Wow. Just wow. What a week. I have been a scarily large window display, taken part in a folk concert, stood on a very cold quayside surrounded by fish, popped up on various blogs and been interviewed on the radio. All this in aid of promoting Barefoot on the Cobbles, which has now been let out of the many boxes in my home. Launch day was exciting. Firstly, a rare visit to the hairdressers. I am seriously wondering if this expensive outlay is tax-deductable. Then back to Chris’ where I persuaded him to allow me to look for the missing photograph album. Before plumbing the depths of ‘the glory hole’ (a large walk-in cupboard that you can no longer walk in as it is crammed with things relating to the Braund family history) I suggested that I took a cursory look with his own albums and there was mine! I have promised to state publicly that this was not Chris’ fault. I had borrowed his, almost identical, album and he had taken mine back home with it. As soon as the book-promoting dust settles the scanning fest will begin. On the way back from the hairdressers, we drove past Walter Henry’s bookshop and there I was, filling the side window, which was lovely but a bit disconcerting!
Anyway, back to the launch. Devon Family History Society had kindly allowed me to hijack their regular meeting for this purpose and folk turned out in force. I was accompanied by the awesome Dan Britton and two fellow members of Govannen in a blend that the audience appreciated. Dan, Adele and Neil played the companion song to Barefoot on the Cobbles and other music inspired by North Devon. My lovely publisher Olli from Blue Poppy Publishing came along to offer his support and brought some of the children’s books from the Blue Poppy stable. This was important because I was collecting children’s books for distribution to homes where there are few books. People gave generously and despite excellent sales of Barefoot, I somehow now have more books in my home than I did on Friday!
Saturday evening belonged to Dan and Govannen, as they performed their regular annual concert at Meddon. I was able to read from Barefoot and together with fellow author and friend Liz Shakespeare, to skulk in a cupboard and sell books. An amazing evening.
Sunday was the herring festival in Clovelly and given that Barefoot’s cobbles are those in Clovelly, I was there to do readings and send more copies on their way to good homes. I woke up to see that the clock read 8.15am. 8.15 and I needed to leave the house by 8.30 at the latest! I rushed out of bed then wondered why it was still dark. Ah. That would be because it was actually 3.45am. Needless to say, it was difficult to get back to sleep. So, at the appointed time, there I was set up to sell books on a slightly windy but beautiful Clovelly quayside.
Then there was a minor incident with the Subway sandwiches. I was a Subway virgin but having won two vouchers in a raffle, we decided this was the occasion to cash them in. In an inexplicable fashion, the flask cracked and said sandwiches became somewhat soggy as a consequence. The flask contained coffee, the fisherman of my acquaintance (who had spent the weekend fishermanfully heaving boxes of books) is allergic to coffee. He nonetheless consumed the coffee-soaked sandwich without obvious ill-effects. Until mid-day, I basked in beautiful sunshine. Then, when I returned from doing my readings, the sun had dipped behind the cliffs and it was, quite frankly, freezing but fortunately, book-buyers braved the elements.
I have guested on the blogs of Pauline Barclay and The Glorious Outsiders. You can hear my podcast on Write Radio, where I chat to Jane Holland about my book and I spent an hilarious hour on The Voice FM chatting to Simon and Olli.
The week is not set to get any less hectic. Copies of Barefoot are winging their way across the world. I have reached pleasingly high levels in the Amazon charts and reviews are starting to come in. Warm fuzzy feeling alert. A lovely reader has put this on the Blue Poppy website, ‘I could not put this down. My head was spinning a bit with all the characters but a helpful list is found at the front of the book to keep you on track. Growing up in the middle of Devon and in Bideford descriptions of the settings brought back memories. The Devonian language was wonderful, just enough of it – my grandfather often called me ‘maid’ and referred to us children and our parents as ‘chill’. It manages to cover so many issues of the time -suffragettes, shell shock, the hardships of daily life as a servant or fisherman, the losses and mental distress experienced through a range of illnesses of the time, I could go on! The story is compelling, each chapter almost a story in itself, and I was definitely holding my breath for the verdict. I will be giving more than one as a Christmas present! PS also appreciated the good font size.’ Thank you.