Interview with Alexander Gordon Smith – Author of The Fury

We are today’s hosts for The Fury blog tour. Here is our interview with Alexander Gordon Smith…

Tell us a little about yourself

Um… I don’t know where to start! Okay, I’ve been a published writer since I was six years old, although my first book – The Silly Monster Book – was published by me, with a stapler. I’ve always been fascinated by monsters, even though my gran made me watch The Texas Chainsaw Massacre when I was six and that almost put me off scary things for life. When I was eleven I tried to spend a night in a haunted house as research, and lasted seven minutes before vomiting all over myself in terror and running away. I wrote my first proper book aged twenty-five, alongside my brother who was nine. It was called The Inventors, and we actually tried to build most of the inventions in the book ourselves (I nearly exploded several times). My next series was the Furnace series (Escape From Furnace in the US), about a fourteen-year-old boy who gets sent to a prison full of nightmare creatures. Writing Furnace made me realise how much I love horror (it gives you unlimited creative freedom because anything can happen), and The Fury is my latest attempt to give people nightmares! I also own a horror film production company with my sister, called Fear Driven Films, and we’re trying to make our first horror movie this year.

Tell us about The Fury and your inspiration for the book
The Fury is a horror novel, and an action thriller, about what would happen if one day, without warning, the world turned against you, if the entire human race tried to kill you. I love zombies, and I wanted to write a zombie novel, but so many people have already done the zombie thing really, really well. I was struggling to think of a unique, original angle to approach the story from. I was going over the different things that could be responsible for a zombie outbreak – the virus, the chemical, and so on. Then it struck me: what if the catalyst was you. What if you turned people into feral, bloodthirsty, mindless freaks just by being near them? And what if, as soon as you died, or you escaped, those people went back to their lives as if nothing had happened. For me, that idea is even more horrific than a zombie apocalypse, because you’re the only person who knows something is wrong. For everybody else, life is normal; they go shopping, they watch telly, they hang out with friends. But you have to hide, have to fight to survive, because every single person you meet – friends, family, strangers – will try to murder you.

There were other inspirations too, and the main one was a game that we used to play at school. It was called Murderball, and it really lived up to its name! Our sadistic PE teacher would give you a rugby ball and a five-second head start, then he’d send the rest of the class after you. You’d literally be attacked by thirty people – thirty friends – who would pile on top of you and punch you and kick you and bite you and try to stop you breathing. Every time it happened I honestly thought I was going to die! The memory of my friends, chasing after me with demonic expressions, looking as though they wanted to rip me to pieces, was certainly a big help when I was writing the book!

What are you working on now?
Quite a few things! One of my favourite parts of the writing process is the ‘big shiny new idea’ stage, where you suddenly have this huge flash of story inside your head and you just can’t wait to get started. When that happens I tend to drop everything and begin a new project, and often I’ll get a few thousand words in and suddenly that white heat of excitement cools down. The good thing about this is that I have a dozen or so books that are waiting to be finished. The downside is that, well, I have a dozen or so unfinished books! I will sometimes drop whatever I’m doing to start a new project, which means I lose the momentum on whatever I’m working on. I need more willpower and patience with my writing (I need more willpower and patience full stop, come to think of it)!

So, right now I’m working on the sequel to The Fury, which is called The Storm. I’m about halfway through and it’s non-stop action so far, I’m having such a blast with it. When I came back from my recent tour of the States, however, I discovered that while I was away a cat had been living in my house, bullying my cats and eating their food. One morning I woke up with an entire novel inside my head about a family who are terrorised by an evil cat. So I have been writing both books side by side!

Where is your favourite place to write?

I’ll always write at home. I know quite a few writers who like to work in cafes or other public places, but if I do that then I’ll spend five minutes gazing around aimlessly for every minute I spend actually writing – I’m quite easily distracted! So I’ll sit at home and write, usually in the morning. During the winter, when it’s cold in the house, I’ll often get up early, make coffee, then head back to bed and write for a couple of hours. It’s a tough life!! Then I’ll get up, have breakfast, and work in whatever side of the house has the sun. I tend to write my books quite quickly – usually around a month from start to finish, although The Fury took about four months because it’s a bigger, more complicated story. It’s an intense process, and during that time I don’t get out much, I just lock myself in the house and write!

Of course, if I could choose any place to write, it would be in a gazebo on the beach on my private island in the Caribbean… So I’ll have to keep hoping for that multi-million pound film deal! ?

What do you like to do outside of writing?
What do you mean? There are other things to do besides write? Nobody told me this!! Actually, joking aside, if I’m not writing I’m usually either thinking about writing, or talking about writing. It’s like water, it takes up every available iota of space in my life. I think my friends and family get annoyed because I often have one foot in the real world, and one in whatever world I’m writing about, so quite a few conversations don’t really sink in and people end up having to repeat themselves several times (and even then I’ll forget what they’ve said). I love touring as well, I’m so lucky to be able to travel around the world and talk about the books. When I’m not doing that, I love to read, watch movies, and play video games, but even that really counts as research for books. My girlfriend is a writer too, so there’s no getting away from it. But that’s cool, I love that writing is my life. I wouldn’t want it any other way! ?

You can find out more about Alexander Gordon on his website:
You can follow Alexander Gordon Smith on Twitter @AGSmith_Author

The Spark, Faber’s online community for teenager’s, has launched a fantastic new competition in association with The Fury.
If you’re between the ages of 13 and 18 and fancy trying your hand at filmmaking, all you need to do is send a script and storyboard for the trailer of THE FURY, by 2 July. You don’t need filmmaking experience or equipment – if your script is selected in our top five you’ll win a Flip camera with which to bring your trailer to life!

Finally, the filmmaker behind the best of those five trailers will win a £500 Apple Store voucher and see their film used worldwide as the official trailer for the book.

Go to the competition page to find out more about the book, how to enter and tips on how to write the storyboard for your book trailer. Closing date Monday 2nd July 2012.