News and Events
The Pillar Box, High Street, Dingwall, Saturday 20th October, 11 am
As a writer there’s always a thrill in being asked to take part in an established literary event and I’m really pleased to have been invited to participate in this year’s ‘Word On The Street’. The festival runs over the Thursday, Friday and Saturday and will include a wide range of different events so it’s worth keeping an eye out for the programme.
The Pillar Box used to be the old Post Office, so sounds like an interesting building and I’ll be talking about being a writer, where ideas come from and how both can be affected by time. I’ll also discuss how my various books came into existence, with an emphasis on my new novel, Effie’s War.
It’s really exciting to be involved in the first book fair to be held at Nigg hall. I’m not giving a talk, which may be a relief to those attending, but I will be there with a table where my books will be available to purchase. There’ll be other authors with their own titles, plus stalls selling second-hand books, so a real ‘book’ morning and a great opportunity to chat informally to local writers.
The Tarbat Discovery Centre lies at the edge of the military evacuation zone that was put in place towards the end 1943, a major local event that forms the basis for the WW2 novel Effie’s War. The museum has become a popular place for me to do book signings, and during the autumn these will take place on the following dates:
- Friday 10th August, 10 – 11 am
- Tuesday 14th August, 2 – 3 pm
- Wednesday 15th August, 2 – 3 pm
- Tuesday 4th September, 11 am – noon
A slightly different venue for this talk is the beautiful garden of the cheese shop, which is based in the old police station in Bank Street. Owners Emmy and Jon stock some great cheeses and have kindly offered to host this event, which will move indoors if the weather is not good enough. Tea and cake will be available to purchase, as well as books and cheese. That morning will be the annual Nigg to Cromarty swim, so lots to see and hear that day.
The cheese shop’s beautiful garden in Cromarty.
I’m delighted to have been asked to be the guest speaker at the July meeting of HighlandLIT, a wide ranging group of very friendly folk interested in every aspect of writing who meet once a month in Inverness. This talk will be longer than usual, taking the form of an interview with HighlandLIT chairman Paul Shanks.
I will return to the social club, this time as part of the annual Dornoch Book Fair, which runs over the Friday, Saturday and Sunday. A large number of second-hand books will be available to purchase in the main hall during the fair. My event will be held in the adjoining Struie room, with copies of all my titles available to buy afterwards.
Although there is no longer a café at the premises, tea and coffee will be available to purchase during the morning. The Old School offers a huge selection of high-quality gifts and craft products, as well as housing a growing book section. The event will be indoors, but if the weather is fine it will be held in the courtyard at the back of the building so that people can enjoy the sunshine, as well as the talk of course!
The Old School gift shop in Beauly.
It was a visit to the Tarbat Discovery Centre in 2017 and hearing again the story about the evacuation in 1943 that set the writing boulder rolling down the hill. The museum, in Portmahomack, will provide the venue for several book related events for Effie’s War. During June, this will include:
Book signings between 10.00 – 11.00 am on Friday 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th.
The Nairn bookshop moved to its current premises only a few years ago and is a fantastic place for a book launch. It hosts regular author events and I’m really delighted to be invited to return, this time to speak about Effie’s War.
The social club in Dornoch is another favourite venue of mine and in the autumn of 2015 was the starting place for the tour of the stage play, Casting Off. My talk about Effie’s War is at 10 am but I will have shut up by 11 (that’s am, not pm!) and people can then enjoy tea/coffee and excellent home baking until around 12.30. All proceeds from the sale of refreshments will go to the charity Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund.
Residents in the village of Inver gathered in their local hall on 11th November 1943 to hear more about the enforced evacuation. It seemed only right that one of the book launch events for Effie’s War should take place in the current Inver hall. I’ll discuss how I turned these extraordinary events in the Highlands into a full length novel, as well as giving readings from Effie’s War and answering questions. Copies of the new book will be for sale and I’ll be happy to sign them.
Waterstones in the Eastgate Centre will be the venue for the worldwide launch of Effie’s War, only one day after the book’s official publication date. The latter was chosen to coincide with the anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, 1944. Waterstones has provided the launch venue for several of my books and I’m looking forward to returning there again with Effie!