Alexander Gordon Smith

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Praise from my Hero!

I’ve had some amazing news this week!!!!! Darren Shan – the one and only amazing writer Darren Shan – read Furnace: Lockdown and loved it!!! I couldn’t believe my eyes when I checked out his blog (which I do most days, he updates it all the time and it’s always full of really great advice for writers – check it out here) and actually saw my book mentioned! I actually did a double take, then had to pinch myself to see if I was awake. Seeing that he was reading Furnace is actually the most excited I’ve been since I heard the book was going to be published, and I’m not just saying that! This is what he said on his first Furnace post:

Took it easy on Saturday, just sat around, read a bit, watched a couple of films, surfed the web a while. I’m reading Furnace: Lockdown at the moment, by Alexander Gordon Smith. I’m enjoying it so far, which I’m pleased about, because Alex is a Shanster of many years standing!!! Assuming I like the second half as much as the first, I plan to give him a quote for the book, to hopefully be used in the American edition when it comes out. The book is already on sale in the UK, so check it out if you haven’t already!!

SO AWESOME! But it gets better! The next day he wrote:

I read a bit more of Furnace: Lockdown last night, and was tickled pink to see myself namechecked in the book — the characters are discussing movies at one point, and make mention of the seeing the third Darren Shan movie!! I’m hoping Master Smith has strange powers of insight into the future and that this prediction of his will be a reality in a few years time — I’m quids-in if they make movie sequels!!!!!! It was a good job I posted that blog before spotting my own name in the book, or people might have accused me of being vain and only mentioning it because of my mention!!! I’m hoping to finish it off later tonight, and will report on it here once done.

I added his name to the book because his Darren Shan books were a HUGE influence on me when I started writing Furnace. The Furnace books just wouldn’t be the same if I hadn’t have been inspired by Darren, they may not even have existed! Finally Darren wrote a review on his blog:

Thumbs up for Furnace!!
Finished reading the first Furnace book by Alexander Gordon Smith. Top-notch stuff!! VERY dark, fast-paced, action-packed, with a cliffhanger to die for!!! It reads very smoothly, which is one of the highest compliments I can pay a book. I know that many people think that the mark of a great book is the complexity of the language, that if you don’t have to struggle to read it, it can never be anything other than average. I think that’s elitism gone mad!! The very best authors — Shakespeare, Dickens, Tolstoy — always wrote in a way which was accessible to the people of their time. They were crowd-pleasers who knew how to keep their audience entertained, even while exploring all sorts of dark, complex areas and themes. It’s extremely difficult to get a story to “flow”, to create a true page-turner that will drag readers along without them even being aware of how much they’re reading in any given stretch. As I’ve often said on this blog, I spend between 2 and 3 years working on any individual book, trimming it down, fine-tuning it, trying to get it to move from A to B to C as swiftly and effortlessly as possible. At the end of the day, I’m sure some people sniff at what I’ve created and dismiss it for being such an easy read, mistaking the ease of the read for the ease of creation. But there’s nothing easy about what I do!!! The art of good writing is to MAKE it look easy! That’s what Gordon has done here, the same thing that Anthony Horowitz does so well — he put in a lot of hard work to create a swift, exciting ride of a story. I highly recommend it!!!

WOW!!!! And he compares me to Anthony Horowitz as well, who is another hero of mine!

And then, as if all this wasn’t exciting enough, he sent an email with a quote that we can use for the books:

Furnace is hotter than hell and twice as much fun! Sign me up for a life sentence of Alexander Gordon Smith!

At this point I had to sit down because I thought I might collapse! I am so thrilled that one of the writers who I have admired for so long (ten years now), and whose books I absolutely love, took the time to read my book, and actually liked it! Thanks SO MUCH Darren for all the enthusiasm and support, you’ve made me the happiest writer EVER!