Okay, so the headline is misleading but perhaps you’ll forgive me in my excitement. It was indeed my Edinburgh International Book Festival debut as an author. That’s true, completely and utterly. Here’s the proof…
The Birds That Never Flew was at the festival, on sale in the official book store. And I was there, alongside my novel, with some of my fellow Thunderpoint authors. So, it was indeed my debut as an author…
I’m stretching the truth I know, but as a writer of fiction that’s allowed, right? I wasn’t making an official appearance but I did make my presence at the festival felt by purchasing some of my own books, signing them and finding suitable readers to gift them to in the festival square. I had some fun identifying the chosen ones and I made two deliberate choices. I split my books between people who I thought looked as though they might be interested in The Birds That Never Flew, and people who I felt might not necessarily see my novel on a shelf and pick it up for a wee look.
In the end, all the recipients of the book were firstly surprised, before smiling gratefully at a wee unexpected gift to brighten up their day. I must confess to spying a little from a distance after the handover and I was pleased to see interested faces along with fingers fumbling to find some familiarity in the pages. I left a message in each book, along with my Twitter handle, so it will be interesting to see if anyone reads the book and leaves me a message. Social media time capsules are definitely the way forward!
Aside from playing find an engaging reader detective, the trip to the Capital was an opportunity to meet up with some fellow Thunderpoint authors which is something I had been hoping to do for some time. Thunderpoint is a new publisher, it is not well known, and like us, its writers, it is finding its way in Scottish publishing. There are a whole squad of us now but in the end four of us made the trip from various starting points; Helen Forbes joined us from Inverness, Helen MacKinven came from Falkirk and Jackie McLean, who hails from Arbroath, made the journey from Glasgow.
Following the initial flurry of excitement as we posed by our books in the very busy bookshop we settled down outside the Moulin Rouge to eat cake and chat about writing. It was really interesting learning about one another’s writing processes, our route to publication and our ambitions for the future. Despite it being a first proper collective meeting we clicked right away, our shared passion for words meaning we could settle down like an couple by the fireside. It really was lovely to spend the afternoon in an atmosphere pulsating with a love for literature.
As ever at the festival the programme was impressive and writers were appearing from all over the globe. However, I hope you can find still some time to read some great Scottish fiction.
Oh, and if you catch sight of a message from my book giveaway people let me know, and if you are a recipient, I hope you very much enjoy!