Exciting/Terrifying

Gone_HB5

So, the interweb reliably informs me that Gone will be released in 30 days. This is exciting. It is also terrifying.

Gone is my second novel, so in some respects I should be prepared for what’s to come. And yet…

In 2013 my first novel, Stolen, was published and I experienced a lot of things for the first time – seeing the cover, seeing the book in physical form, seeing the book on a real shelf in a real bookshop, seeing reviews online, seeing a group of people gather to hear me talk about the book. All exciting. All terrifying.

I remember seeing the cover of Stolen for the first time just before Christmas 2012. The lovely Andrea from Moth sent it via email to see what I thought. And to be honest, I wasn’t sure about the orange of the word Stolen. It didn’t seem very crime-y. But she told me to have a think about it over Christmas and if, after that, I still disliked it, we could talk. Fortunately, after a few more hours staring at the image, I decided it was actually pretty cool. What’s wrong with standing out a bit? So thanks Andrea!

I saw the cover of Gone for the first time in May this year and this time, even though I was no less surprised to see it popping up in my email unannounced, I loved it from the start. It’s creepy and unsettling, and, in my opinion, suits the book perfectly. Thanks Mulholland!

I saw an actual copy of Stolen for the first time in the offices of New Writing North, where I’d gone to speak to Liv of the horror I felt about my launch and the other events that would follow. She kindly gave me a copy of the book to take home, possibly to make me feel it would all be worth it, and also put me in touch with the venerable Mari Hannah to talk me down from the ledge. In the end I managed to get through my launch without keeling over, and soon after did my first library event alongside Mari and discovered that librarians and readers are all lovely people. Thanks Liv and Mari!

With Gone, I’ve yet to see the finished book in person, as it were. I’ve had my mitts on a proof copy though, which was exciting for many reasons, not least because it meant it was finished and all the tear-inducing rewrites were over.

So the next step is seeing the book on shelves, then seeing (and trying not to read) the reviews, and lastly, going out into the world to meet more readers and hear what they think of Gone.

So, 15th January 2015.

Exciting.

Terrifying.

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And we’re off!

cropped-rr_masthead

Read Regional 2014 kicks off (for me, anyway) tonight with my first event at South Shields Library. It’s been a while since my last event so I hope I’m not too rusty. Fortunately I have the brilliant Susan Elliot Wright to share the stage with and I’m really looking forward to hearing her read from The Things We Never Said and finding out more about her writing.

I recently sent off what I hope will be almost the final draft of my second book so I can focus my attention back on Stolen. Although it was only published in May last year it feels like a long tome ago so I’m hoping readers will help me to remember some of the details!

The event in South Shields will be followed by a trip to Bradford on Saturday afternoon which will be a slightly scarier solo event and then in March I will attend my first book group (as a writer). As a former member of a book group myself, I know how heated the discussions can get and how opinions on the books generally range from love to hate. So I’ll prepare myself for some honest feedback!

A list of all the Read Regional events I’m taking part in can be found on my events page and to find out more about the project and the other writers and events please take a look at the Read Regional site here.

Durham Book Festival

durham book festival

Another night, another event. But what a lovely event it was. It was very exciting to be asked to take part in the Durham Book Festival and everyone at Clayport library in Durham were fantastic (and also have great hair!) It’s always nice to hear Helen Cadbury read and last night was no exception, and the audience were enthusiastic and asked good questions. But the biggest treat of the night was being interviewed by the wonderful Caroline Beck who was sooo well prepared and had some very interesting and challenging questions to grill us with.

Thanks to everyone who came and to New Writing North (especially Rebecca Wilkie) for inviting us to take part.

The End of Summer Reads

books

No, this isn’t a picture of my living room – my books aren’t as tidy as that. But I’m going to be surrounded by books this week as I venture out to libraries and bookshops around the North East.

First up is an event at the new library at Whitley Bay where I’ll be reading and talking about Stolen thanks to the lovely folk at North Tyneside council who chose the book as their Summer Read this year. I’m very excited to meet some people who’ve read the book and see what they think.

Then on Thursday it’s off to Clayport library in Durham as part of the Durham Book Festival. It’s very exciting to be asked to take part as anyone who’s ever been to the festival knows that it attracts fantastic writers and the events are excellent. So thanks to New Writing North for inviting me to take part. And it’s always nice to work alongside fellow Moth writer Helen Cadbury.

