Thursday, October 06, 2016

Waiting, and Cinnamon

I'm in Florida, and I'm typing this on Wednesday night and setting it to post on Thursday because tomorrow I may not have power, or Internet. I'm slightly nervous: I bought water to drink, and just filled the bath with more water, have lots of food in tins and packets, and the house I'm in has stormproof windows. But still, if the hurricane comes and does its stuff things are going to be less than fun. And according to Snopes, the candles I bought because there were no more flashlights or batteries should be left unlit.

Um. I was impelled to get a haircut before the hurricane. I'm not sure why. It just seemed to make sense that if serious weather was coming I should be able to see out. The hairdressers had closed up shop and fled further inland, but there was a barber still working. Normally I can work with barbers to get a haircut that isn't too bad, but this time I had encountered a barber who obviously only did one haircut, and was going to give it to me no matter what I asked for. I should have shouted "PUT THOSE DOWN AND STEP AWAY FROM ME NOW" when he picked up the electric clippers as his first thing. Instead I thought "I wonder what he is going to do with those?" and then it was too late as half my hair had fallen to the tiles. So now I have the kind of haircut that means I feel like someone else whenever I pass a mirror or touch my hair. Perhaps the someone else I am now wears hats. I must find out.

As of a couple of days ago, there is a new book for sale in the US: it's the gorgeous hardback Chris Riddell illustrated edition of Odd and the Frost Giants Lots of Silver ink and gorgeousness. I'm very fond of the story, too.

IT IS THE MOST HANDSOME OF BOOKS. Silver ink and lots of Chris Riddell art makes it so.

And here is a book that won't be out until May of 2017. It's a story I wrote about 20 years ago, inspired by a Lisa Snellings carousel sculpture of a girl called Cinnamon, with pearlescent eyes, riding on a Tiger.

For the last 12 years or thereabouts, it's been available on the Audiobook The Neil Gaiman Audio Collection. Now it's finally going to be available as something you can touch and hold.

It's beautifully illustrated by Divya Srinivasan. (Divya lives in Austin, Texas. Her illustrations have appeared in the New Yorker magazine. She is the author and illustrator of the picture books Little Owl's Night, Little Owl's Day, and Octopus Alone.  You can see more of her work  at

Right. I'm going to go to bed now, and worry, and then, I hope, take all the worry and give it to the people in my book...

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Monday, September 26, 2016

On Dedications & Radio Plays

I finished the last of the last of the read-throughs of Norse Mythology this morning. I caught one paragraph that had somehow duplicated itself, fixed a couple of clunky sentences, and changed the word stone to iron somewhere I had thought one thing and typed another. I checked over the glossary

And then there was one last thing.

Dedicating books is an odd process, combining whim and whimsy and debts owed and gods to be placated. Mostly you ponder who would be made happiest by having this book dedicated to them, and what the most appropriate person would be for the book you have written.

But sometimes you do not have to ponder. Sometimes it's nice and obvious.

I've dedicated Norse Mythology to someone who wasn't even around a couple of days ago, and is now here, and whom I haven't yet met and held and hugged and sung songs to (but I will, soon). My first grandchild, Everett, born to my oldest son Michael and his wife Courtney (Courtney obviously did all the hard work) about 48 hours ago.

I get a grandson. Holly and Maddy and Ash get a nephew (and Ash gets someone to play with as he grows up). I am a proud and happy grandfather.

Norse Mythology is Everett's book.


This is a photograph of the cast - almost all of them, there are some secrets and surprises - of the two part BBC Radio Four adaptation of STARDUST that's coming out in December. (Here's the cast list:

The BBC is holding a competition for original STARDUST art for UK residents -- details at

You will not need to be a UK resident to listen to it, however. You can listen to it anywhere in the whole wide world, via the magic of the Internet, or the BBC iPlayer app, for a month after it broadcasts.

That's not the only Radio Four adaptation of one of my stories happening this year, though. There's also the (smaller) cast of How the Marquis Got His Coat Back:

and yes, I'm in there. I got to be in the room, acting with Bernard Cribbins and Adrian Lester and Paterson Joseph and Don Warrington and everyone and IT WAS AMAZING.

How the Marquis Got His Coat Back will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in early November (I think).


You can get registered to vote in the US via text messages: has the details. Get registered. Vote. Your vote actually matters. Vote.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

It's Ash's first birthday, a bare chin is revealed... (and so are the next three Robert McGinnis covers)

It was Ash's birthday on the 16th of September, and his mother and I went back to the place he was born to celebrate and to get away from cellphones and the world.

