[DWJ] author flirting

Minnow minnow at belfry.org.uk
Wed Jan 28 08:51:21 EST 2009

Charlie wrote:

>> > I'm sure I read (possibly on the cover?) a quote from DWJ saying she
>> > thought
>> > it was the best thing Gaiman had done.

and Katta remarked

>> Wow, those two just keep author-flirting with each other, don't they? I
>> bought The Graveyard Book (my copy doesn't have a quote) along with a bunch
>> of other books, including The Pinhoe Egg, where Gaiman calls DWJ the best
>> writer of magic there is. :-)

I am quite sure that he meant it.  He is genuinely entranced by her work.
As for the quote on Gaiman's book, DWJ didn't know until five minutes ago
that it had won the Newberry and is utterly delighted; she wants to
reiterate that as far as she is concerned it *is* the best thing he has
done so far.

She also wants me to point out (not for the first time) that she doesn't
give blurbs for just anything, and that she recently refused to give one
when her own publisher asked her to because it was not an original book nor
one she had greatly enjoyed (name witheld to spare the guilty), but that
Neil's are always good and always original and as for author flirting, he
is the same age as her youngest son and we can all wash our minds out with
soap and water.  (So all  right, I shouldn't have interrupted her when she
was watching the tennis: she always gets terse if she's interrupted in the
middle of watching sport on the telly.)  She also pointed out that there
are plenty of authors who are friends of hers but whose books she hasn't
blurbed because she didn't like the book however much she may have thought
the author a lovely person and wished him or her well.

and Farah wrote

>I realise you mean it to be funny, but here it's a bit unfair. Gaiman came
>to fantasy writing as a *fan*. He's been in the field almost 40 yrs since he
>started so young. Like many of us, he started reading DWJ almost as soon as
>her books books started to come out.

(Good lord, how old is he?  He *can't* have been in the field for almost
forty years!  For some reason I have 1963 as the year of his birth, and if
that's right he *can't* have got started much before the late seventies,

Her first book was in the early seventies, so he may even have met one or
two of her books already-published when he started to read properly.
Certainly they will have been among his early fantasy reading, I'd've

>When Gaiman adores DWJ, he means every single word. If he had time, I
>strongly suspect he'd be on this list, gushing with the rest of us.

I certainly know that he read *Howl's Moving Castle* as a bed-time book for
his youngest child, and read every word of it aloud (having already read it
before, obviously).  He said this was a wonderful way to read her work,
because it means one can't skip at all, and by not skipping one won't miss
the tiny hints and clues about things that she puts in -- so he learnt more
about it that way than he had before.

I also know that he makes special journeys to Bristol to visit her, when he
has signing tours; I have known them spend an hour together on Temple Meads
railway station when the timing for signings didn't allow him to go to her
house, just so they would be able to chat.

>Also: UK fandom is *small*, around 1200 people active at any time. The
>largest convention is about 800 (more if in London).

In Liverpool in 1999 it was more like 1000 at the Eastercon, and I think
Liverpool in 1994 was more like 1200, what with walk-ins and all.

>Gaiman probably first
>met DWJ when he was quite young and she was still attending conventions.

They met at a World Fantasy Con in the 1980s, when they were both going to
those.  Neil described it later as 'the last of the good ones'.  But I
don't know which it was.

They were certainly friends, as opposed to acquaintances, by the Microcon
at which I met her, and that was on February 27th 1988 -- I had met him at
the UKCAC in September 1987 when he was just starting seriously to do
comics and I was known in that field.  He proposed to introduce me to her
at that Microcon, and was quite peeved when he turned up later than either
of us and we had already started to chat.  I suspect that he would still
claim to have introduced us to each other, in fact.

>We really do all know each other, and after a while the interlocking
>networks can look really strange. For example: I would not presume to call
>myself a friend of Gaiman's. We are acquaintances at most, and I am
>delighted he respects my opinion. But at the last count we shared at least
>four very close friends.

Oh, Farah, be fair: there are scads of fandom whom I know only by name,
face, address, dietary requirements and whether they are allergic to
feather-pillows (well, I did do hotel liaison for about eight years); there
are also at least three that I actively *don't* know, don't want to know
and firmly intend never to get to know or recognise if I see them...  :-)


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