|British writer Neil Gaiman is an artist whose creativity does not limit itself to a particular medium or genre. The creator of popular works for adults and children, Gaiman is perhaps best known for his graphic novels. He has, however, also written critically acclaimed novels and collections of short fiction, as well as scripts for films and television, poems, and even song lyrics. His works cross genre boundaries, touching on fantasy, science fiction, horror, comedy, and fairy tales. A New Yorker article ("Kid Goth," 01/25/2010) quotes Alan Moore describing Gaiman's work as, "kind of fey in the best sense of the word. His best effects come out of people or characters or situations in the real world being starkly juxtaposed wit this misty fantasy world."||Born in 1960 in Portsmouth, Gaiman grew up in East Grinstead in West Sussex. His family is of Polish-Jewish origin, and although his parents remained deeply connected with Judaism, they were also practicing Scientologists. In fact, his father held an official position with the Church of Scientology until his death in 2009. (This would at times complicate young Neil's life--at one point he was denied entry to a primary school because of his father's affiliation.) Although Gaiman rejected Scientology as an adult, he did meet his first wife, Mary McGrath, while she was also studying Dianetics. ||Gaiman's first published work was journalistic, and throughout his 20's he actively pursued work writing for magazines and newspapers. He wrote a never-published biography of the band Duran Duran. In 1987 Gaiman bridged his non-fiction work and the creative fiction that would become his forte with the publication of DON'T PANIC: THE OFFICIAL HITCHHIKER'S GUID TO THE GALAXY COMPANION. In the 1980s he also became friends with British comics author Alan Moore (THE WATCHMEN, V FOR VENDETTA, etc.), and through this friendship, Gaiman started getting work writing for comics. He made a name for himself, albeit perhaps as an underground figure, with his SANDMAN series, published between 1989 and 1996. This nine-time Eisner Award winning series follows Dream (aka Morpheus), the lord of the dream world--along with his often-bickering siblings Death, Despair, Destiny, Destruction, Desire, and Delirium--on various mystical and gothic adventures. ||Dysfunctional families return as a theme for Gaiman, notably in CORALINE, a children's book that topped the best-sellers charts in 2002 about a young girl who enters a parallel reality where she finds a much more satisfactory family. Other stand-out work includes THE WOLVES IN THE WALLS (2003), a book illustrated by Dave McKean which was adapted for opera; novels AMERICAN GODS (2001), ANANSI BOYS (2005), and THE GRAVEYARD BOOK (2008), which adapted Rudyard Kipling's THE JUNGLEBOOK; as well as co-authoring the script for Robert Zemeckis's BEOWOLF. Always attuned to trends and innovations, Gaiman was one of the first writers to keep a blog, launching his effort in 2001. As of 2010, he had 1.4 million readers.||A family man himself, Gaiman has three children with his first wife. Over the years he has formed several celebrity friendships, including with musicians Tori Amos and Stephin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields. In January 2010, he announced his engagement to singer/songwriter Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls. At that time, Gaiman was living in Minneapolis, where he moved from England in 1992.
|After a bedridden childhood, Abraham Stoker attended Trinity College in Dublin. There he served as president of the Philosophy Society before graduating with honors in science. Stoker began working as a theater reviewer for Dublin's The Evening Standard in 1871, an unpaid job he held for five years while also holding a civil service job. Having always been in interested in fiction, he wrote short stories-- his first publication came in 1872. His first long work, THE PRIMROSE PATH, was published in 1875. Around this time, he also wrote his first book, a non-fiction handbook about his civil service job called DUTIES OF CLERKS IN PETTY SESSIONS IN IRELAND, but it was not published until 1878. In 1876 he reviewed a performance of HAMLET that starred Henry Irving, who went on to become the first actor to receive a knighthood. Becoming close friends with Irving, he moved to London in 1878, and became the manager of Irving's Lyceum Theatre. That same year, he married Florence Balcombe, who gave birth to a child, Noel, the following year. Stoker's first work of fiction, UNDER THE SUNSET (1882) was a collection of eight allegorical fairy tales. His work at the Lyceum kept him extremely busy, and it wasn't until 1890 that his next book, his first novel, appeared as THE SNAKE'S PASS. That year, Stoker also began to research a new book that would eventually take him seven years to complete. 1897's DRACULA introduced the modern myth of the vampire in its title character, and has become one of the most famous books ever written--even if most people know it by the film versions as opposed to the actual book. Stoker continued to write novels after DRACULA, but it is generally agreed that the quality diminished. His final work, THE LAIR OF THE WHITE WORM (1911), was a relatively short but largely incoherent novel about a shape-shifting worm. Stoker also kept writing short stories, and these seemed to fare much better. The posthumous DRACULA'S GUEST AND OTHER WEIRD TALES (1914) contains an unused section from the novel, along with minor classics like "The Burial of the Rats" and "A Dream of Red Hands", among others. Stoker died in 1912.