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...

I've been Chainsawed!!

Brilliant Changeling author Steve Feasey has reviewed my books and given me the infamous Chainsaw Gang interrogation over on his blog! Check it out!

Steve Feasey's Blog!

Thanks Steve!

Solitary Reviews!

Two great reviews for Solitary have just come in. The first is from the Voice of Youth Advocates:

Alex Sawyer has been sent to Furnace Penitentiary, a place where teenagers are sent to disappear. Alex and his friends have seen many horrors—the wheezers with their black suits and gas masks, the monstrous dogs that chase them through the corridors of Furnace, and the infirmary where the inmates are turned into creatures that are far from human. Alex wants out, and in a bad way. He and his compatriots have managed to blast their way even deeper into the confines of Furnace, but a way out still eludes them. Alex and Zee have now been sent to solitary, a place where most prisoners lose their minds. In the small confines of his cell, Alex begins to hallucinate, seeing the ghostly image of his friend Donovan who was captured by the warden. Donavan tells Alex to snap out of it, and thankfully he does, recapturing what little sanity he has left to formulate a plan. Will the plan work? There’s no way of knowing, since everything in Furnace has a way of going horribly wrong.
            Once again, Smith has created a thrill ride that will leave the audience wanting more. Smith’s prose is fast paced, witty, and sometimes downright terrifying. Some of the images he creates could manifest into a nightmare or two. Teens who are looking for a great thriller/horror story will definitely want to pick up these novels. Look for the third installment in this series to debut in June of 2011.—Jonatha Bayse.

And the next, slightly less positive review, is from Kirkus:

After being swept away in an underground river moments after escaping from Furnace Penitentiary, Alex is quickly recaptured by the cruel blacksuit guards and placed in an isolation cell. Though confined, he clings to hope through tapped communiqués with his fellow failed escapee Zee, hallucinatory appearances from his friend Donovan and strange visits from a mysterious creature named Simon. Adrenaline-fueled action infuses the narrative as it did in Lockdown(2009), keeping the pages turning. Alex's forays into self-reflection are less convincing; in Smith's effort to create an antihero, he has given Alex too many flaws to generate much sympathy. Donovan's dialogue is an especially transparent device to create emotional growth. The twisted monsters that patrol the prison are still satisfyingly brutal, however, even though readers now know to expect them lurking around dark corners. While the revelations and ending are not surprising, the author knows what keeps his readers locked to the page and delivers it soundly. (Thriller. YA)

Donovan's dialogue wasn't an attempt to create emotional growth at all, it was Alex's (subconscious) way of staying sane and staying alive, but never mind!

Awesome reviews, though, thanks everyone!


It gives me great pleasure today to host the second stop in our gore-soaked Chainsaw Gang tour!

For those of you who don't yet know, the Chainsaw Gang is made up of the most twisted and talented horror and dark fantasy authors writing for young people today. If you like adventure, action and most of all horror then you're right at home here – demons, zombies, ass-kicking Knights Templar, monsters, dragons, gunfights, sword fights, explosions, quests to hell and back, werewolves, armageddon, yetis, witches... The list of cool stuff is endless!

Remember to check the bottom of this post for a chance to win the Chainsaw Library!

During the tour each Chainsaw Gang author will introduce and interview another member of the club, and I'm absolutely thrilled that I get to give you one of the best YA horror writers ever to dip his quill into a pot of blood and guts, a writer so well versed in horror that he may as well have invented the genre. Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce you to DAVID GATWARD!

I've just finished reading Dave's debut YA horror novel, The Dead, and my ears still feel like they're ringing. Why? Because this is just about as good as horror novels get. Let me start with a quote: 
"The figure’s body was bathed in firelight, the rocking chair horribly still. Its head was bald, the skin ripped away in strips and in places Lazarus, horrified and scared beyond anything he’d ever experienced in his life before, could see the milky glow of bone. Its ears were gone, nothing more than stumps that looked like melted candles. The face was a mass of tears and cuts, slicing across it this way and that, the nose severed in half. The mouth had no lips; just great, bloody wounds where they looked like they had been torn off. Its teeth reflected the fire."

How awesome is that?! The figure in the quote is Red, and one night he tells Lazarus Stone – the brilliantly named teenage hero of the novel – that the thin veils between the land of the living and the land of the dead are failing. And what happens when they fail? The Dead can cross over... Without wanting to give too much away – the plot is full of twists and turns that you'll want to experience for yourself – Lazarus discovers a terrifying secret about his own father, and finds himself on a quest that will literally take him to hell and back!

There are so many reasons why I love this book, and one of the main ones is that David Gatward is so obviously a horror junkie. There are references in the book to some of my favourite movies (if you're a horror fan too see if you can spot them) and it's clear that he really, really loves the genre. What this means for the writing is that this isn't just an all-out mindless gore-fest (although it is very bloody and gory, don't get me wrong) but a beautifully crafted tale that can stand proudly amongst the stories and movies that inspired it. There is nothing about The Dead that feels like it's copying what's gone before, it really is uniquely unnerving and thrilling.

