Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Frankfurt Day One... Ys and Zs, or vice versa

I'm writing this standing at a public terminal at the Frankfurt Book Fair, which is the first time I have managed to be in front of a screen and awake at the same time for some days. The German keyboard is qwertz rather than qwerty, so I keep having to work not to type words like, well, tzpe. Forgive mz tzping mistakes as I go...

Croatia was fun. American Gods and Coraline were both being published by Algoritam, who publish, by their own admission, the best books in Croatia, and also own a chain of bookshops. I signed in Zagreb and did the two presentations or press conferences or whatever thez were, and I enjozed mzself. Lots of good conversation, and my publisher found it rather endearing that when he drove from Zagreb to Osijek at 120 miles per hour, I simply went to sleep, instead of screaming in terror and stamping my foot on an imaginary brake, or covering my head with my coat, as other foreign author-type passengers had done.

Thanks to all the Croatians, especially Neven (who drove, and is proud that the Croatian cover of American Gods has the first full frontal male nude to appear on the cover of any book in Croatia. It's a picture of Shadow hanging naked from the Tree, and he's very small, which means his full-frontal bits are also very small, but thez are quite definitely there) and Vladimir, who translated American Gods, and helped out with translating generally, and who endeared himself to me more than I can say by turning to me in Osijek, when a radio interviewer asked him to translate some questions to me, by saying "She wants to know the usual sort of stuff, what American Gods is about, why you wrote it, all that. Shall I just tell her?" and doing the whole interview himself, while I tried my best to look as if I was probablz giving him the answers by telepathy.

Let's see... arrived in Frankfurt late, got to hotel to find that they didn't have me listed as arriving until tomorrow. This combination of events had almost induced apoplexy in mz long-suffering agent Merrilee, who was convinced that I wasn't going to arrive in Frankfurt until tomorrow by some terrible clerical error, and that she would have to cope with the Writer's House Party For All Mz Foreign Publishers and Agents without me. But I turned up, and spent a pleasant evening seeing and meeting my publishers and agents from all over the world, and telling them that zes, I would very much like to come and sign books in Turkey, Russia, Japan, Taiwan, Iceland and so on, but that first of all I had to write some more books or thez wouldn't have anzthing to publish.

Stumbled back when everzone had gone and got the hotel to set me up on their wireless internet system. It's not the kind of Wireless internet system that works, though. It's the other kind. I managed to get some e-mail, failed to replz to it, realised that it was starting to hurt to stay awake, and went to sleep, having first arranged the Breakfast Alarm.

The Breakfast Alarm is what I do in nice hotels, when I reallz have to be up at a certain time. I order breakfast. Getting up to open the door, trzing to remember how to sign my name, and then forcing mzself to eat something before it all gets cold, is a pretty good effective method of getting me out of bed. When tired enough, and if the tour is long enough I'm capable of answering wake-up calls in my sleep, after all.

Someone was meant to bang on mz door with a hot breakfast at 8:20, but instead someone banged on my door at 8:50 with a fairly cold hot breakfast. It's an astonishingly good hotel, but I think they're a bit overstretched, what with the Book Fair and all.

Which reminds me...

Readings and signings (always English/German with actor Martin Semmelrogge):
> Thursday, Oct. 9. in Cologne: 20.30 (8.30 PM) at Mayersche Buchhandlung, Neumarkt-Galerie, Neumarkt 2 tel 0221 203070

> Friday, Oct. 10. in Hamburg: 20.00 (8.00 PM) at Abaton Kino, Allendeplatz 3/Ecke Grindelhof tel 040 41320320. (Fixed. thank you Jasper.)

> Saturday, Oct. 11. in Frankfurt: 14.00 (2.00 PM) at Frankfurt Book Fair, Hall 4.1/ forum. This is a reading by me and Martin. ).

(I'll also be hanging around the Heyne Stand in Hall 3 for much of Saturday, being interviewed. Feel free to come over and say hi, and I'll happily sign anzthing if I'm not actuallz mid-interview.
Sunday, Oct. 12. in Frankfurt: 11.00-12.00 AM at Frankfurt Book Fair, Hall 3.0 / J 807 (Comic-Zentrum) Book signing (and participation in the Guinness world record for the longest ever comic.
10/13: Gottingen Fall Literature Festival, Gottingen, Germany 19:00 Reading and signing.

The publisher has presented me with a program of reading from American Gods, between me and Martin Semmelrogge, with me reading in English and him reading in German, although fortunately not at the same time. I've said I'll try it the way they've suggested for the first one, and then if I want to read different bits, I shall. After the readings will be Q&A, and after the Q&A will be signings, and after the signings will be silence and darkness upon the face of the deep, I expect.

And Heyne have launched their own website -- (I notice that they've written something pretending to be me on the front page, which I think is a bit dodgy. If it's got my name on it, I'd rather like to have written it...) I've answered some questions for them, though, and the site contains a German translation of the short story 'October in the Chair'. And, at it has my signing and reading in German schedule...

I'm needed back on the Heyne stand in a few minutes for another interview.

The German edition of American Gods has no naked men on it at all, by the waz. It's covered with flames, and looks very elegant and very mainstream.

Okay -- one question before I go back, mostly because I want to test whether I can access the FAQ stuff coming in from here...

Will there be a paperback Wolves in The Walls? There's only one copy
left in the bookstore, and if there won't I'll need to grab it.

There won't be a paperback of Wolves available for at least a year. Maybe more. Children's books tend to work on a much longer publishing schedule than adult books.

Oh, and this just came in...

Hi, Neil,

I'm sorry if this question has been answered somewhere, but I can't
find it. I'm trying to decide whether to use all my accumulated brownie
points to get my husband to agree to drive three hours to meet you at
the Book Fair in Frankfurt. We can only go for one day, if we can swing
the gas money at all, and what I'm wondering is - will you be doing
both a signing and a reading on Saturday, or only a reading?

An answer would be so greatly appreciated! I'd even bake you cookies
for it....

If there isn't an official signing on Saturday, I'll be happy to sign stuff over at the Heyne stand during the downtimes. I'd chance it if I were you.