He's a delight and I've never loved him more. His favourite books are Goodnight Moon and a book called Chu's Day (I've never been prouder). His eyes really are that blue.

I'm now off writing, and I won't see them for another ten days. I'm loving the writing, loving the exercising and the quiet and the words, and missing them both, especially Ash, I miss singing to him, miss waking up early and going off and reading with him or walking with him (he can nearly walk). Miss feeding him.

Today I shaved off my beard. I also got a FedEx package containing a proof "Advance Reading Copy" of NORSE MYTHOLOGY (it'll be published on the 7th of February) and an early reading copy of Colleen Doran's beautiful graphic novel adaptation of TROLL BRIDGE (out on October 18th).

Here is a photograph of all these things at once. (Well, not the act of shaving.)


So, this is a very book-covery day,  because I'm going to do something fun.

For the last few months, I've been showing people I've been talking to or talking about books with or just wind up sitting next to on a plane the Robert E. McGinnis covers for Stardust, Neverwhere and Anansi Boys.

This is because I am so proud of them, and the work Todd Klein did with the lettering and the design for the books.

The American Gods cover (it already came out) is, in my head, a 1968 SF cover. (I wrote about it here: Todd Klein shows all the design work that led to it on his blog

Would you like to see the next three?


You don't have to see them. You can wait until you are in some little Indie Bookshop over the next few months, and be surprised...

I love them. The Stardust cover is an early 70s book, and is funny, like the covers I delighted in for books like William Goldman's The Princess Bride -- the lettering style was inspired by the Ballantine Adult Fantasy Line, and  the whole is intended to be sort of heartwarming.

Anansi Boys is done as a late 50s or early 60s paperback – one of those goofy comedies, with an illustration of a scene from the first chapter. (Also glad to finally get Mr Nancy on the cover of his book.) I think this one is Robert E McGinnis's masterpiece, and Todd's as well. 

 Neverwhere – when Robert McGinnis sent over this haunting cover I sent it over to Todd Klein and told him that I thought it was a 1970s gothic romance cover. He looked at the kind of covers I'd suggested, told me that they often have elegant and swirly titles and heavily serifed type, and he produced something as beautiful and haunting as the cover had been.


Oh, hell. Here you go. And I've just gone to Amazon to find out the publication dates so will put the links in...

(And I checked Indiebound and the books are now up there too, so Indiebound links as well.)

Anansi Boys ( comes out on October 25th...  (I loved this one so much I bought the painting from Mr McGinnis.)

Neverwhere ( is published on November 29th. I love the rats in the shadows...

Stardust ( is the next one to come out -- it will be out in just six days from now on September 27th...

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A cover revealed! A book exposed! A year mislaid!

I've been writing a book of retellings of Norse Mythology since about 2012. Writing it slowly, between other things. Reading and reading my prose Eddas and my poetic Eddas, in any editions I could find, thumbing through my Simek's Dictionary of Northern Mythology whenever I was unclear on something, and keeping it a secret, mostly.

I actually did a reading of one of the first stories I completed at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts three years ago, and people liked it. (Here's a write-up.) I kept writing.

I even wrote a glossary.

And now the book is done, and will be coming out in February. All the stories I loved, all the myth, many of the contradictions. Loki and Thor and Odin and Freyr and Sif and the rest, from the beginning of things through to Ragnarok and after.

Look! Here is the cover.

It is coming.

Are you ready?

It spins!

We are still working on the technology to get the hammer to spin like that on the actual cover.

It will be coming out in the US from WW Norton ( and in the UK from Bloomsbury in February.

Norton has a website -- -- and if you go to it you will see  big, not spinning version of the cover, and a photo of me being menaced by a tree.


That's almost that. Ash is one year old in two days. A year ago Amanda looked like this:

and now Ash is almost walking and he looks like this:

And I am not sure where the year went....

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Robert E McGinnis and the Secret of The New Cover

I've loved Robert McGinnis's covers for a very long time. I remember the first one I was aware of (it was the cover of Ian Fleming's  James Bond book DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER, when I was about 9. They put the film poster on the book cover, which puzzled me a bit because the plot of the book isn't the plot of the film.) And I assumed that he had retired a long, long time ago.

