We’re super excited to be part of the Blog Tour for The Fury by Alexander Gordon Smith! (Read my review) We also have one hardcover copy supplied by Macmillan to give away!
I want to say first how much I truly loved The Fury! It was even better than I was expecting and despite being labeled a horror novel, it sure came with a ton of heart! Ok, onto the questions!
Thanks so much, April! I’m thrilled that you enjoyed the book, and thanks for welcoming me onto your awesome blog!
The entire idea of “the fury” creeped me out beyond belief – that just one day everyone you know and love might suddenly turn on you like a rabid dog – I thought it was a great twist on the ever popular End of the World stories going around. Did you start your novel with this as the premise and build from there, or did this idea come to you later?
I’m so glad it creeped you out! That’s what all horror authors like to hear. Yes, it was this flash of inspiration that led to the book. I’m a huge zombie fan – they are my favourite horror monster. There is something so terrifying about them; they are utterly relentless, like the Terminator. They will never stop coming after you. They genuinely scare me. In fact I often dream of zombies – last night I had a nightmare where I was inside a camper van trying to stop them pouring through the door. I’m not sure what that says about my psyche! So I really wanted to write a zombie story, but there is so much zombie stuff out there right now, so many other authors writing amazing things, and I needed to find my own take on it. Then one day I just hit on the idea of what would happen if the thing that turned people into zombies wasn’t chemicals or viruses – but you. You are the only thing that changes people, and as soon as you’re out of their ‘radar’ they change back. It was interesting because it flipped convention on its head – they try to kill you, but in essence you’re endangering them by just being yourself. You are the real threat. The book really just grew out of that idea.
The Fury deals with the “good” and ” bad” aspects of the supernatural, what was your inspiration?
That’s a really interesting question! I guess it plays into the themes that are in all my books, the idea that it’s never so simple as ‘good’ and ‘bad’. There is no such thing as a purely good person, or a completely bad one, I don’t think. We’re all a mix of a bit of both (hopefully most of us more good than bad, though!), that’s what makes us human. Although the real enemy in the book is a supernatural one (I won’t say too much for fear of spoilers), it’s the ‘heroes’ of the story who really explore the relationship between good and evil. They all believe they are doing good, but obviously some of them really aren’t. I’m fascinated by what people become when they have incredible powers. Give a good person the power to literally shape the world and what will happen? How long will what they do be considered good? When you think about it, there’s a pretty fine line, and the book does explore that. It’s also interesting to think about what you would do if you had the same powers as the characters in the book. I often wonder what side of the line I would fall on! *evil laugh*
Was it your intention all along to have kids be heroes and no adults, and if so (or not) was there a reason you chose to go that route?
Originally I was going to have teenage characters and adult ones, but the adult ones weren’t as interesting to write about so they kind of fell into the ‘Other’ sections between the main story. I find teenagers much more interesting to write about, probably because in many ways I still consider myself to be one (even though I’m 34 now)! I vividly remember what it was like being a teenager. In many ways it was a terrifying time, right out of a horror novel – I was changing, the world was changing, people’s attitudes to me were changing. You’re not a kid and you’re not an adult, and that’s a weird, scary place to be sometimes. I read a lot of horror back then, like Stephen King, and it really helped keep me sane. These were books where the whole universe got turned inside out but the characters, by and large, came through okay. If they could survive, so could I. I think that’s the true power of horror – it teaches us that we have what it takes to survive anything. So yes, I think that because horror meant so much to me when I was a teenager, I wanted to write about teenage characters.
The Fury has been compared to a Stephen King horror novel, but I found it much more than just horror; who or what has most influenced you as a writer and your subject matter?
Wow, the Stephen King comparison is so wonderful, thank you! He is my hero. I think he taught me that horror doesn’t have to be scare-by-numbers, it doesn’t have to be generic, or predictable. A lot of people hear ‘horror’ and think they know exactly what they’re getting, and I guess there is a lot of generic horror out there. But with King you never truly know what you’re going to find. That’s the real magic of it – and horror is magic – because you open the first page of a book and you know it could take you literally anywhere, take you somewhere you never could have imagined or predicted. That sense of excitement is incredible, it’s addictive. I didn’t plan The Fury at all, because I thought that would make it too prescriptive, would limit my options. I just decided to start the book with those characters and see where they went. And it completely surprised me! I never could have seen what was coming when I was starting work on it. Maybe this is why it’s more than just horror (thank you!), because I didn’t set out to write a ‘horror’ novel. I set out to write a novel about these characters, about their stories. I wanted them to drive the story and show me where it would go. So it just became The Fury! But you know, I learned that from King too.
Who was your favorite character and why? Personally, I freaking love Daisy and Cal is my second fav, they work so well together. Ok, I have to mention Adam as well, he stole my heart.