So, in short, if you want a book you can't put down, if you like to be scared and excited at the same time, then read The Dead! Or click here to read Chapter 3 and see for yourself. And the good news is that there are two sequels to follow, the first of which, The Dark, is already out (and trust me, at the end of this book you will need to go straight out and get this)!

And now, so you know more about the man behind The Dead, here are his answers to the critical Chainsaw questions...

1. What's your favourite book?
I can't say I've ever come across a book that's my all out favourite. Why? Because I fall for so many different books for so many different reasons. Biggest influence might be Weirdstone of Brisingamen, by Alan Garner. It was the first book I didn't just read, but experienced. I was 11. It made me want to write stuff that would make people feel the same way I did when I read it. Particularly the bit in the cave, where they're being chased by the svarts and the cave gets narrower, they can hardly move... then they come up against water and they've no choice but to go through. Unreal! And terrifying! I loved Lord of the Rings. I was really in to the Dragon Lance Chronicles. I think Bravo Two Zero is tremendous. If I want to be somewhere hot and lovely and delicious I'll read Under a Tuscan Sun. Then, if I want to go dark and feel like the world's seeping in through the cracks in the walls of my house, I'll grab something by Lovecraft. Joe Hill's 20th Century Ghosts is annoyingly good. Jack Ketchum can confuse and horrify all at once. I've just read Mr Hands by Gary Braunbeck and loved it, the world he's created, his writing, the sentences that go on for not just a few paragraphs but a few pages. Clive Barker's Hellbound Heart, Books of Blood, Damnation Game. Arthur C Clarke's Songs of the Distant Earth. See my problem?

2. Who's your favourite monster?
I love Pinhead! Something about that crazy cat just makes me shiver. It's that at his centre is not simply mindless evil, but humanity twisted and gone wrong, our own primitive drives left to go wild. I love that. I'm all for mindless killing machines, like Jason, but Pinhead does it for me.

3. Who's your favourite bad-ass monster-slayer?
Well, it's not a literary one this, and it's a pretty short-lived moment, but in a film by Peter Jackson, called "Dead Alive" he has a crazy vicar who goes all karate on some icky undead creatures. Just before the fight begins (and despite the fact he gets totalled during it) he yells out, "I kick ass for the Lord!" I love that! Brilliant!

4. If you could make a pact with the Devil, what would you want in exchange for your immortal soul?
Does it have to be one thing? I'm guessing not, because this is my immortal soul we're talking about, right? So, here's a few things to start with:
- A house with a deep, dark wine cellar that would never run dry of the best fermented grape juice known to humanity. And a plentiful supply of candles to place on the little table I'd have down there to sample them at.
- A hotline to serious cheese. Seriously. I love the stuff. And I'd want the best and rarest I could find. Even that maggoty one that's illegal...
- The ability to fly. Surely I don't need to explain why...
- A chainsaw that never runs dry or falls blunt.
- The house off the film Casper the Ghost.
- My own creepy graveyard.
- A ghost called Gerald who enjoys horror movies and lives in the attic.
- A room dedicated to my record deck and my drum kit.
- A climbing wall.
- If you've read my book, the vehicle driven by Arielle.

I'll stop, but trust me, that list could go on!

5. The Chainsaw Gang are all trapped on a desert island with no food. Who would you eat first and why?
Well, of all the Chainsaw Gang, I've only met Sarwat in person, so I think it would only be polite to at least consume him as a starter to the main course. Like the rest, though, I'd have to tenderise him first, so I'd have to dig a big pit and thrown them all in to it. With no way to escape, they'd go crazy, beat each other up to get out, and that'd get them all nice and soft and juicy. Then, when they were exhausted, bleeding in to the sand beneath them, I'd despatch them as cleanly and humanely as possible, then bury them in the sand to not only continue with the maturing process, but also preserve them. I might also consider distilling some sea water to a brine and seeing what effect that had on the meat. And wouldn't it be great if the desert island had some coconuts on? Boil the meat up in some coconut... yum. Ooh, I'm salivating already.

Thanks Dave, those were awesome answers! Right, I'm off to go baste myself in some tikka spices. But just before I do, here are the rules for the Chainsaw Gang competition – it's free to enter, and it's really worth it because you could win a set of signed books from every single Chainsaw author!!!

Here’s how the competition works:

To win the Chainsaw Library you need to score votes. Each vote goes into a vast hat at the end of the competition and one winning name will come out. The great thing is you can enter per blog: that’s nine chances to win! So make sure you visit each and every blog on the tour. 

Votes are scored as follows:
+1 if you link this blog/website to yours
+2 if you stick our Chainsaw banner (found at the top of this blog) up somewhere (and let us know)!
+1 if you’re a Facebook fan/friend.
+1 if you comment on this blog post.
+1 if you reTweet this competition.
+1 if you follow us on Twitter.

The closing date of the competition is Friday 5th November and the competition is open to UK residents only. Good luck!

