Hello, how was your week?
So, we arrived home from Delhi on Sunday. On Tuesday I had my ‘speech’ in London.
I had been invited by KPMG Literacy for Life to speak at a lunch. My link was that, two years ago at a similar event, I had heard Adele Parks (famous author) speak, and this had inspired me to start writing. They invited me to share something of my own story, and to link it to literacy in general. This was fine, I am fairly comfortable speaking in public. That I had to wear a dress and heels and arrive at the venue in London, was more of an issue.
Husband gave me lots of help – tips like, “Check you don’t have any straw in your hair” and (more helpfully) “Don’t forget the trains are on strike, so the timetable is different.” I was slightly nervous. There wouldn’t be many people there, but they are the sort of organised women who wear matching bra and knickers, if you know what I mean. I am not.
However, you’ll be pleased to hear all went smoothly. I was slightly unsure about what colour tights people wear today (I don’t get out much!) and had worn tan coloured ones. On the underground, I noticed that all the young office workers were wearing black tights. Hoped I wasn’t too out of date, but I think it was okay.
There was another author there, Sarah Pinborough. She also gave a speech. I haven’t read any of her books before, but she gave me a copy of the one due out in January, ‘Behind Her Eyes’ and I’m really enjoying it. We both spoke about the importance of literacy as well as a little about our writing (she has written lots more than me, so I felt something of a fraud. But I know more about literacy than her, and have seen first hand the effects on whole families, so I think it was okay.)
One thing that interests me though. On one of her books – one aimed at young adult readers – she had lots of quotes from famous authors. Things like Stephen King saying, “I couldn’t stop reading this book.” Now, my question is, are these real quotes? I have a lot of respect for Stephen King as an author, he is very good at his job. If the quote had said the book was well written (which it was) or unusual (which it was) then I would believe it. But I’m really surprised that he, as an adult, would find a teenager’s book “gripping”. So, how do these quotes work? Lots of books have them. Can a publisher take a quote from one book and put it on all books by that author? Are famous authors paid to give quotes, or is it a condition on being signed up by a big publisher? If you know, do write the answer in the comments. Of course, I could be wrong, perhaps a lot of famous authors DO find young adult fiction compulsive reading.
There was also a very nice man, Lord Michael Hastings, who sort of heads up things. It must be strange being a Lord. I kind of like that we have titles, that we recognise the work someone is doing – and presumably he gets invited to more things because he is a Baron, which will help his charitable work. But it also makes it a bit awkward as to what to call him. Really, he’s just a nice bloke with an excellent speaking voice, doing a good work. But I didn’t know him well enough to call him Michael, and to call him Lord Hastings sounds a bit poncey, like the title is more important than the person. I ended up not really calling him anything.
I also managed to sell some more books at the event, which is always good. (I think I have nearly recouped half my costs now, if you’re keeping track.) A couple of people had already bought copies from Amazon, but I sold 18 more. Hope they enjoy it.
This is a good time of year for selling books, as people are getting ready for Christmas. I am going to a few Christmas Fairs, and the books are selling well. The nicest is when people who have already bought a copy buy another one to give as a Christmas gift.
It can also be ordered from waterstones.com now, which is rather exciting.
Thank you for reading.
If you would like to buy a copy of Hidden Faces, it’s available from Amazon. It can also be ordered from bookshops.