With my second book, Path of Needles, hitting the shelves at about the same time as Sarah Pinborough’s Mayhem, we decided to team up and hit the road on a mini-tour of readings and signings. We kicked things off with a Big Green Bookswap at a pub in north London. In conjunction with The Big Green Bookshop of Wood Green, this was a really relaxed event with lots of laughs. We started off by swapping copies of our books, though I did have to borrow mine back to do a reading! It was great listening to Sarah’s extract from Mayhem, which was suitably chilling.
Then there was a Q&A with a difference – no bookish questions allowed. Once we’d established our favourite Simpsons episodes, we had to decide which book we’d memorise if we were characters in Fahrenheit 451. Sarah very sensibly plumped for 1984, and I let the side down with The Very Hungry Caterpillar (hey, it’s short, and I’m lazy). The organisers also laid on a great buffet, so we rounded things off in style – all in all it was a lot of fun, and great to meet some lovely bookish people.
After London we headed north, to the home of Twisted Tales, who hold events with Waterstones Liverpool One. It was lovely for me to go back there, because I gave my first ever reading at a Twisted Tales event. It was back when I’d only ever had short stories published, so it was particularly good of them to support a new writer.
This time the event was themed ‘Hunting Shadows – an evening of dark investigations.’ It was rather apt, since my book, Path of Needles, crosses a police procedural with some darkly fantastical fairy tales, and Sarah’s supernatural thriller Mayhem involves a gruesome serial killer stalking the streets of London. We were also joined by Paul Finch, author of crime novels Sacrifice and Stalkers. I met Paul some years ago at a horror themed event, so it was great to see him again. He gave a gripping reading, and it was good to see some familiar faces on the night too.
After Liverpool, it was time to head down to Coventry Central Library for a This is Horror event. This time we were joined by crime writer Howard Linskey, and the train journey gave me the chance to start on his book, The Drop. The train was absolutely packed with folk on the way to footie matches, but fortunately the book was engrossing enough to blank it all out.
We found the room all bedecked in suitably spooky fashion, since the local children had been busy! The event posters, designed by Lee Davis, were rather good fun too.
Once again we had readings and a Q&A, with some terrific questions. It’s always a bit worrying when this section of an event begins, but we were very lucky throughout our mini-tour. We also had the pleasure of an intro by the brilliant Jasper Bark, who certainly lived up to his billing as ‘the charismatic voice of horror.’
So with the events over it was on to World Fantasy Con where I was surrounded by lovely booky people once again, including the team from Jo Fletcher Books, with more panels and readings plus gossiping in the bar. Hooray!
All there is left to do is to say a massive thank you to the teams from the Big Green Bookshop, Twisted Tales, This is Horror, Jo Fletcher Books, Sarah and our fellow readers, and of course everyone who came along to the events.