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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...

THE CHAINSAW GANG TOUR! STOP TWO...



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!

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