Hello again. It’s a fine day in London. I think things will be quiet today as everyone remembers what happened this time last year. It still seems surreal to me, I remember watching events unfolding on the TV in the room behind me at work, watching that second plane hit the tower, unbelievable.
On lighter notes, our new phone number is 020 8361 7548, or 44 20 8361 7548 for those calling from overseas. Also, for those emailing, our addresses are firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com (other addresses work as well, those are just the preferred ones). Moving went very smoothly for once, and we’re now settled in at the new place. Sky got installed on Monday, so I’m happily watching football again. I took the day off on Monday to do some tidying and to be there for when the Sky guys turned up. I also had a book signing to attend in the evening, Raymond E. Feist at the Borders on Oxford Street. The day itself was very wet, there were all sorts of flash floods, especially around Inverness, Scotland. Thankfully by the time I set off the worst of the weather had passed.
I had to pick up a book from Karyn in Wood Green, she wanted it and another I already had signed for her Dad back in NZ. After picking that up (and negotiating a flooded tube station, which meant I had to do a bit more walking than intended) it was in to town. I was very early (see previous blog notes about Terry Pratchett/Christopher Lee signings to see why) but needn’t have worried. In all I think there were about 80-90 people, which made life very easy. There was to be a talk between Raymond, Miller Lau and an interviewer and then the signing. Raymond was promoting his new book, Talon of the Silver Hawk
as well as the 20th anniversary edition of his first book, Magician.
The interviewer suggested that both authors should read a passage from their books. It turns out that Raymond doesn’t do readings, he can read things fine, he can speak fine, but when he tries to do them both together it just doesn’t work, so he politely declined. Miller read from her book but I got the feeling she was a little overawed by Raymond (she’s only on to her second book) and I would say that 95% of the people present were there for Raymond.
After Miller’s reading the interviewer asked questions of both authors, most of which I can’t remember now. It was interesting hearing Raymond talk about the process of writing his first book and how unstructured he was at that point (something echoed by Miller in regard to her first book as well). Raymond also talked about the new book and gave a few insights into how the series will develop (it being the first of five in the third Riftwar saga). Both authors also said that its the characters they work on first, once they have a good idea of the character they can put them into the story and see how things go. As Raymond says, he creates a character, gets comfortable with who they are and then places them in a whole ‘world of hurt’ to see how they react. Another point that Raymond came up with was to do with how the story develops. He echoed something that Neil Gaiman said when we say him in Scotland. Raymond talked about how sometimes characters, situations or objects appear in his head to be written into a story but he’s not sure why, he just knows they belong. In the new book there is a character who is introduced early on but as she was written in Raymond didn’t know why. When it got to the next page and the other characters were talking about her and asking why she was there Raymond didn’t know himself at the time. Neil talked about the same thing with his book ‘Coraline’, Coraline gets given a stone with a hole in it at one point and when it happened Neil didn’t know why, he just knew it belonged in the story.
There was a question time after the talks and then it was on to the signing. I got two books signed for Karyn (for her dad really) and one for myself. I also got the print of the cover art from ‘A Darkness at Sethanon’ signed, the one I bought from Geoff Taylor (the artist) when we met him last year, and which is also signed by him. I think a few people were jealous of the print, Karyn and I bought the last ones. Raymond said he actually had a copy as well, given to him by Geoff. After everything I had was signed I packed up and listened while other people talked to Raymond. Then it was off to the tube down Oxford Street. I’m sure I would have been getting a few strange looks, walking in shorts and a t-shirt down Oxford Street after dark in the rain, people over here seem to think its cold all the time. Actually, I get more strange looks in Scotland than I do in London.