Monday, March 15, 2010

...bodies in the library....

Mes Amis

I have returned from Kirkcaldy, unscathed and unharmed and delighted by the sheer joys of both those readers who braved the descending darkness to come and watch me ramble and the librarians and booksellers who helped put together this rather fine evening.

The event - part of the "Fife Heroes" season of events - was a momentous occasion: my first full length solo event outside of a launch for either book. Could I ramble for a good hour? Could I remember how to do Burns's bastard-gravel voice? Was I about to be lynched for abandoning the homeland and writing about Dundee?

Luckily the fine Kirkcaldy Librarians (who are a bit like the Charlie's Angels of literacy) were on hand to ease me through my worries with some fine coffee beforehand and a lovely glass of red wine following. They also gave me a most wonderful introduction, although I still can't help but laugh when I hear myself referred to as a "Fife Hero".

The crowd was small but dedicated, and I was so thankful to all of them for turning up. But there was a surprise in there. A woman who approached me and asked if I remembered "Sammy The Snake", which threw me for a moment before I suddenly had a strange whiff of a memory in my brain and realised I was talking to a primary school teacher who is one of those people responsible for what I am today. Although Mrs Bruce said she never imagined I'd be a crime writer* it was a delight to see her after so long and to be reminded of one of the people who had truly encouraged me in my creative efforts when I were a nipper.

But it did lead me to a moral quandary... dare I swear in front of the woman who taught me how to tell the time and used to hang her head in frustration when I couldn't grasp the patterns of the Times Tables?

In the end, I admit to mildly editing some parts of the reading. The coward's way out? No, it all went down wonderfully. This was my first chance to read from the US edition of THE GOOD SON, and later I also read a piece from THE LOST SISTER I'd never read before. A longer piece, but I think it went down quite nicely. Also, your Fife Hero got the chance to stick in a hurrah for libraries and librarians and to talk a little about how McNee has evolved and changed as a character over two books.

Anyway, here are a few images from the event:

Yes, my collar was wonky, but it didn't matter since, if we believe this image, I suddenly turned into some kind of slightly camp, nutty professor. This is probably one of the most ludicrous pictures ever taken of me, but luckily I have no ego and thus present it for your viewing pleasure.

After the event, the assembled gathered to buy books and chat about the event. What a fantastic and wonderful bunch of people they were, too.

What's in the glass, you ask? Vodka or water? Only I can say for sure.

And here is your author with one his earliest fans, the aforementioned primary school teacher, Mrs Bruce. Back in primary school, she would refer to the children as her "little ones". Judging by the rotundness of my stomach in this picture, I ain't quite so little any more.

Your beardy hero would like to thank the staff of Kirkcaldy library, the booksellers at Kirkcaldy Waterstones and the lovely, lovely people who turned up on the night. I love doing events like this, and its always worth meeting readers and talking to them about books and about the joy of reading.

Au revoir


*she figured I was far too quiet, which just goes to show that it is always the quiet kids you should watch out for

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