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The Bookshop

A couple of months ago, ‘Book’ in Leighton Buzzard, a beautiful, small, independent bookshop invited me to join their monthly Thursday evening ‘Lock-in’, to talk about ‘Eagle Sister’, read an excerpt, answer questions and sign copies. Alice and Calvin, who run this fabulous place, really liked my book and wanted to share it with their customers.

 

All authors benefit from the support of these indie bookshops, and I was really keen to support them. However, I have spent my entire career ‘behind the camera’ and being pushed to the front, to perform in front of an audience felt distinctly uncomfortable. But, this is what a Publisher expects an author to do – writing a book is not the end of the story. An author must be able to talk about what they’ve written; the process, motivation, themes. And, there is no room for the self-conscious, ever-so-slightly-embarrassed self with, in my case, added imposter syndrome.

Be proud, be bold, be confident, I was advised.

 

But, what if no-one turned up? This was my number one, greatest fear. I’ve seen it on Insta – sad authors in empty bookshops, even well-known writers have had this happen to them, I read with horror. Would that be me on Thursday evening?

 

I put the word out to friends, acquaintances, work colleagues and thank you to every one of them, they didn’t let me down. By 5.45pm it was standing room only. Phew!

 

After a short reading, the audience were eager to start quizzing me;  How did you come up with the character’s names? How much time did you spend on research? What is your writing process? (A little chaotic, if you’re wondering). At what point did the title emerge?

 

With such great questions, I quickly relaxed and interesting conversation flowed during which I was able to ask the audience questions too: Do you like to work at a book, or do you like everything laid out on a plate? How do you feel about not having every ‘foreign’ word explained to you? Fascinating responses but the one thing we all agreed on: there is nothing more annoying, or confusing, in a book than to have characters with similar names!

 

I cannot begin to say how much fun it was to share my writing journey, to share my love for my characters and a piece of work that I have invested more than five years of my life in. I feel so much more confident now as I face the prospect of speaking at my next gig - a Literary Festival where the audience will be paying to see me!

 


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