I’ve just spent a week in Iceland. It was wonderful.

I love the Icelandic Sagas and I’ve put a big blog piece together about them at Trapped By Monsters.

Meanwhile here’s a question that I found waiting for me in the Black Tat Guestbook on my return that (in answering it) allowed me to talk about more stuff I love. 😀

My thanks to Mick from Dallas, Texas, USA, who wrote:

Hey Sam, About 2 years ago, I picked up a copy of a book known as The Black Tattoo. I read the first chapter and was instantly enthralled. The book absorbed night after night of my time, and when I was finished with it, I was almost sad to turn it back into the library. Now, I recently purchased The Black Tattoo so I can enjoy the amazing experiences of Charlie, Jack, and Esme again. I must say, this is one of the most impressive books that I have read in quite some time, and I am highly impressed. I’m hoping to see more from you Sam, Signed, a fan, Mick. P.S.- What exactly inspired you to create The Dragon? He’s a favorite character of mine, and I was just wondering how he came into being. Drop me a line if you’re ever free from the grips of the Scourge! Cheers, Mick.

Here’s how I replied:

Hello Mick,

Thank you so much for your message. I’m really thrilled and delighted that The Black Tattoo made such an impression on you, and it’s very kind of you to take the time to write and tell me so – much appreciated.

I’m glad you like The Dragon – I’m fond of him too. Like pretty much all ideas I think, he came from a mixture of different places. Douglas Adams’ Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was a big influence (especially the supercomputer Deep Thought!) I was also thinking about the Red King in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass (and Alan Moore’s Miracleman); Smaug in Tolkien’s The Hobbit; The Dragon, Ogdru Jahad, from Mike Mignola’s Hellboy – and the very last scene from the first Men in Black movie (the scene involving marbles ;D)

To make my books and stories I draw from a bubbling, reeking, belching cauldron of things I love – things that thrill me and make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I think that filling a project with your own mix of stuff which does that for you will give you the best chance that other people might enjoy the results too (and I’m always searching for more pungent and tasty ingredients, HEE HEE HEE!) If you’d like to find out more about my work you can keep up with the latest on what I’m up to via my homepage, address below.

Thanks again for your wonderful message, Mick. Knowing that people like yourself are out there getting a kick out of my stuff helps keep me going (and puts a big grin on my face!)

Best wishes from London,