inkwell.vue.116 : New York Times Bestselling Author Neil Gaiman: _American Gods_
permalink #76 of 406: Neil Gaiman (neilgaiman) Sat 7 Jul 01 13:10
    
Martha -- well, in terms of whole interludes, one was cut (the Emperor
of China), and two weren't written (the dybbuks in New York in the
1890s and the japanese internment camp in 1942).

Scenes that were cut... well, there were quite a few. I chopped about
10,000 words from the finished version when it was done. And a few went
shortly after writing them -- Jesus lasted about two days. It's a
lovely scene, but just wrong.
  
inkwell.vue.116 : New York Times Bestselling Author Neil Gaiman: _American Gods_
permalink #77 of 406: Rani (rani) Sat 7 Jul 01 14:03
    
Neil -- so far the book has made me laugh out loud more times than I
can count. But, I have a bit of a bone to pick with you. Mead is not
disgusting! Or at least the stuff that I make is pretty darn good.
Maybe Wednesday is just a horrible brewer. 
  
inkwell.vue.116 : New York Times Bestselling Author Neil Gaiman: _American Gods_
permalink #78 of 406: Erynn Miles (erynn-miles) Sat 7 Jul 01 14:53
    
rani- Yes! Tee-hee! Well, I've had good meads and bad meads...

Janell (and any other interested persons): Go to
WWW.inanna.com/yggdrasil

Sorry. I don't know no HTML so you may have to cut and paste. 
And Jesse (the silly question asker...well, maybe not silly, just
misworded) found this:
www.mimir.net/race/ratatosk.shtml

The thing I love about this book is that it keeps on going forever
even after you've finished it. My friends and I can't stop talking
about it. ("did you catch this part?" "Oh hot digity that's cool!") I
caught a lot of stuff the first read, but one read is just not enough. 

And Neil- Not that you need more compliments:P but I have to say that
at least as long as I've known Jess he's never actually finished
reading a novel. Imagine my surprise and delight to see The Book glued
to his hands until he finished. And it will be, like, 2:00AM and he'll
wake me up with some new epiphany he's had about it. Obviously you did
something right. 

Dan- I have a theory about the Shadow/god thing, but in fear of
sounding like an ass, I'm going to do some more reading and looking up
things before I say anything. 
  
inkwell.vue.116 : New York Times Bestselling Author Neil Gaiman: _American Gods_
permalink #79 of 406: Erynn Miles (erynn-miles) Sat 7 Jul 01 15:02
    
oops. I mistyped the second link. It was supposed to be:
www.mimir.net/races/ratatosk.shtml
  
inkwell.vue.116 : New York Times Bestselling Author Neil Gaiman: _American Gods_
permalink #80 of 406: Maggie (missy-sedai) Sat 7 Jul 01 15:18
    
Mmmm...mead...yummy!

I don't know that anyone should have a bone to pick with Neil about
that - after all, it's Wednesday doing the complaining.  Perhaps
Wednesday, after these bazillions of years, is just *bored* with mead
and now dislikes it?
  
inkwell.vue.116 : New York Times Bestselling Author Neil Gaiman: _American Gods_
permalink #81 of 406: Martha Soukup (soukup) Sat 7 Jul 01 17:38
    
I'm with Neil.  I had mead at a ren faire with his friend Steve and I
thought it was pretty vile.  But, of course, it's not Neil thinking it's
vile, it's the character.

Neil, do you think you may write up the interludes you never did write up,
someday?
  
inkwell.vue.116 : New York Times Bestselling Author Neil Gaiman: _American Gods_
permalink #82 of 406: Neil Gaiman (neilgaiman) Sat 7 Jul 01 23:56
    
Rani -- I've had lovely mead over the years. And I've had some that
tasted like sweet pickle juice...

It's not that I really have anything against mead. It was just a much
more fun scene to write if the mead was unpleasant.

Erynn -- that's wonderful.