That’s like asking a parent to choose between their children! Daisy is incredibly dear to me, because she was based on my own daughter Lucy. I felt so protective over her when I was writing, and genuinely worried about her fate. It’s incredible how much that connection drew me into the story when I was writing, made it feel real and terrifying and dangerous. But I have to say that Brick will always be my favourite character. Mainly, I think, because he’s the one who is closest to the person I was when I was a teenager. I remember being angry all the time – angry at the world, at my friends, at my parents, at myself. I wasn’t quite as grumpy as Brick, but those feelings and insecurities and moods were definitely there. I didn’t know how to handle it all. I always dreamed of having powers when I was that age, it excited and terrified me at the same time because I wasn’t sure what sort of person I would be. Brick is the answer!
Can we expect a follow up book with some of the same characters in the future ?
I’m honestly not sure! The Fury took an awful lot out of me. I felt like I poured blood into that book, that a physical part of me actually went into its creation. It was very different to Furnace. I mean the Furnace books were so exciting to write, and very personal too because of my connection to the main character (he was based on me as well). But the story moved so fast that I didn’t really have time to stop for breath until it was over. And it was very focused, too, I didn’t ever take my eyes off the story because if I did I knew it would be the end for Alex. But The Fury was always going to be a behemoth, this vast monster of interwoven narratives that spanned time and space. It’s still fast paced – the action scenes especially – but it’s definitely a different kind of book. It took me by surprise, because I had no idea what it would demand from me as a writer. There were times when I thought it was going to be the end of me (and I think my editor Wes thought so too)! But I’m glad I didn’t fight it, I’m glad I let it become the book it needed to be, rather than a shorter, simpler version. That just wouldn’t have worked. I’m really proud of this book, but I’m not sure if I’ve got what it takes to go back there. I might not survive a return trip…
Saying that, I did have a dream recently where one of the characters continues her story after the end of the book, and it really made me want to write it. So we’ll see!
What would you like to tell any potential readers about The Fury?
Just that I really hope you enjoy it! It’s fast, ferocious, and yes, furious. I absolutely put my heart and soul into it to create a story that will hopefully be terrifying and surprising, a white-knuckle ride that will leave you breathless. It’s a long way from perfect, but I gave it everything I had. I’m not sure what else to say!
If you could ask yourself any question you haven’t been asked yet but would love to answer – what would it be and what would your answer be? ( See my smooth action there putting my interview skills to work so you can answer your own questions )
Wow, this is actually a really tough question to answer! Perhaps: ‘Hi, my name is Steven Spielberg, would you like me to make The Fury into a film?’ And my answer would be, ‘Okay, maybe, let me think about it for a bit…’ Haha, only kidding, that would be beyond amazing. But actually I’d like to be asked a question that I recently asked another author: ‘If you could choose a character to make real in your own life, who would it be?’ It would have to be Donovan, out of the Furnace books, because he’s like the big brother I never had.
What book(s) are you currently reading and what are a few of your favs?
I have just finished reading The First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie. They are fantastic reads, so much fun. The characters and world building are superb. I was looking for something to read whilst waiting for the new Game of Thrones book (who knows how long that will take!) and stumbled across Joe’s books. I have to say, they are even better than George R. R. Martin’s, the perfect balance of humour and action and horror. Brilliant stuff! Other recent reads include the fantastic Zom-B series by Darren Shan and Joe Hill’s NOS4A2, which I have just started. I don’t think there’s time to list my favourite books – I’d be here all week! But my favourite book of all time will always be Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. It’s just perfection.
And this is where I ask you to share one confession related to your writing or reading habits with our readers.
I’m not sure what to confess! Possibly the fact that I claim to have read more classic books than I actually have… I did an English and American Literature degree, and managed to bluff my way to First Class Honours by reading about half the books I should have (I was reading too many comics at the time). In fact, the book that I wrote my entire dissertation on I didn’t read at all!! (I hope none of my old professors read this.) I mean, the classics are amazing and everything, I just prefer picking up a good horror or fantasy novel to get lost in!
Thanks again so much for having me on your blog, it has been awesome!!
From the creator of the Escape from Furnace series, a ferocious epic of supernatural terror, perfect for Stephen King fans
Imagine if one day, without warning, the entire human race turns against you, if every person you know, every person you meet becomes a bloodthirsty, mindless savage . . . That’s the horrifying reality for Cal, Brick, and Daisy. Friends, family, even moms and dads, are out to get them. Their world has the Fury. It will not rest until they are dead.
In Alexander Gordon Smith’s adrenaline-fueled saga, Cal and the others must uncover the truth about what is happening before it destroys them all. But survival comes at a cost. In their search for answers, what they discover will launch them into battle with an enemy of unimaginable power.
Alexander Gordon Smith, 33, is best known as the author of the Escape From Furnace Series. He is called Gordon, rather than Alexander, because his Mum and Dad liked the name Gordon but didn’t want his initials to spell GAS, so called him by his middle name. WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK