Looking for a new author, try Neil Gaiman

American Gods cover art (SOURCE: http://neilgaiman.com)He is considered to be among the top names in writing, and he has won more awards than you can count. He’s won the Hugo Award, a Science Fiction writing award, for Best Novel so many times that he once turned down a nomination to “give someone else a chance.”

It seems as if every time he puts pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), he gets a Bram Stoker Award or a Nebula Award.

But how did such a magnificent beast come to this earth? In what way did this God amongst men come to be a writer?

Gaiman was born in Portchester, England in 1960, and moved to West Sussex in 1965 so his parents could study Dianetics. Somehow, they tried to combine Scientology and Judaism, earning them some odd looks in both the Scientology and Jewish communities.

He began writing, as many of us do, because he was a reader. He read a lot of Poe, Moorcock, Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and many others, and Gaiman soon took to journalism. After a short stint in newspapers and magazines, which he actually hated, he wrote his first book: a biography of the band Duran Duran.

He went on to write “Don’t Panic: The Official Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Companion” and “Good Omens,” which he wrote with Terry Pratchett of “Discworld” fame.

Then, after forming a friendship with Alan Moore (“Watchmen,” “V for Vendetta,” etc.), he discovered comics. He wrote for several, first picking up the run of Marvelman and doing several one-off graphic novels like “Violent Cases,” “Signal to Noise,” and others with his close friend Dave McKean.

It was then, after a run with the limited series “Black Orchid,” that he began writing what is debatably his best work to date: “The Sandman.” 75 issues later, “The Sandman” concluded, securing Gaiman a spot alongside people like Alan Moore, Frank Miller, and Warren Ellis as one of the most respected names in the comics industry.

When asked what he liked so much about comic writing, he said, “One of the joys of comics has always been the knowledge that it was, in many ways, untouched ground. It was virgin territory. When I was working on ‘Sandman,’ I felt a lot of the time that I was actually picking up a machete and heading out into the jungle.”

Apparently, he liked the jungle, because he continued writing comics like “The Books of Magic,” “Tales of the White Wolf,” and, most recently, a Batman one-off, Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?

After working with Pratchett on “Good Omens,” Gaiman published his first solo novel, “Neverwhere,” received with mixed reviews, and “Stardust,” which was later turned into a movie.

“American Gods” went on to win the Hugo Award for Best Novel, the Nebula Award for Best Novel, the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel, and the Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel, making it one of the most honored works of fiction in recent years.

After “American Gods,” he wrote “Coraline,” “Anansi Boys,” and his most recent work, “The Graveyard Book”: all award winners, and all freaking awesome.