I arrived at 6.30 to find a very long queue and the place packed out, which I suppose is to be expected with a Neil Gaiman event. I was lucky enough to get a centre row seat only a few rows back, so I had a great view. Before Neil even made an appearance, a Dalek was ushered onto the stage which gained great laughter and applause from the crowds. Eventually Neil came out on stage to rapturous applause, and the night got underway.
It was less of a talk and more of an informal chat. Neil spoke about the busy year he’s had: two books, one multimedia project, Doctor Who and an upcoming video game. He’s certainly had a full and demanding few months. He went on to talk at length about The Ocean at The End of The Lane and how it came about, and there was a question and answer session where the dynamic personality you hear about really shone. He read a passage from The Ocean at The End of the Lane, and later on one from his new children’s book Fortunately The Milk, which is a story he seems really proud of.
I was not at all prepared for the signing afterwards. Neil had graciously offered to sign two books per person – one copy of Ocean and another of his books. It took an incredibly long time to even be allowed to queue. I started resenting this, but realised that once I got to the front I wouldn't want to be rushed through, so I waited patiently. However, I did end up missing one train, and by the time we were allowed to line up – it was 10 minutes before I had to leave in order to catch the last train home! About half way through the queue I had to flag the lady manning it down and say that I only had four minutes until I had to go. Thankfully, she took me straight to the front of the queue to get my book signed. She, and the staff at the signing table, treated me absolutely wonderfully and didn't make me feel guilty at all.
By the time I got to the table it was half ten, and Neil had been signing for two hours with still half the room to do. He was still the most lovely man, who gave a really genuine smile and thanked me for coming. He was attempting to draw a monster in every persons copy of Ocean, and a different monster for every person, and I joked that it was testing his creative skills – he agreed.
The whole evening was a wonderful experience, and not something I’m likely to forget for a while! For more information on the content of Neil’s talk head on over to Bloggers Bookshelf where I’ve written all about it.
Follow me on: