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I told you a while ago that I had managed to persuade Topping & Co Booksellers in Ely to allow me to have a sort-of-launch event for “Worm in the Blossom” at their shop.  I drove over there on Sunday to (a) check that they hadn’t thought better of it, and (b) deliver some books for the event.  And look what was outside the shop:


Yes, that’s my name up there with some big hitters – although of course the really big draws are put on in the cathedral (seats 1,230… perhaps a little ambitious at this stage in my writing career).  But very exciting to find that I am part of a Literary Festival.

And so to last night.  I made some little flash cards for myself, to remind me of the main topics to cover – Toppings had asked me to speak for forty minutes about the novels themselves and the self-publishing process in general, to be followed by twenty minutes of questions.  But in the end I hardly referred to the cards at all – once I’m talking about Sam, it’s hard to stop me.  There was a good turnout:


What you can’t see are about four people sitting behind the photographer (husband, lured along with promises of post-talk pizza), and another half-dozen sitting on the steps to my right.  The man in charge said he was surprised at the large numbers, so that’s promising.  And people were so interested and asked so many questions – it was a sheer delight.  One of the oddest sensations was meeting strangers – as opposed to friends and family who read the books out of love – who had chosen to read the Sam books and came along to tell me that they enjoyed them and to ask really detailed questions about the plots and characters.  It made me feel, possibly for the first time, like a real, commercial author – writing books for sale to the general public.  And as I was leaving, the organiser said that they would like to book me for the launch of “Plank 4”, so I’d better get writing…