The "Live Talk" session began a bit late, but was totally worth the wait. Neil talked about how he came to write his new book The Ocean at the End of the Lane which started as a short story for his wife who was away recording an album. And it kept getting longer and longer until he had written a novella he hadn't meant to. Since his wife, Amanda, doesn't care for fantasy (the audience had an audible reaction to that!) he wanted to write a story about feelings and emotions which was foreign to him because he's "British and male." LOL But the book has a lot of Neil in it - not that it's autobiographical but he drew on his past a lot for the characters. And the photo on the back cover is of Neil as a child standing on a drainpipe!
Neil read an excerpt from the book as well, which is always lovely because he has such a nice reading voice! He also read an excerpt from the book that is coming out later this year - Fortunately, the Milk which sounded like such a fun, tall tale type story with that dry British humor.
There were a couple questions emailed from Stephen King that Neil answered, and his answer to one question where he talked about how his dreams changed after he wrote Sandman was so interesting. He said that before he would have frightening, vivid nightmares that would scare him, but when he became an author, those nightmares would inspire him and he would write them down to use later. And then those sorts of dreams just started going away.
And of course there was a Doctor Who question! Neil mentioned that he had never seen so many unlicensed Doctor Who shirts as he had on this tour. :) The question was about when he thought of writing a story about the TARDIS incarnate, and he said that it started off as wanting to write a story about the TARDIS - usually the safest place in a Doctor Who story as the most dangerous place, with a malevolent being inside it. And Neil hadn't thought the focus was on Idris so much, but Steven Moffat latched onto "TARDIS girl."
After the talk, the book signing began - one row at a time up to the stage, and I think because Neil agreed to sign as many copies of The Ocean at the End of the Lane as people wanted, and an additional item, and because he takes his time to talk to people and draw little pictures in the books sometimes, it took quite a long time for my row to go up to the stage. Like three hours. And I was so tired, did I mention? But if I was tired, I can't imagine how he did it, signing for everyone there, and there must have been at least a third of the audience still to get through after me! And when I finally got up, the adrenaline took over, and I was so awed to see him up close, I admire his writing so much! And he gave me strawberries! Well they were from the green room and intended for everyone in line, but I received the bowl of them from his hands!
This is the little Vine video I took when I got closer to the front of the line: