Neil Gaiman read chapter 5 and the Interlude of The Graveyard Book to 600 lucky audience members at Gunn High School Saturday night. The event was cosponsored by Kepler’s Books Inc. (the best Independent Bookstore south of San Francisco) and the Palo Alto Library. The stage was wonderfully and theatrically decorated with tombstones of characters from the book, as well as a screen with an image of an eerie graveyard. There was a plush leather seat in the middle of stage complete with one reading lamp, one stuffed raven and two water bottles.
Neil read for about 40 minutes (he has the best reading voice, its deep, it’s soothing, it has a British accent…). Then there was a raffle for a Coraline audio CD (I did not win). Then there was a short intermission. There was a Q & A which is always fun and interesting. While waiting in line, the audience wrote questions on index cards, this giant stack of index cards was then handed to Neil, as he flipped through them on the stage answered questions. Most of the questions he answered were about The Graveyard Book. There is one sentence in the book that is not on the audio cd. Chapter 6 had to be completely re-written because it did not match the tone of the rest of the book, and he wrote chapter 4 first, before working on the other chapters of the book. His next book to be released will be called Crazy Hair, and it is also a children’s book.
After the Q & A we were surprised with a couple of short movie clips. The first being a behind the scenes trailer of the Coraline movie. Its stop-animation in 3-D, and it is going to be fantastic. It should be coming out in theaters sometime this year. We also saw snippets from 4 scenes of Coraline. Palo Alto was the third audience to view these clips. Neil requested that no one You Tube the clips, but I doubt anyone really listened. Lastly, Neil read to us a poem that he had written for Tori Amos when she was pregnant with her baby girl. It is a beautiful poem, and reminded me of All The Places You Will Go by Dr. Seuss. I think this poem will also be published at some point in 2009.
Since Neil had broken his finger in China, he did not stay after the reading to individually sign books for the 600 audience members. I had already pre-ordered The Graveyard Book and was hoping he would sign it Happy Birthday Nari, but no such luck. Having a giant school-girl crush on him, I ended up buying a second signed copy of the book. =) Luckily for all my loyal readers, that means I will be giving away my spare copy of The Graveyard Book!!
Rules: All you have to do is comment on this post with your favorite Neil Gaiman creation (movie, comic book, novel, picture book, etc). I’ll announce the winner on October 20th, so make sure you get in your entries before midnight on October 19th. . Extra entries if you post about this entry on your blog or website.