About a year ago, Jennifer Brehl and I were talking. Jennifer is my editor at William Morrow, and is one of the best, most sensible and wisest people in my life. I am lucky to have her. We were talking about paperbacks, and how publishers put less effort into them these days. I went off about how paperback covers used to be beautiful, and were painted, and told you so much. And how much I missed the covers of the '50s and '60s and '70s, the  ones I'd collected and bought back in the dawn of time.

And somehow the conversation wound up with me asking if Harper Collins would publish a set of mass market paperbacks of my books with gloriously retro covers and Jennifer saying that yes, they would.

A few days later I was in DreamHaven Books in Minneapolis. I noticed a particularly gorgeous cover on an old book on a shelf. "Who did that?" I asked Greg Ketter.

"Robert McGinnis," said Greg. "Actually we have a whole book of McGinnis artwork." He showed it to me. The Art of Robert E. McGinnis. It's gorgeous. Here's the cover:

I was surprised at how recent the book was. It had been published a few months earlier. "Oh yes," said Greg. "Bob's still painting. Must be almost 90."

(He was 90 in February 2016.)

I sent a note to Jennifer asking if there was even the slightest possibility that Mr McGinnis would be interested in painting the covers for the paperback set we wanted to do. He said yes.

I say that so blithely. But he has retired, pretty much, and he doesn't have email, and it was only because the Morrow art director had worked with him, and he was intrigued by the commission... and ROBERT MCGINNIS SAID YES.

He sent in the first painting, the one for American Gods. It was perfect. Now we needed to make everything that wasn't the cover  feel right.

Todd Klein, the finest letterer in comics, came in to create each book's logo and to help design it and pick the fonts, to make each book feel like it came from a certain age.

Each painting from McGinnis was better than the one before. Each Logo and layout from Todd Klein was more assured and more accurate. These things are glorious.

Now... we were planning to announce these in an much more planned and orderly way. I'm not going to tell you what books we're doing, or to show you any covers but the one.

And that's because the upcoming 2017 Starz American Gods TV series has created a huge demand for copies of American Gods. People who have never read it have started buying it to find out what the fuss is about. People who read it long ago and gave away their copy bought new ones to reread it.

The publishers ran out of books to sell.

So they've rushed back to press with the new paperback edition, which wasn't meant to be coming out for some months (and the text is the text of the Author's Preferred edition in case you were wondering).

And that means the version of the paperback with the new cover is going to be coming out a lot sooner than we thought. And tomorrow it will probably up on Amazon.

And I wanted you to hear it from me first.  You aren't going to see the rest of the Robert E McGinnis covers for a little while (and each of them looks like a different kind of book from a different era). But this is the first of them.

In my head, and Todd's, it's probably from about 1971...

Are you ready?


Here goes...

...and wait until you see the rest of them.

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Sunday, July 24, 2016

The First American Gods Trailer

I've just come back from San Diego Comic-Con, where I didn't really go to Comic-Con. Instead, from 8 am until about 11 at night, I was interviewed, photographed, asked questions, moved in and out of serious black people-movers. I got to fall in love with the American Gods cast -- I'd met a few of them in Toronto, but now I got to know the lovely people who portray Shadow, Mr Wednesday, Bilquis, Mad Sweeney and the Technical Boy up close, not to mention get a hug from our brand spanking new Easter.

A very silly and lovely cast: Clockwise, from bottom left, Yetide Badaki (Bilquis),  Pablo Schrieber (Mad Sweeney), Ricky Whittle (Shadow), Bruce Langley (The Technical Boy), Ian McShane (Mr Wednesday).

 This is my favourite moment: I was on the IMDB yacht, for an interview with Kevin Smith, and before the interview began they pointed to a large and very white bed, and suggested I should do the thing that made me happiest in bed. So I pulled out my notebook, and started writing...

I finished the latest draft of all six GOOD OMENS scripts the day before Comic-Con. That was really the last major project I had to finish before I could start the novel. Which means I should be starting to write a novel very soon...

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Doctor Doctor

I did two things yesterday I've never done before: wear a white bowtie, and be awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from The University of St Andrews. Really nice people, a wonderful time and if I didn't have Amanda and Ash with me, I had our friend Chris Cunningham, and, more or less by coincidence, my cousins Abigail and Kezia. So many excellent conversations, too.

This was Chris Jones's speech (although you cannot hear him Do The Voices on the Good Omens bit):

I'm typing this from Edinburgh Airport -- I'm heading to NYC, where I will be appearing on the Seth Meyers show on Thursday night.

(I've been out of the UK for 15 years, which is when they take your vote away from you, so I cannot vote. If I could, I would vote Remain.)

