Thursday 12 May 2011

That Library Appearance...

There can be nothing quite so lovely, or so daunting, for an author as to talk to a group about his book. I felt flattered that Chapel Allerton library in Leeds had had all the tickets for my appearance there snapped up, and it was a good crowd sitting there. I talked. They asked questions (after an initial hesitation). Some of them, in the reading group there, had already read The Broken Token. Others hadn’t, so it was a no spoilers situation.

Two members of the library staff remembered my mother, an avid library user until her death, and one even recalled my father. That, perhaps, was the most gratifying thing of all for me, that sense of continuation. Plus the chance to walk around the old neighbourhood (even with blisters on my heels on aching feet from a pair of Doc Marten shoes that didn’t fit as well as they should). Old home week – or afternoon, at least.

As the icing on a delicious cake, a woman arrived bearing a tipstaff or cudgel from the period. It’s a lovely object, dated (apparently) 1719. It might be ceremonial, no one knows. She doesn’t even know how it ended up in her family, but having the chance to hold it gave me a real connection to Richard Nottingham. That was a magical moment for me.

There were great questions that required long answers, even if my voice was giving out towards the end. And, once it was over, they descended on me to buy copies. I’d taken 12 and could have sold more. Always nice, and it more than paid for my train fare and dinner (with a friend and her daughter) beforehand.

The only downside was time spent in the old St. Matthew’s graveyard, now a neglected and overgrown tangle. I know there are some fantastic old graves there, it just seems such a pity when, with a little effort, they could be on show to everyone, and people remembered.


  1. Thanks again for coming to Chapel Allerton Library! We've put links to your blog on Facebook and our Leeds Reads Blog. Hope you get some more traffic, and some new readers for your books.
    Leeds Libraries

  2. I was there last night and really enjoyed it and whilst I didn't get a copy of your book from directly from you - I was too slow to the table but the library had a copy so I've borrowed it from there. Really looking forward to reading it and good luck with volume 2 next week. Plus you might see my doppelganger at another music festival :-)