Jouni (jonl) Tue 13 Aug 02 05:22
Email from Jouni: Miss Mousey -- Have your rats totally forgot Wilkinson in the 'Game of You'. He's a good guy (my favourite character in the book by the way) and most certainly looks like a rat... :-) Jouni
Neil Gaiman (neilgaiman) Tue 13 Aug 02 13:30
Martha -- Holly liked it. "Are you sure you're not too old for it?" I asked. "I'm not sure you can be too old for Coraline," she said, which made me happy. Michelle -- I don't know, to be honest. I suspect at least initially it's being driven by adults buying it for themselves. But I'm hearing about more and more kids reading (and liking) it. The Neverwhere rats weren't baddies. They were on their own side... Jouni -- I gave him the book and told him to do one illustration per chapter. That was pretty much it -- his first illustration of the Other Mother was nightmarish and wrong for where it was (chapter 3)so I asked him to make it more ambiguous, and he redrew it. Other than that, he was on his own. ... Off to England now for the UK tour. I may be slightly more sporadic over the next ten days but will try and check in and answer on a daily basis.
Martha Soukup (soukup) Tue 13 Aug 02 22:41
Since you remark that your next children's book will be about a boy: Would the story in Coraline have been very different if the child had been a boy instead of a girl?
Mary Roane (the-roane) Wed 14 Aug 02 11:44
Hi, Neil. Hope your trip is going well. I was just wondering, is the old man upstairs based on anyone? Where did he come from, in terms of the creation process? He's an intriguing figure. And I'm fascinated by the way the Other Mother's creations can quickly develop a life of their own, outside of her control, like the Other Father.
Neil Gaiman (neilgaiman) Wed 14 Aug 02 15:36
Martha - I don't know how to answer that. If it had been a boy it would have been someone who wasn't Coraline, who would have done things that Coraline didn't do and not done things she did do. But not because he was a boy, because he wasn't her. If your question was "would the story have been different if the child had been a different girl, not Coraline, someone else?" it would get the same answer. It's not about gender. Mary -- me too. And no, Mr Bobo turned up on the page (although I always thought we'd see the mouse circus, not just hear them, when I was writing.)
la belle dame avec squeaks (miss-mousey) Thu 15 Aug 02 23:57
When did Mr. Bobo's name jump out at you? (Just remembering making silly songs of peoples' names when I was little, and loving Coraline's reaction to hearing Mr. Bobo's name because it reminded me of what my own would have been at her age).
Martha Soukup (soukup) Fri 16 Aug 02 13:21
I want to ask about the illustrations, which of course I think are wonderful. Did Dave McKean see anything differently than you thought he would? Did you talk about the illustrations before he did them, or did he just read the manuscript and surprise you?
Arlene Green (averde) Fri 16 Aug 02 13:28
There is someone claiming out there in the aether that this book was *meant* to be read aloud. That it was supposed to be released as an audio book first. Any truth to that? It makes an odd kind of sense...it does seem to gain something from being read aloud but I am a little skeptical that this was the intention.
Glen's attempt at wit (notshakespeare) Fri 16 Aug 02 13:32
Arlene - I know the answer there! The CD did in fact come out first, by a month. The original plan was not to release the book until this fall. However, book sellers don't always bow to your great plan - regardless of how great a plan it is. So they push up the book release and a number of them didn't order any CD's for the kiddies until after the book came out. - Glen
Arlene Green (averde) Fri 16 Aug 02 13:34
Ah. So this person wasn't just pulling theories out of the air. Thanks.
The Other (stagewalker) Fri 16 Aug 02 16:58
Well, kind of. Neil has said in the past that the whole reason for bringing the audio book out first was to draw attention to how cool audio books are. It's not so much that this book was meant to be read aloud (personally, I think all of Neils' stuff... and Martha's too is meant to be read aloud.) as it was that Neil really wanted people to pay attention to the audio book as a groovy thing in and of itself, and not an afterthought.
Arlene Green (averde) Sat 17 Aug 02 00:31
Huh, well, that makes more sense even. Audio books are cool...but I've been a convert since the mid-80's when I was married to that truck driver. He still gives me the ones he is finished with. Thank you too.