A thousand congratulations to Chris Riddell, who won the Kate Greenaway Medal for our book The Sleeper and the Spindle. Is that not wonderful?

And a Q and A from Tumblr that may be useful for everyone:

secretfiri asked:
So, I've been having troubles writing for the past 5 years and I really want to get back into it. Do you have any kind of suggestion or advice?

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Prelude to Softly and Silently Vanishing Away

My plans for the rest of the year are basically, finish the last Good Omens TV script, and then to write a novel.

I'm doing one TV interview for THE VIEW FROM THE CHEAP SEATS.

I'm making a couple of mysterious appearances for the American Gods tv series.

I'm not going to entirely vanish from social media, but probably, pretty much, I'll be gone, and living in a book which currently doesn't exist except in weird notes and ideas and things in my head.

As a general rule, when I leave social media, I blog a bit more. So keep half an eye on this blog. There are some amazing things coming out this year, and I would be an idiot if I didn't let you all know about them, so you will...

For example, what on earth is this photo about?

Who are these people? And what does it have to do with Neverwhere?

All the BBC website tells us is 

...we’re thrilled that, later this year, led by the ever-dangerous Marquis de Carabas, we’ll be taking a short trip back to the land of London Below.
We're expecting high adventure and a spine-tingling ride, with a mix of brand new characters and old favourites.
...which is definitely interesting. And will need to be announced. And so will the amazing new Chris Riddell illustrated edition of Neverwhere from the UK: I've never seen anything like it before.

This is a photograph of Chris and the cover of the book, wrapped around a completely different book, to make it look like the actual book.

And then there's the wonderful secret thing we are doing with the US paperback covers, which is making me very happy indeed. And you'll learn about them here, and I'm sure I'll put that up on Facebook and Twitter too.

And then there's the announcement of the book I finished last month... That's happening soon. It's exciting. I'll announce that.

So I'm basically around for another week. 

Expect a vague vanishing. And an eventual return. And interruptions for information.

But mostly I'm planning to be low profile online and living in my head in order to report back, from dark strange places, the remarkable doings of some most peculiar people.

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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The View, and the Plan

In a friend's old old house today, as Amanda records in the basement studio and I write in a corner, while Ash sleeps in his seat beside me. Rain lashes the windows and the wind shakes the shutters, and it seems like a proper English Summer as far as I'm concerned.

Today is the publication date for THE VIEW FROM THE CHEAP SEATS, my collection of non-fiction, of essays and speeches and introductions. It's out. it looks like this:

Or it looks like this:

Depending on whether you are in the UK or the US. There are independent bookshops in the US with signed-and-embossed copies. (Here's a link to all the shops which have ordered them:  There are bookshops in the UK that have signed copies (I don't have a list. Lots of Blackwells and Waterstones shops for a start.)

Tonight UK time -- in a few hours -- I'll be talking to Audrey Niffenegger about the book at Union Chapel. It's very sold out, but you can watch it online via this. Click and it should take you to the livestream.

And you can get it online at places like Amazon ( and Indiebound.

Maria Popova at Brainpickings wrote a beautiful piece on one of the essays in the book, the introduction to the 60th anniversary edition of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451.

It's been reviewed elsewhere, as well. Here's a bit of the NPR review:
What View accomplishes, though, is considerable. Broken up into sections — "What I Believe," "Music and the People Who Make It," "Some People I Have Known," "Make Good Art," and so on — his musings shine with wit, understatement, and a warm lack of pretention. He speaks of "backing awkwardly away from journalism" in his youth, the first step of his eventual metamorphosis into an award-winning fantasy author with a fanatical following, and reflects on the patterns that arise in our lives: "Events rhyme."
Accordingly, View draws order out of the seeming chaos of Gaiman's scattershot career, from journalism to comics to novels to children's books to screen adaptations. He talks about his life, but always through the lens of an external subject, usually on object of passion: the superhero comics of the legendary Jack Kirby, the transgressive songs of Lou Reed, the way "the shape of reality — the way I perceive the world — exists only because of Doctor Who." That was written in 2003, before Gaiman actually wrote for Doctor Who; similarly, his many ruminations onAmerican Gods, his greatest work of prose, take on a deeper resonance now that the book is well on its way to becoming a cable TV series.
Gaiman is a writer above all, though, and his entries about writing and reading make up the meat of View. They range from the deeply personal, eerily poignant "Ghosts in the Machines: Some Hallowe'en Thoughts," first published in the New York Times, to an appreciation of the element of dreams in H. P. Lovecraft's work — a particularly illuminating topic, as one of Gaiman's most beloved characters, Morpheus of The Sandman, is the deity of dreams himself. Even more intriguing is "All Books Have Genders," a meditation on the making of American Gods — as well as a humble assessment of his authorial flaws — in which he offers the succinct slogan "Novels accrete," an entire master class on the creative process summed up gracefully in two words.
It's a relief that it's published: I don't think I've ever been as nervous about a book coming out as I have been about this one. You can hide behind fiction. You can't hide behind things that are about what you think and believe.

