Tuesday, 18 August 2015

My First Author Talk

Selling books with long-time friend Vera

My first official author talk! I’ve done a couple before to small groups mostly made up of people I know but this was something completely different. For a start it was in a large hall, attended by about 40 people and I actually had a microphone!

I’d actually been quite nervous beforehand, knowing that I would be facing a larger crowd than normal, and I must confess I’d been honing and refining my talk for a couple of weeks beforehand. I hoped I’d set the right tone.

Let me set the scene. My novel A Suitable Young Man is set in the very real town of Horwich in Lancashire (mentioned before in one of my blogs Eulogy To my Home Town) in the 1950s when it was a bustling thriving town, quite heavily industrialised, the main source of employment for men being the Locomotive Works. When this closed down in 1983, the town was devastated. To hopefully give people more pride in their town, the organisation Horwich Heritage was founded. Thirty years on, it’s still thriving with an active membership. Even though I no longer live in Horwich, it still holds a very special place in my heart and I am a long-distance member.

Some months ago, it was arranged that I should give this author talk on the evening of Tuesday, 11th August. I had been advised by a writer friend not just to talk about my writing and my book but to give lots of background information to my life. As many of you know, I spent quite a lot of my childhood years with my parents in domestic service so that was something I could describe. When I was 13, we moved back to Horwich. It’s been said that the person you are is synonymous with the place where you grew up and I think this is particularly true of me and the influence Horwich has had on me.

In my talk, I incorporated many memories of people and places eventually leading on to how and why I became a writer, finishing with a couple of readings from my book. Talking of my own experiences seemed to resonate with many attendees because, of course, the memories were theirs too. Despite my nervousness, I think the talk went down well, certainly people said they’d enjoyed it. My long-time friend Vera was helping me with selling books afterwards and I was delighted when a couple of women came up to me and said they’d already read my book!

The chairman, Stuart Whittle, suggested afterwards that I get in touch with a couple of free local papers and once back home this is what I did. To my delight, the editor contacted me for more details and has promised to plug my book in this weeks’ edition. And she’s promised to do a review of it.

Very happy with the way things have worked out!