Finally, Saturday takes me to Helmsley to take part in the On Our Turf festival, again with Helen Cadbury. We’ll be at the Cut Price Bookstore from 2.30pm reading from our debut novels (as well as sneak peaks at the next books) and we’ll be signing copies too.

See my events page for all the details.

Ooh I feel like a proper writer now!

_1020126With Alfie Crow, Kate Fox and Helen Cadbury at the Bloomin’ Words Crime Cabaret (photo: Stephen Morris)

Been a bit lazy with the blogging recently but I was doing other work. Honest! Like taking part in the Bloomin’ Words Crime Cabaret at the White Rose Bookshop in Thirsk last week. It was a fantastic evening with readings and murder ballads and competitions and everything – a brilliant night organised by the brilliant Kate Fox. There’ll be more Bloomin’ Words events soon so I’d recommend going if you’re anywhere near Thirsk.

I also had the pleasure of going to London and meeting lots of lovely agents and editors in the hope of getting them interested in me and my work. The event was organised by New Writing North and it went really well. And while I’m not saying that seeing your book for the first time in an actual bookshop or being asked to sign said book doesn’t make you feel like a real writer, there’s something about getting an agent that’s like the holy grail. You spend years trying to get one of these strange (but lovely) creatures to read your work and then all of a sudden several come along at once. A bit like buses.

So I’ve spent the week in the very unusual position (for me) of having a choice of agents and it was a very hard choice to make. But I’ve finally made it and I’m very happy to say that I’ve just signed up with Stan at Jenny Brown Associates.

People wiser than me say that choosing an agent is a very important decision and it’s a bit like a marriage so you really need to get along well. And after six hours in a pub being plied with cider I can say that we definitely did get along.  And I will also add that the meeting was not at all creepy like I’ve just made it sound!

Lovely Libraries

_1010961With Helen Cadbury and Alfie Crow at Middlesbrough Library (photo by Stephen Morris)

Had a great week with two events at two very different but equally lovely libraries. First up was Hartlepool library which is huge and very well stocked with crime novels. It was great to do an event alongside the brilliant Mari Hannah who makes it all look so easy.

Then last night it was off to the beautiful Central library in Middlesbrough as part of the Literary Festival. It was a great evening chaired by Claire Malcolm from New Writing North, and nice to hear fellow Moth authors Helen Cadbury and Alfie Crow read again. We also had a lot of fun exploring the library afterwards and taking lots of photos in the fantastic surroundings.

Thanks to everyone who came along to the events and asked such good questions. I look forward to seeing you all again.

Summer Read

summer readphoto by Angela Melvin

Started the week sitting in a deckchair in a North Tyneside park having my picture taken to launch the council’s Summer Read 2013 which I’m very proud to say Stolen has been chosen for.  You can read about the campaign here and I’ll be at Whitley Bay library on 24th September to talk about the book with readers.

Also had fun at BBC Newcastle on Friday despite having to do media training, the thought of  which filled me with dread. But everyone was so lovely and helpful so it was more than worth it. Same goes for the pitching workshop run by Liv Chapman from New Writing North yesterday.  Plus it was great to meet lots of other writers including the winners of the Northern Writer’s Awards (whose identities I’m not allowed to reveal until after the awards ceremony on Tuesday) and winners and shortlisted writers of the Mslexia Children’s book competition.  I heard so many interesting stories and great pitches – can’t wait to read the finished books. Congratulations to all the winners!

The book has been launched…

guis-launch5

Well the moment I’ve been losing sleep over for the past month or so finally arrived tonight and I had my official book launch at the Guisborough Bookshop.  Despite it only finishing an hour or so ago, a lot of it is a blur already! As you can see from the photo, I was slightly baffled by the whole thing. That said, the reality wasn’t anywhere near as frightening as the anticipation. At one point I think I even started to enjoy myself. Who’d have thought it?

As this is the first of many events time will tell whether I arrive at them more relaxed but I’m looking forward to events with Mari Hannah as well as the other Moth writers later in the month.

A big thanks to everyone who came to the launch. It meant a lot to see so many friendly faces. And a special thanks to Liv from New Writing North for helping so much with everything and calming me down when I start to panic. I don’t know what I’ll do without you.

Now it’s time to relax with old episodes of The Office, a bag of crisps, and a dog taking up all the room on the settee. I sure know how to party!