I first heard of Neil Gaiman from the movie "Stardust," but I admit that he never held much interest to me as an author until "The Graveyard Book" won the Newberry award and I decided to read it my class. I loved it! My students loved it! One a little too much, because my copy disappeared. It reminded me of all of the ghost stories that I latched onto as a kid. Delightfully creepy with just enough of a twist at the end to make it interesting. From there, I read "Stardust", then in preparation for this talk, I read "American Gods" and "Ocean at the End of the Lane." Ocean just made #1 on the NY Times Bestseller list last night and I highly recommend it as a read as well.
Our entire night was wonderful. Gaiman read Chapter 2 aloud from Ocean (which was perfect because that was the chapter that Josh just finished, so as he says, "No Spoilers!"). Gaiman answered pre-selected audience questions. Most interesting was if anything from his visits to Arizona have inspired his work. In 1991, he attended a party on the outskirts of Tucson and whilst talking to someone outside, saw a shooting star land in the desert. He wondered what if that meteorite was a person? What if it was a girl who was grumpy because the fall had broken her leg? Thus, one of the major premises of Stardust was created.
The end of the night ended with a book signing. The moderators of the event warned us how long it might take and referenced how Neil's previous signings on his tour took 6 hours!!! We had an "H" ticket and they called each group alphabetically, so Josh and I weren't too worried. However, when "A" group was queueing, they made one more announcement. People with small children and VERY PREGNANT people could line up first as to make the experience more enjoyable for everyone. No one wants a grumpy pregnant lady. The people sitting on both sides of us turned their heads to stare at me. I looked down at my belly. At 38 weeks, I definitely counted as very pregnant. Thus, Josh and I were second in a book signing line of more that 1,000 people. We waited at the table for Neil to arrive! It was awesome :-)
I snuck a cell phone picture:
|Neil Gaiman signing our book.|