The Alex Theatre in Glendale was packed Thursday night for Live Talks L.A.'s evening with author Neil Gaiman. Entertainment Weekly's Geoff Boucher led an excellent, conversational interview with Gaiman and asked questions about everything from the author's writing process to his childhood.
According to Gaiman, he was completely surprised to learn that his latest novel, "The Ocean at the End of the Lane," had climbed to the top of the New York Times bestseller list. "Take that, Dan Brown," a member of the audience shouted (Dan Brown's "Inferno" is currently number two on the hardcover fiction list).
A highlight of the night came when a member of the audience delivered a surprise question from fellow author Stephen King. King asked about the role dreams and the subconscious play in Gaiman's work. Gaiman recalled his experience writing the Sandman series. Gaiman used to have terrible nightmares and — after a particularly gruesome one — he had a revelation: Why not put his nightmares in his stories? From then on, his dreams began to change, and the nightmares eventually went away.
At this point in his career, Gaiman says one of his most difficult challenges is trying to find fresh material: He believes he's "said a lot" already. But with a new Sandman series for DC Comics in the works, and a children's book coming out in the fall, it doesn't look like he's run out of stories to tell yet.