Monday, August 14, 2006

Googling things mostly

Hi Neil,I have always wondered this: is the King of Pain who comes to tempt Joshua Abraham Norton an actual historical figure? Or is he just something you came up with because of the Police song? I have searched the Web several times but couldn't find anything about him.Regards,Nicholas from Singapore

Did you try googling? There seems to be something wrong with the formatting of the Sandman FAQs. But a quick googling told me that you'll find the answer over in
Still, I spent a few additonal seconds googling, and actually found Herbert Asbury's Barbary Coast on line, where we learn that,
an occasional visitor at the Cobweb Palace, was an itinerant healer who
called himself the King of Pain. He was probably the most ornate personage in
the San Francisco of his time—his customary attire was scarlet underwear, a
heavy velour robe, a high hat bedecked with ostrich feathers, and a heavy sword.
When he went abroad, he rode in a coal-black coach drawn by six snow-white
horses. The King of Pain made a fortune selling aconite liniment from a pitch at
Third and Mission streets, but he lost all his money at the gaming tables and
finally committed suicide.


Work Habits...Hi Neil! I'm a film & tv editor/sometime filmmaker/aspiring writer. I'm curious about your work habits. Are you one to hide in a quiet writer's garret, work in the local coffeeshop or tavern? Do you, as Douglas Adams did, have music playing all the time as you write? I take it from your assistant's "A Day in the Life of a Personal Assistant" you tend to be more of a night owl.My own work habits as far as writing goes are somewhat limited by by "real job." I usually end up sitting down to write at about 7pm, screw around looking up stuff on Wikipedia, dusting my desk, trying to find that small scrap of paper that I wrote someone's phone number down on two weeks ago, and eventually start putting words down around midnight.Thanks for the great work! I wish more people had the chance to see Mirrormask on the big screen... I fortunately did in that very short week it was here in Los Angeles.Cheers!--Jud

I'm afraid I haven't been a late night writer for almost a decade. I used to be a late-night author, and I sort of miss it. But these days I'm an afternoon writer, mostly.

(It's worth pointing out that Lorraine's "Day in the life" was semi-fictional. While it's composed mostly of real bits -- she did have to head out early and wake me a few days ago, when I had to do an early-morning call to my UK editor to go over the galleys of Fragile Things, and she'll come out and make sure I'm not going to miss a plane if I've got to leave at the crack of dawn -- I'm normally up and pottering about and have made my own tea by the time she drives up with the mail.)

I have been trying to find a "American Gods" in audio form. I have the cassette tapes, but have had no luck finding it on CD. Since I traded cars, part of what I lost was my tape player, and was wondering where I could find it online where I could download the book, or if it is available through CD format.I am sending this hoping that it is not available on Amazon, since I have looked there, and hate having to blame myself on my own stupidity for not seeing what is in front of me.Thank you,Larry Wilmoth

I tried googling American Gods CD to see where it took me, and found myself on the page for the MP3 CD -- -- with a link to the downloadable audio -- It didn't actually tell me how people could buy the CD version that only went to libraries, but you could order that from your library. Or you could get the MP3 CD and put it on your iPod or computer and burn it to audio CD.

Parlor trick for Fat Charlie..."Levitating Screw" using magnets, wire, and a lime! -Fred

That looks both silly and fun from the little video. But it's the lime that makes it magic. (I wish it was the lime that levitated, though.)

Hi Lorraine. I loved your description of life as Neil's assistant. Can we see some pictures of his hand-written manuscripts?Thank you,Mike

I hate to tell you this, but Lorraine was just doing a guest-post here. Luckily, I can point you to handwritten manuscripts on this here very website --
Although they seem to have shrunk in the redesign to the point where they aren't easy to read (well, they were never easy to read. But they were at least readable before).

So who pays?
I mean I often see you post about popping off to one destination or another. Is the life of a famous author *insert swooning fans here* actually that lucrative, or do other people pay for most of your trips? Is there ever an instance where you think "Hey I'd like to take the family on that trip to Venice/Australia/The Caribbean but we will have to SAVE some money to do it"?
If the money is always there for what you want, was it always that way and could you please tell me how it feels?

Er, mostly if I'm going somewhere to do something then someone else is paying. This is because I'd rather be at home. (Next week's trip to Spain to be Best Man at Mark Buckingham's wedding is, of course, an exception.)

I've been a best-selling author for a long time now. And Hollywood has been optioning things I've written since around 1990. So yes, I can afford my own tickets and things.

How does it feel? Okay, I guess. It makes some things easier. It doesn't fix anything important. It takes away the small fights and miseries and grind-you-down irritants and hard choices of not having enough money. The biggest thing I wish it would buy me, which it doesn't, is time: more time to write in, more time to do things in.

One does not expect to see Neil Gaiman quoted in a historical political
analysis comparing and contrasting the US political situation with the Nixon

Well, this one didn't, anyway.


Nor would I, honestly.


Finally, when I was on the Stardust set last month I took a few slightly illicit photos with my cell-phone... I'm going to post one of my favourites here, because it makes me smile. It's Claire Danes, who plays Yvaine, sitting on the floor between takes, laughing at somebody's joke (Charlie Cox's, I think). (If no-one growls at me for posting it, I may post a few more.)