Books · Jottings · Witterings

Authors in July – Part 2

And yet even before the middle of July, I have crossed paths with more authors, two to be precise and a lovely publicist.

My local library was holding a lunch time author event, one Wednesday. Luckily because I have a very understanding boss and no meetings that day and all the work was caught up with, I asked for the afternoon off to go. No problem.

However, trying to buy a ticket was rather less easy to achieve. I tried phoning but got stuck in a push button one nightmare circle through which I am sure I got to many council departments but not to a human being. So I tried emailing, which I did get a lovely speedy reply back who told me to visit any council library where I could pay for the ticket and then pick it up later. So whilst passing my nearest library and with ten minutes to spare I popped in. They knew nothing about the event, until I pointed out the poster on their wall, and said I was told that I could pay for a ticket here. She did bless her phone another library who did not seem to know how to process this payment and to get me a ticket either. As I now did not have ten minutes to spare, I said I would contact the main library direct again.

Duly I did, and was then told relevant lady was away from her desk and would phone me back. Sadly that phone call was not forthcoming. When I phoned again, they said they thought the event would not be going ahead. Are you sure I questioned? Granted I did not tell them that I was a regular twitterer (not sure if that is the correct terminology) with one of the authors as well as the publisher, plus the library themselves had sent out an advertising ‘tweet’ as well. Who all maintain that the event was going ahead….Anyway to cut a long story short, the event was going ahead, I got the ticket and off I went on the said Wednesday. (Please do not think I hate libraries, I love them but perhaps there is not enough people now in them to make sure everyone is fully informed and not so stretched work load wise?)

View from said ‘Central’ Library in Portsmouth.

And what a great one and half hours it was! Despite the weather where the rain was of almost biblical proportions and the rather uninspiring view of Portsmouth from the library room window (not the picture above) I hope the two authors did not think badly of my home city.

So who was there? Cut to the chase as they say….

Cath Staincliffe – author and scriptwriter of ITV’s Blue Murder which starred Caroline Quentin (and I just remembered that I never asked what she was like to work with!?) I reviewed her most recent book Dead to Me here on this blog. I have her latest, Split Second looking at me as I type this post waiting to be read.

Cath read a few of the opening pages of her book where we are introduced to the two main characters Scott and Bailey. She brought the characters so much to life, I could have quite happily listened to her read the whole book, even though I know what happens in it. It is also good to hear that there will be more.

It was interesting to learn about the process of writing, long hand on paper, and the plotting and thought that goes in or the perhaps writing and just seeing when you perhaps are in the characters heads and just have to get to whatever outcome they take you to. And how this is what Cath prefers doing rather than writing scripts, where you are just putting words in the mouth of characters, that someone else brings to life. (One of my questions was what did Cath prefer doing?)

Sharing the limelight with Cath was S.J.Watson of Before I Go To Sleep his debut novel. Again Steve (that’s what the S stands for) read a few pages from near the beginning of the novel. I was entranced by the story. It is a book I have not read, mainly because when a book seems to flood the market, I tend to avoid them and let the fuss die down and then discover it all in my own time. Which is why I am invariably ‘late to a number of parties’ when it comes to books and authors.

I digress, as it was interesting to learn about the research that went into the book and why he chose the voice of a woman. An interesting idea considering he was male and also that the anonymity of his name meant the reader did not know whether the author was male or female. Apparently there are two give-aways in his book that make it obvious he was a male – which were picked up by female friends of his. I will not give them away, until I have read the book at least!

The book could have gone in a completely different direction in some ways a ground-hog day moment.  As every time Christine wakes up she has lost all her memories, identity, past, the people she loves – all forgotten overnight. Watson could have used a lot of repetition. He admits this himself which was obviously a challenge that worked well as his book has gone on to be a runaway success and featured in various book clubs such as Richard and Judy (I meant to ask that question too; what effect are they having on books?)

This is one book I think I am going to put forward for my book club!

I purchased both books (I had passed on my copy of Dead to Me) and got them duly signed and it was great to meet the authors, especially after having chatted to them on  twitter in the case of Cath. It was not nerve racking at all, as I envisaged it would have been!

Mention must also go to Alison Barrow, the publicist for Transworld who enabled everything to happen. Again lovely to put a face to a name and a tweeter. It gave me the opportunity to say a great big thank you for the books she sends me (and other bloggers) and to obviously to keep them coming! Alison informed me that it is great to hear from ‘real’ readers that the number of books that are sent to reviews for newspapers, ranging in the region of 500 or so a week, only a small selection and in the main the same ones in most of the papers are mentioned. Think how many great books that are out there that are never mentioned and should be! This is where us bloggers come in. It really gave me a sense of purpose and also all the effort I put in to my blog pays off somewhere along the line.

And if that was not enough, I also got to meet a tweeter, who I do not follow but who Cath introduced me to and that was D.J. Kirkby.  Denyse is the writer in residence for Portsmouth Libraries.  “A writer in residence is a published author who works with the local community on writing projects and activities, improving literacy skills and the irrevocably linked health outcomes. The residency also provides the writer with an opportunity to develop their own work and draw inspiration from the residency setting”.

I am now in contact through twitter with Denyse, and perhaps when time is willing (as I have not asked and being presumptuous) she may like to write something for this blog.

So another great day sharing something which I love reading and books! What better way to spend a wet Wednesday afternoon! If they wish to bring any more authors to ‘town’ I will be there, although I might not be able to help the weather?

Note to self – write about these wonderful events, as soon as you can after the event. I know I have missed lots of things out I am sure, stuff I wanted to mention, that was said in passing or questions that I asked (I was the rather annoying audience member with loads of questions!) but sadly life got in the way a bit too much for me to indulge. I hope you all enjoy what I have remembered. 

3 thoughts on “Authors in July – Part 2

  1. The library sounds quite shambolic to me but I suppose it’s best to be kind about them! It sounds like you had a great time in the end and what a fab central library building you have in Portsmouth.

    1. Yes can only be kind abut libraries, it just did frustrate me a bit. That building is actually our Guildhall, which the library looks out across at in the Sqaure. I graduated there and had my picture taken on the steps!

  2. Sounds like a great event. I don’t think our local library does anything like this. I did see there was an author at the library in Shrewsbury last month but was too late to get tickets.

    Glad to see you got to meet Alison Barrow. I’ve met one or two publicists along the way and they’re always so nice! 🙂

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