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...

Write Your Own Scary Stories!

Learn how with the first part of my horror-writing workshop, over at Trapped by Monsters!


The Holidays!!

It seems to have come around so fast, the summer holidays are here again! I love this time of year, though, as it's an excuse to do fun stuff every day. Yesterday we went swimming, which was great. We were going to go and see Toy Story 3 as well but after two and a half hours in the pool we were absolutely cream crackered! We'll probably head off to see that today, and I'm really looking forward to it!

Of course, this is also the time of year when I never seem to have any time for work... What with all the trips out and stuff, as well as a week in Centerparcs at some point. It's good in one sense, as I was planning to take a little time off after finishing Furnace 5. However, I'm itching to get started on the next project. I've just sent my agent a pitch for the new series. I can't say too much about it yet, but it's a trilogy of horror books – very different to Furnace in subject, but similar in the level of violence and gore! The working title is The Hated, but this may change. Anyway, I should know soon whether I've got the deal, so I'll tell you all about it then! I've also pitched two more series ideas, but they are for later on down the line. There's loads on anyway!

In some ways this is my favourite part of being a writer, the ideas stage. It's a chance to just let your imagination go utterly wild and come up with as many book ideas as possible. I used to find it tough finding inspiration, but now I just use the age old "what if..." technique and see new books everywhere! If some of you don't know about the "what if..." technique then swing on over to the Trapped By Monsters site this afternoon for my guide on how to use it to write your own horror stories!

On the Inkling front, I'm taking out a new office next week in the building above. I'm really looking forward to it, for a couple of reasons. The first is that it will give Inkling Studios a really cool base of operations, a wonderful atmosphere in which to start up and hopefully grow. The second is that I'll be able to work down there myself. Sometimes I enjoy writing at home, but it's so nice to be able to go somewhere else to work. It really lets you appreciate your house when you get home at the end of the day! I'll also be starting our Arts Council application this week, which should be fun!

Right, off to book tickets for Toy Story...

The End of an Era!

Earlier this week I put the finishing touches to the fifth and final Furnace book. It was a weird experience, one which came with a bittersweet mix of emotions. On the one hand it was amazing to bring the saga to a close, to see Alex and his friends get to the end of their journey. And it's been a hell of a journey, quite literally in some cases!

It was a huge relief to make it to, and through, the last few chapters, especially as I had no idea, really, about what was going to happen. I said from the start, from the very first word of the very first book, that I wasn't going to plan these stories – I wanted to experience them from exactly the same place as Alex, not knowing what was going on or why. That way his actions and his thoughts would appear more realistic, more genuine. Of course there was always the danger that I'd get to the final book and not know what was happening, or why, and that was a big worry. But the story just seemed to know where it wanted to go, and it went there of its own accord and under its own steam. I just wrote it all down! It really was an amazing feeling being able to wrap up the series in a way that makes sense, and which hopefully leaves everyone satisfied.

But along with the joy of finishing the series comes sadness too – grief, almost. Because it means saying goodbye. I'm not going to say who makes it to the end alive, you'll have to read it yourselves to find out! But even the ones who survive have to say farewell. This is the end of their adventure, and even though in my head they'll be going off to live the rest of their lives I will no longer be part of it. It may seem like a weird thing to think, but I'm not lying when I say that I'm closer to Alex and Zee and Simon and Donovan than I am pretty much any of my actual friends! For the last three years we've been through so much together, and for the last six weeks especially it's been an incredibly close bond made even more intense by the fact that we all knew this was our final journey together. Writing those last few pages was so good because it was the end, but it was so sad too because it really did feel like I was losing my friends.

It was pretty much exactly three years ago, in July 2007, that I started writing the first Furnace book, Lockdown. It feels like a lifetime! Three years, 375,000 words, and a story that is far from perfect but which I'm pretty proud of. I don't really want to let it go. I'll drop in on Alex and the others every now and again. They live in that weird place in a writer's brain, a home for old characters. They'll be there with Nate and Cat and Clint from The Inventors, so they'll be in good company! And you never know what might happen in the future...

But for now, I just want to say a huge thank you to Alex Sawyer, Zee Hatcher, Simon Royo-Flores, Carl Donovan and everybody else who was inside Furnace with us. You've made the last three years some of the best in my life!

Cover News!

I've been talking to my editor in the States about what to do for the cover for Furnace 3, Death Sentence. They had already mocked up something, which I've posted below. I absolutely love this, it's terrifying!!! And it goes so well with the other covers. However, they have decided that they want to go with something a little different, as they're not sure how well teenage readers will respond to a cover with an old man on it. I can't wait to see what they come up with. But I just wanted to to show this to you because it's so incredibly creepy and they've captured the warden's evil so well!

Win Books!

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting the wonderful Australian author Simmone Howell, who is over in the country as part of a national UK tour. We went for a drink and had a great chat about writing and loads of other stuff too. It was great to meet her, and I'd highly recommend checking out her books, which are wonderful. She is doing events all around the country, so if you get a chance to go and see her then do!

Simmone has a set of Furnace books to give away, and she is running a competition on her blog now. If you fancy winning the first three books in the series, all signed, then get over there!


Thanks Simmone!!

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