Martha -- I doubt I'll ever write the jewish one, not as a coming to
America. I'd be more likely to taake a few of the ideas and do it as a
story about my own family in the east end of London. I remember an aunt
trying to explain it to me, and saying "The bad thing was you'd come
home from school, and someone else would have hanged themselves in the
stairwell. It was the hunger. And the stairwell of the rothschild
buildings was the only place where the ceiling was high enough."



The Japanese one, on the other hand, is still in my head. I did a lot
of research for it, too.
  
inkwell.vue.116 : New York Times Bestselling Author Neil Gaiman: _American Gods_
permalink #83 of 406: JaNell (janell) Sun 8 Jul 01 07:12
    
Neil, not being either/or is fighting my natural inclinations, but
I'll try.
Maybe this has already been asked, over the years, but did/do you set
out to create new mythologies?

And please don't leave us hanging on the E. London teaser; I'd like to
read that book.
  
inkwell.vue.116 : New York Times Bestselling Author Neil Gaiman: _American Gods_
permalink #84 of 406: Neil Gaiman (neilgaiman) Sun 8 Jul 01 07:33
    
JaNell -- it shouldn't have to be a Zen exercise. Just an inclusive
thing, like those multiple choice questions where the answer was all of
the above. And sometimes the answer can shift, like the view,
depending on where you"re standing. (Is a mouse a household pest or a
cute beady-eyed pet?)

On the story ... I dunno. I promise nothing on future stories: there
are too many of them nudging to be written. Picking the next novel and
starting it means that four other novels won't be being written, and
the figure's more like a dozen when it comes to short stories.
  
inkwell.vue.116 : New York Times Bestselling Author Neil Gaiman: _American Gods_
permalink #85 of 406: Martha Soukup (soukup) Sun 8 Jul 01 10:41
    
Good lord, Neil.  That remark of your aunt's is chilling.

I'll re-ask what JaNell just did, in a slightly different way, even though
it's a question I'm sure you've been asked a thousand times:  What's
interesting to you about writing about mythologies, about borrowing from old
mythologies and creating new ones?
  
inkwell.vue.116 : New York Times Bestselling Author Neil Gaiman: _American Gods_
permalink #86 of 406: Neil Gaiman (neilgaiman) Sun 8 Jul 01 13:37
    
Martha, it's even more chilling when said by a very sweet old lady at
a wedding.

And mythologies... I've been asked that an awful lot in the last three
weeks. Let me ponder it a little and see if I can come up with answer
that's more satisfactory than "because I'm me and that's what i do".

I wish I had a good pat answer. I suspect that some of the journalists
who've asked me really want an origin story, of the "When I was eleven
years old I was bitten by a radioactive mythology" sort. And I don't
have one -- just a love of the stuff that goes back as far as I
remember.
  
inkwell.vue.116 : New York Times Bestselling Author Neil Gaiman: _American Gods_
permalink #87 of 406: -N. (streak) Sun 8 Jul 01 16:24
    
        Speaking of radioactive mythologies, how did you choose and create
the new gods of America?
  
inkwell.vue.116 : New York Times Bestselling Author Neil Gaiman: _American Gods_
permalink #88 of 406: Martha Soukup (soukup) Sun 8 Jul 01 21:19
    
Feel free not to answer the questions a thousand other people have asked
you.  Or to give an answer that has nothing to do with the question; I like
that, too.
  
inkwell.vue.116 : New York Times Bestselling Author Neil Gaiman: _American Gods_
permalink #89 of 406: JaNell (janell) Mon 9 Jul 01 03:25
    
"Feel free not to answer the questions...Or to give an answer that has
nothing to do with the question..."

Martha, please don't encourage him to do that; if I ask a question,
it's because I really want to know, that I'm trying to understand some
aspect of AG or of Neil himself, and I'm sure that's also true of most
people who ask questions here.

