Last Thursday I went to Andrea Eames’ inaugural book-reading event for her debut novel The Cry of the Go-Away Bird. It was lovely to say hello to Andrea in person and admire her red polka-dot dress; it was also interesting to watch how a book-reading unfolds. I thought Andrea was fantastic – she read from just the right parts of her book to make people want to know more, and proved herself wonderfully able to answer all sorts of questions thoughtfully and confidently, demonstrating the same wit and humour already showcased on her blog. A large amount of the audience queued up to buy a copy of the book afterwards, so I would rate that as a good job well done!
However, the breadth of questions asked did make me start thinking. People seem to expect that you, the published author, will be an authority on whatever theme your book touches. Those folk are there to hear your opinion, and not all questions asked will be cosy ones about writing – some may touch on other, more personal, subjects. So that started me wondering what themes are touched upon in my novel, as when that glorious day of a Q and A arrives (sings in manner of Gospel choir: O Glorious Day!), will I be ready?
The themes of my novel are fairly dark – death and redemption tied in with the spiritual and supernatural. It’s a time-slip novel, so veers between the Second World War and the modern-day. What sort of questions would that little lot throw up? I actually dread to think! Still, it’s not like I don’t have time to practice, I guess... (looks up hopefully in case a lovely agent is reading; scans stats for anything coming from an IP address titled Lovely Agent Is Reading Your Blog; sinks back into despair).
Going back to the book reading, and I was delighted to realise that another lovely blogger I follow, Vikki from Back to the Castle, was also in the audience! We chatted all the way back into London and went for a glass of wine in the Royal Festival Hall, which was a great way to end a fabulous evening. Not only that, but someone sketched us! I was very tempted to tap the artist on the shoulder and see how she had portrayed me - whether she’d gone for ‘girl looking intelligent chatting about art, film, and literature’ or ‘girl glugging wine like there’s no tomorrow’.
Perhaps some things in life are best left to mystery.