Hi gang! I’d like to kick off Dystopian Week with an interview and giveaway with Alexander Gordon Smith! Gordon is the author of the Furnace series (and more), and is one of the nicest guys in the business. He was kind enough to answer a few of my questions and is also offering 2 copies of Lockdown: Escape from Furnace #1 to two lucky winners (please see giveaway details at the bottom of the post.)
Thanks so much for stopping by the blog! I thought I’d do a fun Q&A with you, since there’s a rather exhaustive interview in the back of your first novel, Lockdown!
Out of all of your novels, what was your favorite character to write, and why?
Great question! It’s tricky because there are several answers to this. I get so attached to each and every character in a book that all of them are favourites in one way or another. You become their soulmates, their family, fiercely loyal and protective of them. It’s an amazing feeling! I think the character that I’m closest to is Alex from the Escape From Furnace books. We are one and the same person, because he’s based on me when I was a teenager. When I was sixteen or so I went through a… I guess you’d say troubled stage of my life. I skipped school, hung out in biker bars, spent my time drinking and getting into fights and even stealing. It was terrible, horrible, and even though I wanted to stop I couldn’t. My family were brilliant, steering me gently back onto the right track. They saved me, and I went and lived my life. But in my head there was always this version of me as a teenager who didn’t get saved, who carried on down the wrong path. I always wondered what his story might have been if he’d had a chance to tell it. When I was looking for a new book to write, this version of me, Alex, was jumping up and down yelling for me to give him a chance to finally live his life. So I did, and the story of Alex Sawyer and Furnace was born. In the original draft his full name was actually Alexander Gordon Smith, but my UK publisher asked me to change it.
Writing the Furnace books wasn’t always easy, though, especially as I was so close to Alex. I experienced every single thing with him – the fear, the pain, the hope – and it was pretty intense! Writing The Inventors series was a completely different experience. I wrote these books with my brother Jamie when he was nine years old, and we actually tried to make most of the inventions in the story for real. We built traps and gadgets and robots and rocket boots and all sorts, it was so much fun. When it came to writing the books we knew exactly what it was like to be inventors, so the story just flowed. I think for that reason Nate and Cat from The Inventors were my favourite characters to write.
What is your most unusual writing habit?
Do you have any current favorite authors?
Are there any movies that you’re looking forward to this summer?
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
What’s one of your pet peeves?
Is there any news of upcoming events or projects that you can share with us?
About the book (from BN.com)
Furnace Penitentiary: the world’s most secure prison for young offenders, buried a mile beneath the earth’s surface. Convicted of a murder he didn’t commit, sentenced to life without parole, “new fish” Alex Sawyer knows he has two choices: find a way out, or resign himself to a death behind bars, in the darkness at the bottom of the world. Except in Furnace, death is the least of his worries. Soon Alex discovers that the prison is a place of pure evil, where inhuman creatures in gas masks stalk the corridors at night, where giants in black suits drag screaming inmates into the shadows, where deformed beasts can be heard howling from the blood-drenched tunnels below. And behind everything is the mysterious, all-powerful warden, a man as cruel and dangerous as the devil himself, whose unthinkable acts have consequences that stretch far beyond the walls of the prison.
Together with a bunch of inmates—some innocent kids who have been framed, others cold-blooded killers—Alex plans an escape. But as he starts to uncover the truth about Furnace’s deeper, darker purpose, Alex’s actions grow ever more dangerous, and he must risk everything to expose this nightmare that’s hidden from the eyes of the world.