Taking time to answer a question is different, though, a compliment,
and worth the wait; but why ask questions if you don't get answers?
Very Zen exercise... 
  
inkwell.vue.116 : New York Times Bestselling Author Neil Gaiman: _American Gods_
permalink #90 of 406: Pamela Basham (pamela-bird) Mon 9 Jul 01 10:55
    
Neil,

Best of luck on your UK tour.  I notice you have four days of double
signings coming up--ouch!  

I was wondering if The Book of Invasions played any part in the
"research" composting for _AG_.

I'm also really curious if the information Mr. Ibis gave Shadow about
ancient incursions into the Americas was factual, legend, or a
combination.  For instance, the Ainu skull (over the land bridge?) and
Polynesians in California sound plausible.  Egyptians in America in
1500 BCE is pretty incredible.  Hopi emergence tunnels?
  
inkwell.vue.116 : New York Times Bestselling Author Neil Gaiman: _American Gods_
permalink #91 of 406: Martha Soukup (soukup) Mon 9 Jul 01 11:16
    
JaNell, all I can say is, as an interviewer, I'm interested in what Neil has
to say, more than I am in my own questions.  Often the questions I don't
think to ask are going to be the most interesting.

And I very much believe that, especially when it comes to creative issues,
there often _are_ no straightforward answers.  God knows I can't always give
them.  In which case, rather than battering my head on it, I'll go the
roundabout way and see where that takes me.

Isn't that what fiction is about?  That's why fiction isn't essays.

But, Neil: I instruct you to answer all JaNell's questions directly, while
doing whatever you like with mine.  There!
  
inkwell.vue.116 : New York Times Bestselling Author Neil Gaiman: _American Gods_
permalink #92 of 406: Kelly (kellyhills) Mon 9 Jul 01 11:55
    
Hello again.  :-)

Neil,... I can be added to the list of the many, many people over the
years who've asked you why you retell mythologies and other stories in
your own work... I cornered you about this at a convention many moons
ago, and you actually answered. I hope you don't mind if I share the
answer you gave me (tho it might have changed since then); it stuck
with me and actually had an impact in how I write, how my other draws,
etc. Suppose it opened a new way of looking at things for us... you
said that all the stories have already been told, somehow, somewhere...
and that all you did was retell it again, in a modern way, in modern
senses, and that you fully expected someone to retell your own stories
years down the road.

Of course, the delivery of it helped an awful lot - you were signing
Good Omens and looked up at me, tapping the pen against your cheek and
leaving a small inkmark in the process.  ;-)

I'm thinking of sitting down and rereading AG already, but am
currently in the middle of "Love and Awakening" ... quite good book in
itself. That, and needing to pack and move... hmm. Oh, I did have a
question about Bilquis - what made you decide she was a goddess? :-)

Cheers!
-Kelly
  
inkwell.vue.116 : New York Times Bestselling Author Neil Gaiman: _American Gods_
permalink #93 of 406: Jesse (erynn-miles) Mon 9 Jul 01 13:18
    
Neil- I was just wondering if the "storm" represents or symbolizes the
Ragnorak in any way?
  
inkwell.vue.116 : New York Times Bestselling Author Neil Gaiman: _American Gods_
permalink #94 of 406: Jesse (erynn-miles) Mon 9 Jul 01 13:30
    
JaNell-I agree...
  
inkwell.vue.116 : New York Times Bestselling Author Neil Gaiman: _American Gods_
permalink #95 of 406: Rebecca (nefertiti) Mon 9 Jul 01 13:55
    
Jesse, to which event I was hamhandedly referring earlier.  In any
case, do tell, Neil, please.  Is Wednesday working (consciously or
un-so) within his pantheon's framework (as far as large catastrophic
events go), or is this something else entirely, a new all-American
catastrophic event? 
Oh no, another either/or question, we're likely to get a koan. ;)
  
inkwell.vue.116 : New York Times Bestselling Author Neil Gaiman: _American Gods_
permalink #96 of 406: Dan Wilson (stagewalker) Mon 9 Jul 01 13:59
    
