Neil Gaiman in D.C.
The audience at George Washington University was disappointed to learn that the Neil Gaiman puppet would not be interviewing the Neil Gaiman human, but we got over it. For about an hour, uber-author Gaiman read from his new book The Ocean at the End of the Lane and took questions. He was pretty entertaining throughout, though I may be overly influenced by how cool his English accent is.
He said he wrote the Ocean story for his wife. Apparently, she is often less-than-intrigued by his work, so he wrote a story about honesty and emotions that he hoped she would like. He meant to write a short story, but when he was done, he called his agent and said, “I appear to have written a novel.”
During the Q&A, Gaiman told the packed Lisner Auditorium that research for his books is based on 38 years of reading mythology. (This puts my five years of hoovering up U.S. Civil War history to shame.) Gaiman also explained why the name “Hempstock” appears so often in his novels. The name was mentioned in the Domesday Book, a survey of England and Wales completed in 1086. As a child, he was fascinated by a nearby Hempstock farm whose farmhouse he assumed had existed for 1000 years in its pristine red brick condition. He also admitted he can’t stop writing about angels, which to him are like cockroaches – they just keep turning up.
This was my first time participating in the Neil Gaiman phenomenon. All the laughs were a great bonus. I highly recommend catching him on his book tour if you can.