Monday, January 20, 2003
Normally when I get to a foreign country I try to keep going until the next night and let my body catch up, but that wasn't going to happen this time, so I slept for a couple of hours and then went for a walk to try and wake up. Got rained on. Then to Albin Michel, my publisher, where there was a small champagne reception thing with crisps and I was introduced to lots of terribly nice reps and publishers and people who I wasn't quite sure who they were -- journalists and people who administer literary prizes and so on. Then to dinner with publishers and my translator, Helene Collon, who was impressed, during a conversation about Slapp Happy, to learn that I could say Acnalbasac Noom. Lovely food, conversation, everything, and now back in my hotel. "You're in the same room that they put Nicholas Evans in," I was told. Am now faintly worried I'll wake in the night with the urge to write a redemptive novel about damaged people and their relationship with each other and the totemic animals that will make them whole.

Tomorrow: interviews all the way...


Hi Neil

I've wanted to write for a few weeks now, but keep putting it off. I have several questions and comments for you.

I am planning on attending your signing in Paris on Wednesday. Do you know of anything special that we should be aware of regarding the signing, like having to purchase something, or something like that? I am planning on buying the French version of Coraline that day.

I had originally planned on asking whether there would be a translated version published at the time that you would be coming. And then I happened to be in the small 'librarie' just below our apartment and I saw it there, which I find incredibly cool considering we live in a tiny village outside of Paris. And if you don't already know, the version that I saw, and since most books don't have hardcovers in France I imagine this is the regular French version, had the American cover with only two of the Dave McKean drawings, one of Coraline at the front and one of the mouse band at the back.

Having recently started to read Neverwhere in French, I also wanted to let you know that the French version does have both prologues. I haven't noticed other differences between it and the American version yet.

I have also been curious as to why Sandman isn't really available here. The French seem hugely into comics, especially good adult comics and you find them everywhere, which I find unique, especially since comics is more of niche in the States, but no Sandman. I have seen both Death minis and The Black Orchid series (which I didn't even know about till I saw it in French), but I have only every seen the first four episodes of Sandman. The first half of Preludes and Nocturnes was published here as Preludes, but that is the only Sandman thing that I have found. Are the rest published, or are there any plans to publish the rest of the series? I just always find it surprising to not see all of your works here, given the atmosphere there is for comics here.

One last thing (I think) and this is said a bit tongue in cheek, but it seems to me as if Tori has been following your ideas with her last several albums. Strange Little Girls could compare with your retelling of tales just as Snow, Glass, Apples and there is certainly a huge parallel between American Gods and Scarlet's Walk. In that vein, is Tori planning on doing a children's album for Tash as her next project?

Are you going to still be in France for Tori's concert on the 4th of February? Or are you going to catch her elsewhere in Europe?

Thanks for the stories. They have given me so much.


Let's see -- nothing special that I know of at the signing. Expect some kind of to-be-announced limit on how much you can get signed, and shops are always happier if you buy a copy of the book from them, but I've not been told about anything special like this: if in doubt, you could always phone Virgin or Mille Pages and ask.

I've never understood why Sandman wasn't published in France -- the explanation for years was because it had too many artists and the french public would not be able to read something that had different artists. It would offend their sensibilities, or something. That was also the reason given for why the original Books of Magic could never be published in France, while Black Orchid could be.

But a small publisher did bring out Death and one book of Sandman some years ago.

A quick check shows that The Last Temptation, Murder Mysteries and Harlequin Valentine all seem to be out in French editions; and I know that The Day I Swapped My Dad For Two Goldfish is out in French, and that Mr Punch has just been sold to a French Publisher. So we're making a little headway.

I'll miss Tori in Europe, alas -- will aim to see her when she returns to the US, before I go back to Portugal/Holland/Spain/Italy/Poland/other places we're waiting for confirmation on/ for the European Mostly Coraline Tour in April.