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...

Livin' it up with the Librarians

I was late out of bed this morning, but I had a good excuse. Yesterday I was in Oxford for a Reading Agency Roadshow! Because of strikes on the trains (now, I just want to say that I have no problem at all with people striking if they want better pay and conditions, sometimes there's no other way to get what you want and deserve, but the trains in Norwich are so bloody awful anyway that I did think a strike on top of everything else was a bit much!) I had to get up at 5.00 – yes, there is such a time in the morning, apparently – which meant I had a full four hours sleep. However, I did manage to snatch a bit of kip on the train, which was cool. A taxi across London and another train got me to Oxford, where I met up with the fantastic Alex Milway, author of the Mousehunter books and another series due next year which looks awesome! We set off in search of the Oxford University Press offices.

Wow. The OUP offices are incredible – they look more like the British Museum than a publishing house. There's even a gym inside! But we weren't there to work out (thank god), so we hung out in reception and waited for the event to start. There were loads more authors there, including the lovely M. G. Harris, who I met before at the Guillermo del Toro signing in London, plus Ali Sparkes, who is wonderful (and who signed a book for me as "To Gordon, Oh great writer of epic poems" after something I wrote for Trapped By Monsters). We all grabbed a bit of lunch and then spent the afternoon mingling with an entire room full of librarians! It was great fun – librarians are always so cool to talk to, they're always so passionate about books, and it was brilliant being able to chat to them, even if the 'speed dating' format meant that you only had 10 minutes to talk to each group! Hopefully I'll be visiting a few of their libraries in the near future to talk about writing and Furnace.

After we'd spoken to everyone (and I'd bagged as many free books as I could carry) Al and I, plus Laura and Susan from Faber, went to Cafe Rouge for a well-earned pint and some fancy food. It was a wonderfully relaxing meal, which came to an abrupt conclusion when Al suggested we try and make the next train. This would have been all well and good except in order to do so we had to run for it. Yes, I did say RUN. I'm not kidding when I say I almost died! Al was good enough to take my bag of books, but even so I could only waddle for a few paces at a time for fear of either having a heart attack or being clobbered in the head by my own pendulous man boobs. I persevered, though, and we actually made the train with about 30 seconds to go!!! So thanks, Al, for getting me home!

It was a long old day – over 12 hours on the go for 3 hours of actual talking – but well worth the trip. It's always great to hang out with Al as we have a good chat about publishing and writing. Besides, I got the chance to read some more of Ramsey Campbell's The Grin of the Dark on the train, which is one of the most terrifying books I have ever read. I'll blog about it when I've finished!

So, probably back to work today. I say probably because I'm not sure I can be bothered... I might just read instead.


Ooh, glad to hear it went well! And Alex Milway's a great guy. :-)

19 August 2009 at 07:46  
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