when you've got a model in a fake-blood-stained wedding dress holding a very real machete it can cause problems! Fortunately we had a great security man with us in a fluorescent jacket, who kept the passers-by calm! Most people were curious rather than alarmed, to be honest, and quite a few snapped their own pictures. There was just one student who seemed terrified at the sight and scampered off in the other direction with no small amount of speed!

We spent about an hour taking some shots and got some really good ones. We'll be making a website this week, hopefully, so at least we'll have something to show investors! It was a great day anyway, and it left us all feeling really positive about the movie. The pic above is my sister posing between shots!

I'm back doing Furnace stuff this week as there is loads that I need to catch up on after Christmas. I have just written some copy for Death Sentence, the third Furnace book. Have a look and let me know what you think!

Furnace: Death Sentence

In order to escape them, I must become one of them...

We were so close. We had one last shot at freedom and we failed. This time the warden will show us no mercy. This time, our punishment is a death sentence.

Only death won't come for us here, not in Furnace. It wouldn't dare. No, our fate is something much, much worse. Because in the bloodstained laboratories deep beneath the prison lies the horrific truth behind the warden's plans. Down here, monsters are made.

I can feel myself changing, something ancient and evil pumped into my veins. I'm forgetting who I am, and if that happens I'll become one of them, a creature of Furnace. But they are also making me stronger, faster, tougher. If I can control it then I might stand a chance, I might be able to fight my way out. I just have to remember...

My name is Alex Sawyer.

They framed me for murder.

And I will have my revenge.

Only two months to go until Furnace Number One, whoop!!!

Don't Shoot 1!

The year's off to a good start! One of my new year's resolutions was to finally get round to doing some DIY so I have spent the last couple of days stripping wallpaper in the hall. Yes, yes, I know, writing children's books really is the new rock and roll! I also managed to sort out all of my paperwork yesterday which felt great. Instead of forming one immense pile it's now divided into much more manageable smaller piles. Could my life get any more exciting?!

We were hoping to take a publicity shot for the film today (for those who haven't read previous entries, we are making a horror film next year) but we ran into a little problem. Basically the photograph was supposed to show a woman in a blood-stained wedding dress standing by a lake holding a machete. Yes, a machete. Kate wisely thought it was a good idea to call the police and explain what we were doing, and it was just as well she did as they told her that if we had gone ahead and done it, and somebody had reported us, they would have 'sent out an armed response unit and you would all have been tasered'. They did find it quite amusing, and I thought it would have been a good publicity stunt, but Kate didn't fancy 50,000 volts and so we've had to postpone it till next week.

It was a great move contacting the police, especially considering what happens in the film! If they would send out an armed response team for a machete then what would they do come summer when we are running round the broads with fake shotguns and everything?! Come to think of it, I'm surprised they didn't turn up the other day when I was jumping up and down on a fake-blood covered wedding dress in the garden in an attempt to make it look muddy... At least the police know who we are now, and they were very supportive.

Anyway, I'm off to do more stripping... wallpaper, that is. I should be starting a new book, but there's something so satisfying about peeling long strips of paper from the walls. I'll be back soon, unless I get tasered, of course...

Happy New Year!

So here we are, in 2009 already. To use the old cliche, I can't believe how fast 2008 shot by, but then it was an exceedingly busy year and, another cliche to hand, time flies when you're having fun!

There were many highlights from last year, but off the top of my head here are a few of the best: doing my first ever festival gigs in Glasgow, Cambridge, Brighton, Hay and Edinburgh; spending the weekend down in Hay with Mum and Jamie; getting a deal for the new series, selling it into the States and writing the next two books; deciding I was going to make a horror film with my sister; going to Centerparks with the gang; Christmas.

I love Christmas, it's my favourite day of the year and this year was no exception. It was quite a quiet one, but really good fun. I spent the morning at Mum's, opening pressies and snacking. Then I popped over to see Dad in the afternoon (although Jamie almost wouldn't let me out of the door)! I haven't spent Xmas with Dad for years so it was great to see him.

New year was quiet this year too. Lynsey and I just chilled out in front of the telly watching the godawful BBC show. I didn't recognise any of the 'celebrities' they had on, or the presenters for that matter. And the music... I mean who was in charge of that?! It's the end of 2008, the start of a brand new year, and what band do they pick to ring in 2009 - Simply Red?! Still, it was good for a laugh.

Yesterday Lynsey, Lucy and I popped out to Cromer in the freezing cold to watch the fireworks from the pier. Jamie would have come, but he sneaked some beer out of the fridge on New Year's Eve so I think he had a hangover... They weren't quite equal to the spectacular show in London, but it was quite magical watching the explosions coming out of the water and raining down from the pier. I ended up queuing outside Mary Jane's fish and chop shop for almost an hour, which was slightly ridiculous, but they do make the best fish suppers. It was a great start to the year anyway!

Anyway, speaking of fish suppers I really do have to lose some weight... Ah yes, you say, I wondered when the new year's resolutions would rear their ugly heads. Well I start my juice diet today, I had a glass of wheatgrass juice and algae for breakfast. No, seriously, I actually did. I tasted like a cow's bottom, but they say it's very good for you. I have to have a six-pack by the end of February or I owe Jamie a small fortune, so I'd better get used to it!

And as for my other resolutions? There's loads I want to do this year, including write another three or four books and produce this horror movie in summer. It's going to be a very busy year, though, with three Furnace books out plus the first one out in the States in October. I can't wait! There are only two months till the first one, whoop!

I hope you all have a wonderful 2009, and that you manage to stick to all your resolutions!

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