D. Snyder (jonl) Sat 17 Aug 02 15:45
Email from Davey: Of course I'll defer to Neil (when he catches up), but I'd really like to think that he -did- write CORALINE to be read aloud. It doesn't seem to matter for most books, but there are some for which the additional interaction of saying and listening to the words themselves, the shapes they make in your mouth and the rhythms of the text, builds a whole 'nother layer of association. CORALINE is paced for reading aloud; it must be intentional. (And it's a different kind of creepy fun, even for those of us who don't do all the voices. <g>) Davey
Neil Gaiman (neilgaiman) Sun 18 Aug 02 07:58
Mr Bobo was named after the author of the definitive book on Card magic, whose name was Bobo, and there's a note in the back explaining it's anglicised from, I think, Beaubeaux. I love the sound of Bobo in your mouth. (There's a Bo Bo Bo song on the new They Might be Giants CD, No!, so I think they do too.) Martha -- the joy of Dave McKean is that he always surprises me. Every time. He sent me sketches, first. I suggested that he not draw the really scary stuff -- the other father in the basement, the things on the wall -- and draw before or after instead, to make people imagine. Arlene -- not sure what *meant* to be read aloud means. I wrote it for my children, and I do read aloud to them, which meant I was aware of the sounds of the words and the beats of the thing, and I wanted to be able to read it to them when it was done. But if it was only mean to be read aloud, I would have put that at the beginning of the book, as a warning. If it's read to you aloud you get one experience, if read to yourself, you get another, if you do the reading aloud you get a third. (There are some things in the book which are only fun if you don't read it aloud -- the backwards mirror writing, for example.) The CD that I did gives one experience. I think the Dawn French reading is much more subversive and disturbing than mine, as her voice is so reassuring and comfortable, and I was as interested in the places where she does what I do as I was in the places where she does something else.
Arlene Green (averde) Sun 18 Aug 02 19:08
Neil, by "meant" I meant (actually the person who put that idea in my head meant) that it was one of those things that *should* be read aloud to get the full effect. Like poetry. You can certainly read poetry to yourself but it isn't as complete when you do... Something like that. I haven't listened to either of the CDs, to tell the truth. I did read it to my children. I have six of them...only two of which read it for themselves. The rest are either not readers or not quite up to that level yet. I found that when I read it there were things that became more *real* in the sense that I hadn't made a note of them before. I also found that my non-pleasure readers sort of crept up and started to listen as I read it. This is not something that always happens...usually they aren't that interested when I play childrens' librarian on story day. One of the reasons I wondered about this (or gave the theory any credence) is that while no matter what book lover mommy tricks I played I didn't get the bulk of them interested in finishing it on their own but when I began to read they were drawn like mosquitos to a bug light.
la belle dame avec squeaks (miss-mousey) Mon 19 Aug 02 00:14
The TMBG song is 'Wake Up Call' - and if you play the cd in your computer, they've actually written up the words so you can sing along... which is about the funniest thing I've seen in forever. I heard Coraline before I read it, so I was pleasantly surprised at little bits like Coraline typing up her own story. It is a different story.
Martha Soukup (soukup) Mon 19 Aug 02 00:41
Neil, did you ever say where in England Coraline's house is? Does it matter? Why do I want to know?
Neil Gaiman (neilgaiman) Wed 21 Aug 02 17:06
Arlene... well, my Uk publicist told me today it should be heard to be *got*, after hearing me reading it day after day. Michelle -- Wake Up Call. Exactly... Martha -- I don't say. It's basically my old house in Nutley, in Sussex. http://www.streetmap.co.uk/streetmap.dll?G2M?X=544000&Y=127000&A=N&Z=3 he added helpfully. As to why you want to know... I could tell you. But then I'd have to send people with buttons for eyes to stare at you.
The Other (stagewalker) Thu 22 Aug 02 09:41
Just more proof that Neil is in league with dark forces and that his stories are all mis-labeled as fictions. Most people don't realize that Neil's really a troll, and that the REAL Neil Gaiman is living under a bridge somewhere... ... ok, I should probably keep my more obscure Neil jokes to the Swapmeet... but I'm over-tired.
Barrett Brassfield (willowfarm) Thu 22 Aug 02 11:57
I read Coraline to my daughter this weekend and it was a great experience for both of us. Nice work Neil!
Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Fri 23 Aug 02 12:42
Neil's work is a treasure, isn't it? I want to thank you for agreeing to joining us in this topic specifically to discuss "Coraline", Neil, and to let you know that we're delighted you're giving so much of yourself here. I also want to thank the lovely and charming Martha Soukup for so ably leading the conversation. Our official two-week run is up, but that doesn't mean the conversation has to stop, of course. Everybody's welcome to continue contributing here. Or, if you like, move the discussion over to topic 144, where Neil et al have been holding forth on all manner of things. Thanks!
Martha Soukup (soukup) Fri 23 Aug 02 12:43
Thank you, Cynthia, and thanks as ever to Neil.
Neil Gaiman (neilgaiman) Fri 23 Aug 02 17:21
And thank you all. I'm happy to answer strange Coraline questions here as they come in...
Daniel (dfowlkes) Fri 23 Aug 02 19:06
<scribbled by dfowlkes Tue 3 Jul 12 10:14>
Jason Bergman (loonyboi) Fri 23 Aug 02 19:12
A question for Neil: I seem to recall your saying somewhere (possibly at that CBLDF reading in NYC) that Coraline was originally going to be illustrated by Edward Gorey. Just out of curiosity, did he ever produce any sketches or illustrations?
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