I attended a 'Meet The Author' night tonight at Pontardawe Library and met Alastair Reynolds who gave a talk on SF in general, his work and how it all began.
At one point Alastair handed around a folded notebook made from A4 paper upon which was written (in felt tip) his first ever SF story. It was also illustrated by him too and when one of the audience asked how old he was when he wrote it I was very tempted to shout out 'twenty-five!' for a bit of a laugh but managed to control myself :) I was only twenty years out, he wrote it when he was five!
He spoke of how he was first published and I wasn't surprised to learn that the first story he ever sold for 'good' money was to Interzone, something he was very proud of and went on to say that:
Of all the SF magazines around, Interzone is designed by someone who has a clue about what they are doing
After the talk I managed to get him to sign two books of his that I have in my collection, get a photo done with him and pick his brains about a problem I have in a SF novel I'm writing about folding space and wormholes. He was very patient and helpful and the evening was an enjoyable one.
He said he'd be attending BristolCon in November and hopefully I'll be able to have a chat with him again (unless he sees me first and does a runner!) hehe :)