Over at Powells, I wrote a playlist for the book: which I'm currently listening to on Spotify, with a lot of pleasure.

Over on Sky Arts, the first two of the four episodes of Neil Gaiman's Likely Stories have aired. (Here's a review of them.) If you have a Sky subscription, you can watch them online or download No, I don't know how you can watch them legally elsewhere in the world, yet. I will tell you when I find out.

And it's halfway through the year.  I'm about to dial down my online presence a lot, which normally means I blog more and tweet/facebook/tumblr etc much less. One by one the things I had to do are getting done, and I'm getting ready to write a novel. It's there in my head, a huge thing...

And if I'm not writing a novel, I'll probably be playing with him:

(Photo of Ash NOT smiling as a bonus, because people keep asking if he ever stops being happy. He's happy pretty much all of the time, but here's one of him looking pensive.)

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Monday, May 16, 2016

Finishing Things

It's 2016, a writing year. On Friday I finished a book I've been working on since 2013 (you will find out what it is sometime in the next few months. Promise). Tomorrow I finish the introduction to it. The world feels a little lighter.

The book I finished is not the big thing I have to do this year -- I think I'm going to fall off the world completely to do that pretty soon. But it's something I'm really proud of nonetheless.

It's really nice not having to do anything but writing.

Having said that, THE VIEW FROM THE CHEAP SEATS, my huge collection of non-fiction, of essays and speeches and suchlike, is coming out, and I'm even doing an event for it:

I'm not really meant to be doing any events this year, although I'm doing a couple of things that had to be postponed last year when I flew back to the US suddenly to be at a friend's deathbed. *
(Oh the things I've had to say no to.) But I'm doing this one CHEAP SEATS event in the UK. As we get closer I'll announce how it will stream, etc.

This is how they describe it:

To celebrate the publication of Neil Gaiman’s collection of non-fiction, The View from the Cheap Seats, the award-winning author will be joined by Audrey Niffenegger, bestselling author of The Time Traveller’s Wife, at a rare public event in London. The Union Chapel, Islington, will play host to these two literary heavy-weights, as they discuss Gaiman’s latest work, lauded by Stephen Fry as ‘magnificent’, amongst a myriad of other topics sure to delight fans – with a couple of surprises also in store…
Tickets are £20 each, and include a free signed copy of The View from the Cheap Seats for every ticket-holder, which they will receive on the night courtesy of Waterstones. The event will be live-streamed across the globe, via YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, so fans who are unable to attend can also enjoy this special, one-off event. Furthermore, Gaiman and Niffenegger will be answering audience questions, both from within the chapel and from those viewers at home or in bookshops tuning in. Anyone not present at Union Chapel will have the opportunity to submit their own questions via Twitter ahead of the event using the hashtag #CheapSeats.

This is the first copy that arrived in my house, a couple of days ago. I'm going to give it, as a graduation present, to Maddy Gaiman, who was about 6 when this blog started and is 21 now. She graduated today from Wake Forest.

Gaiman's Law holds true: when I opened the book for the first time, I saw a typo and my heart sank. I've not found any more, though.

Ash has his first tooth. He's all joy, all the time. It was an especial joy to see him with his brother and his sisters this weekend.

I thought about posting some graduating Maddy photos, but instead decided to link to this page, of Maddy in 2007, aged 12, on the set of Hellboy 2. She took over the blog, and captioned the photos herself.

Nine years have passed since that blog came out, and it feels like yesterday.

And on May 26th, at 9pm, on Sky Arts, LIKELY STORIES begins. Four episodes based on short stories by me, directed by Ian Forsyth and Jane Pollock, with an original soundtrack by Jarvis Cocker. Check out the trailer:

*(One of the things I had to postpone was getting an honorary doctorate at St Andrews. It's now going to happen this year, and I am thrilled about it.,496871,en.php

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