(I was asked to report on the event at Child_lit so I wrote a bit more about it and decided to post the report here!)
It was a lovely free event (I got there at 4:30 for the 7:00 event so I did get very good seating!) at the Teacher’s College Horace Mann Auditorium. It seats about 500 and the room (orchestra and balcony) was filled to capacity. Most of the people in the audience are Neil’s adult fans — many college/late 20s who obviously are great fans of Sandman since when he made references to Sandman characters, the entire room responded. There were, however, a dozen or so children and when he read (he read the entire first chapter — 33 pages,) those children responded very favorably — laughing at the right moments (also thanks to Neil’s skillful and dramatic reading).
I sensed that the audience got slightly restless toward the end of the chapter since there were a couple of places that we felt would have made a natural break. but the story kept going, after shifting gears. However, I imagine that if it is broken down to two readings, no one would have felt the reading was just a tad “long.”
Oh, and we were treated to a very cool, not-before-seen, Coraline trailer. It IS going to be 3D Stop Motion Animation for the whole entire deal. Let’s hope for the BEST! His Q&A section was great, talking about his China trip (one month, researching myths and legends, and breaking a finger,) his haircut,
his characters in books, whether he’ll write sequels to Neverwhere, American Gods, etc. (yes, he WOULD if he had the time — and yes, there are stories set in all these worlds.) He was asked if there is any difference in writing a “more intricate and complex” book for adults than a “less so” (grumble) book for young adults/children. He
said No. It’s all putting one word after another. And then he said that the only difference was the length it took him to write the books — one (American Gods) took longer than the other (Graveyard Book.)
He talked about how he sometimes worries about his characters coming out of his books to knock on his door and demand to know WHY he created him and made them live such miserable and dark lives. He talked about how he indeed is “their maker.” He imagines of his own “meeting the maker” moment after his unavoidable demise: “When I ask WHY ME, Why NOW? I’m afraid of hearing a booming voice from the Sky that says, ‘Because that makes a BETTER STORY.'” The audience laughed, of course. (He did the God-Booming voice very well… and my
paraphrasing is nowhere near funny as he was in person.)
I posted a link to the audio file from HarperCollins on my blog. No pictures or video from me, unfortunately. I believe that the reading will be (is planned to be) put online soonish — since he is doing ONE
CHAPTER per city on this tour until the whole book is read through. (And he also talked about audio book recording and how much he LOVES doing it even though it is really hard work.)
* Here’s the link to the Graveyard Book Reading Tour on Video.