come in and you go, “Actually I think I’ll write that.” I just wrote a poem called Instructions for an Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling fairy tale anthology (A Wolf At the Door) I’m really proud of and it’s just a set of instructions for a child heading into a fairy story. When I wrote it I wasn’t’ sure if it was working or not until I finally finished it and printed it out. It’s just two pages long and it was actually very disappointing to do the work count on it. To discover it was 448 words and go “I just spent three days on 448 words.” But I was really, really pleased with it. It reads like a set of instructions on how to survive if you’re going into a fairy tale. It’s strange and it’s kind of beautiful, it’s kind of odd and mythic. The only reason I can write that is because I’ve got so many fairy tales in the back of my head that have composted down. SB: In the anthology “In The Shadow of The Gargoyle” your bio says your hobbies are eating and sleeping. Where do you get the time for having hobbies? NG: It was a lot crazier at that point; when I wrote that biography I forget where I was. I was in Australia or somewhere doing readings and signings. Suddenly I got a thing saying, “What are your hobbies?” Eating, sleeping, stopping, moving. I don’t really get hobbies but I’m very lucky in doing what I love. Otherwise, if worse came to the worse I’d have to go out and get a real job and then I’d still have to write stories or tell stories or make stuff up, only nobody would give me money for it. SB: That’s one of the nice things about being a writer; you get to work inside and no heavy lifting. NG: Yeah, no heavy lifting and no getting up early in the morning. Which is the other thing I really like. Except when you’re actually on a signing tour. If you’re on a book signing tour then there’s a certain amount of getting up early in the morning, but other than that you can set your own time.
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SB: Do you do most of your writing during a certain time of day? NG: I can put writing successfully until about 11:00. Ten years ago the point where I really cranked up and got writing was midnight. I’d light a cigarette, pour a cup of coffee and get down to the writing. These days I no longer smoke, I don’t drink coffee, and round about midnight if I’m really planning to start writing that’s about the point my head hits the keyboard and I wake up in two hours time with five hundred pages of the letter M. Early morning can be good if nobody talks to you. The trick for me is making it from a bed to a desk without anything beginning, just run off and start writing. Basically at the end of the day you’re a professional and you’re a craftsman. You write when you write. SB: When you’re doing things like The Day I Swapped my Dad For Two Goldfish how much do you work with the artist? Do you bat around ideas and get inspiration from them? NG: It depends very much. Goldfish I just wrote it and gave it to Dave. Stardust I started writing it, there were a few sketches and things from Charlie. Then I wrote the first two chapters gave them to Charlie and he started doing paintings and sketches. Sometimes I’d write bits because I wanted to see what he would do. The little hairy man a) I loved writing him, b) I loved Charlie’s first sketch of him and I wanted more of him. So, yes there’s definitely feedback. SB: In Angels and Visitations you had a poem that you said was your only piece of vampire work, The Vampire Sestina. Now, anyone who knows anything about sestinas knows that they are incredibly hard to write. Poets have hard time writing them. Is poetry something you do as a hobby or is it something that you really love? NG: It’s something that I really love. It’s one of those weird
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