The Carnage Begins...

Prepare for bloodshed, screams, spattered brains and the nostril-burning stench of gasoline... The Chainsaw Gang tour has begun! It begins today on the blog of our gang leader Sarwat Chadda, who is interviewing fellow death merchant Sarah Silverwood.  Tomorrow I'll be interviewing Lord of the Damned David Gatward, and over the next couple of weeks the rest of the gang will be introducing each other. It's going to be bloody brilliant...

Not only will you get to know some of the best up and coming writers in the genres of horror and dark fantasy, you will also stand a chance of winning signed copies of the latest books by every single Chainsaw author! That's a lot of books.

Here’s how the competition works:

To win the Chainsaw Library you need to score votes. Each vote goes into a vast hat at the end of the competition and one winning name will come out. The great thing is you can enter per blog: that’s nine chances to win! So make sure you visit each and every blog on the tour. Votes are scored as follows:
+1 if you link the blog/website to yours
+2 if you stick our Chainsaw banner up somewhere
+1 if you’re a Facebook fan/friend.
+1 if you comment on the blog.
+1 if you reTweet this competition.
+1 if you follow us on Twitter.
The closing date of the competition is Friday 5th November and the competition is open to UK residents only.
Good luck!

Workshop Part Four!

Part Four of my horror-writing workshop is now live over on the Trapped By Monsters site!

Have fun!


Fantastic Review! :-)

A fantastic review of Lockdown can be found on the awesome Book Zone for Boys site. Thanks Darren!!!



A great review for Fugitives has just appeared on the Bookbag website. Thanks John! :-)


My Riviera Tour!

I had an amazing time this week during my whirlwind tour of the south coast! Five days, seven cities and 800 kids, awesome! I started off driving to North Swindon Library on Monday where I did a show for two schools followed by a brilliant Headspace horror-writing event in the evening. After that I headed to Calne, then the following morning did another show in the local library there. A quick trip to Trowbridge followed, together with awesome event number four, then without pausing for breath I headed south.

I had a bit of spare time so I popped over to nearby Stonehenge on the way. It was full of tourists to start with, but it was quite late in the day so by the time I'd walked around it there were only a handful of people left and it was easy to imagine that it was just me and the stones. Spooky! It's really well worth a visit to Stonehenge if you get the chance – over 5,000 years of history and some amazing stories. Try and come up with your own mythical explanation for why the stones are there!

An hour or so later and I was in Bournemouth. I've never been before so I left my clifftop hotel and wandered down to the beach in the dusk. It's a gorgeous place, beautiful gardens right next to the beach and even a tethered hot air balloon you can float up in! I grabbed some fish and chips (it's law that when by the sea you have to indulge in fish and chips) then headed back to the hotel. Unfortunately, thanks to my neighbours, it was the worst night's sleep ever! They were arguing until six in the morning, throwing things around the room and at one point the police showed up! Nightmare!

I started again first thing on Wednesday, doing two school events in Kinson Library, both of which were great fun. After a lovely lunch with Denise (my minder!) I returned to the library for another event in the evening – not just any old event but the opening of the library's Headspace area! The Mayor of Bournemouth was there (in some incredible Mayoral bling, I have to say), as well as a huge crowd of teenagers, parents and librarians. I talked for nearly an hour about my love affair with horror, and everybody seemed to enjoy it! It was a great honour helping to open the Headspace area, especially as the people in the steering group had done such an amazing job setting everything up. Well done, and I hope you have loads more cool events there in the future!

On Thursday, after a bacon butty on the beach in glorious sunshine, I drove across to Poole for two more school events, this time in the Hamworthy Library. I even managed to get another quick trip to the beach in between them, this time glimpsing Poole Harbour. It is beautiful around there! I wanted to drive to Sandbanks and eye up a future mansion for myself, but in the end I drove to Corfe Castle and had a nosey around there. Even though it's a ruin it's an amazing place to visit, full of history. After that I bolted down to Swanage for an evening event with a fantastic group of readers and writers.

I drove across to Chichester that night, doing my best not to fall asleep in the car... After a night in a Premier Inn (always really comfy) I headed to Kingsham Primary School where I met up with the incredibly enthusiastic Colin and his boy's reading group. They were recording a podcast and asked me some brilliant questions. If it goes online I'll let you know where to find it. They even changed the tone of my voice to make me sound like a demon (and a chipmunk, although the demon sounded better)! Awesome! I did a talk to the year 6's, then to the year 5's (and some girls from the nearby girl's school), and all in all had a fantastic time! After lunch (a MacDonald's...) I zoomed over to the Chichester High School for Girls and did a show for about a billion year 7's, which was a brilliant way to finish off the tour!

I just wanted to say a huge thanks to everyone who helped organise the tour, and who came to listen to me speak. I had a fantastic time! :-)

See you all again soon!

© Copyright 2010 Alexander Gordon Smith
Creative, bespoke website and blog design by Graphic Alchemy