My first author events

I’ve been pretty busy since my last post, despite being on ‘holiday’ from work (i.e. waiting for a new project). As well as working on book 2 (of which I have made some progress, and shifted to a more sensible deadline of the end of June), I’ve had my first two author events. Exciting!

The first one was online – where I took part in THE Book Club‘s first ever Book of the Month event. Black Wood was chosen by the readers, who first selected the genre (psychological), then the book – I was up against Mel Sherratt and Megan Abbott, and in the end it was a very close thing!

Where I won by a mere 6 votes!
Where I won by a mere 6 votes!

A Q&A was held on 30th April (after a month, where the members of the club had to download and read my book) and then the fun began. I say fun, it was 5h of hard work, as hundreds of readers left comments, feedback and questions and I had to keep up with it all, discussing the book not only with those who enjoyed it, but those who didn’t. I did three competitions – one to win a signed book, one for a tote bag and the third for a character name in my next novel. Overall, it was great fun but not for the faint hearted – but what it taught me (apart from the fact that most of these readers were used to reading far gorier books than mine) is that people who might not like my¬†book might still like me, so I think I managed to convert some detractors who are now looking forward to the next book. From the feedback received, i think the readers really enjoyed it too.

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Then came my first real life event – a panel at Newcastle Noir over the bank holiday weekend.

This was held at the historic Lit and Phil building in Newcastle, which has the most beautiful library I’ve ever seen. This is me outside ūüôā I didn’t take any photos inside, but there are some on their website here.

Me on the programme!
Me on the programme!

I arrived on Saturday afternoon, and after meeting up with some of the other authors, attended an event that is always worth seeing – Mark Billingham and Martyn Waites in Conversation. I’ve seen these two before, and I love the way they use their skills as actors and comedians to talk about their lives and their books in the most hilarious of ways. That evening, it was a night out with the other authors (again!). Yes, it was a late one.

Music, beer and conversation in a classic venue
Music, beer and conversation in a classic venue

The next day, we had a quiet morning, before having Sunday lunch and on to the next event – Steve Cavanagh, Clare Donoghue and Peter Murphy. This was a fantastic panel about the legal profession and how these authors have used it in their books. Steve, in particular, was hilarious – especially as he told us he only became a lawyer as he joined the wrong queue at university!

It was great to see my books on display at the shop run by Helen from Forum Books

Then it was off to prepare for the last panel of the weekend… The Girls! Me, Eva Dolan, Susan Wilkins and Kati¬†Hiekkapelto, chaired by Sarah Ward.

I wasn’t really nervous at all, until I sat down and looked at the audience while Jacky, the organiser, sorted out the microphones etc. Once I started though, it was easy to be led along by the excellent questions from Sarah and the responses from the other panelists. We all got on well and seemed to cover a variety of issues, keeping things entertaining by quips from Eva Dolan – who was asked at the end if she’d ever considered switching from crime to comedy! The weekend was topped off with a trip to another bar, and a late night sausage roll from Greggs… only in Newcastle!

I loved the whole event and it was great meeting up with authors, reviews and readers – only sorry I missed the other panels, I will definitely¬†go back next year. My first two events were a great success – and I can’t wait for the next one – Crimefest in Bristol, next weekend!

Off The Record 2 – At The Movies #OTR2

I haven’t posted anything here for a while, but that’s not because I’m a slacker… it’s actually because I’ve been doing a lot of writing – which was my main aim after Harrogate (it was also to get the first draft of my novel finished, but that’s another post, coming soon…)

So I’d like to tell you about one of the things I’ve been up to.

You might¬†have heard of a pretty cool short story anthology called Off The Record, where all the stories were based on song titles and all the proceeds went to charity… if not, you can download it for kindle¬†here.

After the success of the original, editor Luca Veste has gone and created another one (this time with the help of Paul D. Brazill). It features stories from the likes of Helen Fitzgerald, Clare McGowan and Steve Mosby to name just three (the full list is here)

Again, the proceeds will be donated to literary charities (National Literacy Trust – UK and Children’s Literacy Initiative – US), but this time, instead of songs, the stories are all based around a diverse range of movie titles such as ‘Dead Man Walking’, ‘The Graduate’ and ‘Gregory’s Girl’… and also, ‘Pretty Woman’ – which was written by me. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to be invited by Luca to submit a story… and I’m delighted to be included in this collection with so many fantastic writers. I don’t really want to tell you much about ‘Pretty Woman’ as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who decides to read it, but all I will say is that it’s of the crime genre, and it ain’t pretty!

It’s out on 26th September¬†on Amazon – and I really hope you’ll take a look. A short story collection with a great cover, filled with great authors and great stories and all for a great cause – what more could you want?!

(note to self: buy new thesaurus)

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Some of the other contributors have also blogged about the collection – please go and take a look (I’ll update when I have more)

  • James Etherington blogs about OTR2 here
  • RJ Barker blogs about OTR2¬†here
  • Erik Arneson blogs about OTR2 here
  • Mel Sherratt blogs about OTR2 here