Neil - re: your comment about "it all being in there." Yes, you said
that about Murder Mysteries too, but I didn't *get it* until I heard it
on sci-fi.com. So whenever you say that it's all in there, I rather
feel like I've missed something terribly important.
Fortunately... I've got some folks trying to help me see the light on
the disputed question of Shadow's divinity via e-mail. Something was
pointed out to me that I had forgotten... something that was all in
there... and that was the final interaction with Sam. This is probably 
"something terribly important", isn't it?
  
inkwell.vue.116 : New York Times Bestselling Author Neil Gaiman: _American Gods_
permalink #97 of 406: JaNell (janell) Mon 9 Jul 01 14:19
    
Martha, Thank you, you now have a fan for life and I will relentlessly
pimp your work every where I go...

Neil, you heard Martha, and To Hear Is To Obey. Email and in person
questions ARE included and I'm right now regretting that I don't have a
doozy of a question about AG handy. So there. :P

Rebecca, I suspect that, at least in Shadow's case, it is a
predetermined, ritualistic set-up. The war itself? Yes, probably, but
certainly with new players - notice which pantheons are smart enough
not to get sucked in? 
  
inkwell.vue.116 : New York Times Bestselling Author Neil Gaiman: _American Gods_
permalink #98 of 406: Martha Soukup (soukup) Mon 9 Jul 01 14:32
    
Offer only good through the course of this official interview!

And remembering that direct answers might just not be as satisfying as you
hoped.

A lot of writers probably couldn't even answer as many questions as Neil
can.  A lot goes on in putting a story together, and it isn't all on the
surface of the author's brain.  Now, Neil has a very large brain with a lot
of stuff in it, years of reading and research and thought, so you're pretty
lucky with him.

Writers are also like other people and have private areas, when you're
asking them about themselves.  There are any number of questions I'd have
liked to ask Neil over the last six eight years that I never have....


This is Neil's interview, though, so he probably should have said his
version of all of the above, which would be much wiser and more cogent than
mine of course.
  
inkwell.vue.116 : New York Times Bestselling Author Neil Gaiman: _American Gods_
permalink #99 of 406: Neil Gaiman (neilgaiman) Mon 9 Jul 01 15:54
    
JaNell – “but why ask questions if you don't get answers?” That’s a
question, isn’t it? Because the act of asking the question by itself
teaches you things. 

I’ve never felt that answers were the real province of the writer;
better questions, on the other hand, certainly are.

Pamela – oh, everything has some kind of basis in fact or hypothesis –
although the Hopi Emergence Tunnels are only part of Hopi Lore.  The
Scientific American article on all the embarrassing skulls (and the
native american fight to claim and bury them)  was from around February
2000. The Egyptian stuff is a hypothesis, but less far-fetched than
you’d imagine: the copper mined from the northern wisconsin mines may
have traveled to the mediterranean, and there is some interestingly
dubious evidence that there was south american trade going on in the
shape of coca leaf residue in an egyptian mummy – things I’m less
concerned in tracing the veracity of than in delighting in for the
purposes of the book.

Martha – not a problem (look! I answered JaNell’s question above! Such
power must be used only for good.)

Kelly – True things, but I’m not sure that answers the whole “WHY
mythology” thing satisfactorily.

As for Bilquis – there’s a lot of Islamic Lore and legend about the
Queen of Sheba, in which, if she’s not a goddess, she’s the next best
thing (as the daughter of a demon). It seemed appropriate.

Dan -- and where would have been the pleasure for you in Murder
Mysteries if I'd spelled it all out for you?
  
inkwell.vue.116 : New York Times Bestselling Author Neil Gaiman: _American Gods_
permalink #100 of 406: JaNell, finally defeated by Neil... for now. (janell) Mon 9 Jul 01 18:08
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