Friday, 8 June 2012

Newsy update

For a so-called retired person, life is pretty hectic. My husband and I really did receive our bus passes the other day, though we’ve not tried them out yet.
Since the launch of Shades of Appley Green in March, I have done Waterstone’s book-signings in Windsor, Godalming, Woking, Camberley, Farnham, Basingstoke, Sutton and have more lined up in Dorking - 29 June; Newbury -28 July (for those not glued to the TV for the first full day of the Olympics, taking part or spectating); Guildford – 1 September; Sutton – 22 September.
You never know with signings in book shops, and I must have done over 30 by now since 2008. I should give up trying to analyse factors like weather/holidays/customer demographic/competing events. On my second visit to Camberley on a weekday, I virtually sold out and so left early. Godalming, on Mother’s Day Saturday  (and, for sure, Shades of Appley Green is all about motherhood and the little town so very like Appley Green ) was, by contrast, very quiet and so disappointing.  Since the week-day had worked so well, I reasoned, maybe this was a good time to reach my ‘market’; so I went to Sutton, more South London than Surrey, on a Thursday. It is a superb store with new coffee shop and armchairs to sit and chat to customers in total luxury.  I had a lovely time there, interesting conversations, and signed books for a good percentage of people I spoke to, but it was so peaceful I could hear my own heartbeat; so I am going back there again for a Saturday in September when we hope it will be buzzing with book-loving readers. There will always be folk who pop in out of the rain, or to pick up a map, children’s book or meet a friend for a coffee but do not actually read books! Some are also in there to browse for later Kindle or Amazon purchases. Sorry, Waterstone’s, but it happens. Think on, you browsing researchers, what would life be like without bookshops - or libraries? Waterstone's will be, or already are, selling Kindles anyway, I believe.
I have had two lovely holidays – one in Japan, and another walking on the island of Lipari. I find it important to achieve a balance now between living-in-general, writing, reading, promotion, family and friends.
Shades of Japanese Green
                and Shades of Sicilian Green   

On Tuesday next week, 12 June, I have been invited to give an after-lunch talk to the Society of Authors local group in Guildford Cathedral refectory - something to do with ebooks. To Kindle or not to Kindle!
Next up after this is an amazing book event in the Cotswolds. 'Summer Audience' on Saturday, 16 June is in Tetbury, Gloucestershire, organised by Love a Happy Ending, an international group of 30 talented and supportive authors, run by the energetic and creative Linn B Halton. When I joined this group a few months ago I had no idea that their main book event of the year was going to be in my old school!  I was born in Tetbury, lived there till I went to University and my father was also a teacher there. I am so looking forward to going back to my roots and meeting the other writers; I will be a speaker in their packed programme, and if you would like to come along to hear me on ‘Coming Full Circle’ I think there may be a few tickets left, if you're quick. As you can see, there will be other fantastic talks and workshops and it will be a thoroughly enjoyable day for anyone interested in books, reading or writing.
Then on 30 June I am off to the fascinating Rural Life Centre in Tilford, Surrey, close to the lovely market town of Farnham. The cover of Shades of Appley Green shows the village green in Tilford. They also have a traditional Gypsy wagon on display and this day will be ‘Romany Day’. Bourne Hall in Epsom are organising this event, in previous years held in the grounds of Bourne Hall museum and library; I have been there with my first two books, Gypsies Stop tHere and No Gypsies Served. It will be another wonderful opportunity to meet many Gypsies, Travellers and other members of the public.
My books are for sale in the gift shop at the Rural Life Centre and the ladies running it suggested that my books and I also take part in another event, Rustic Sunday on 29 July, a craft show filled with live demonstrations of country crafts. I won’t be actively writing – but there to chat to people! I shall probably be stationed near the Gypsy ‘caravan’ – look out for me if you come along. It should be another lovely day out. I shall have to leave by mid-afternoon for a friend’s 60 birthday celebrations, but will be there from early morning until then.
So … there’s always something going on and, as with Kay Brackenbridge, in my Gypsy books, that quiet retirement in the country was never going to happen!

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