Who, what, where, when, why…

The five ‘Ws’ – asking important questions – was a technique I remember being taught in English in school, when we were writing journalistic style reports, and when we were attempting to write creative stories, to give a structure and a framework. When a story is forming in my mind these ‘Ws’ spin around and intertwine as the characters and plot all come together.

These questions take on a new meaning when a story is published and released out into the world…

Who might be reading my words? What are they thinking? Where might my book have traveled? When am I ever going to finish my next one? (soon, my friends, soon). And why did someone choose to read it? (Because they know me? Because they like the blurb? Because they like the cover?…)

A couple of months ago I was on holiday in Paris and I donated a copy of Follow Me to one of my all time favourite bookshops, Shakespeare and Co. This is a picture below of the newly added cafe, which is next door to the bookshop. (The bookshop was very busy, so it was difficult to get a good picture outside which didn’t include a crowd of tourists…).


I first visited the shop three years ago and I remember when I was browsing the bookshelves thinking it would be nice to have my words and my name tucked in beside some literary heroes. I wonder if my book is still nestled on a shelf here, or if it now lives in a house in Paris, or somewhere else in the world…

Later that month I then went to a gig in Glasgow, where the band Counterfeit, headed by the actor Jamie Campbell Bower, was playing. I handed a copy of my book to the security guard, asking if he could give it to Jamie (there’s reason behind this, which I might tell you one day, if you ask me). Now I wonder if he actually did give it to him, and if Jamie read it? Or if the security guard took it home himself, or perhaps left it backstage for someone else to find…

A few weeks ago the librarian from Clydebank High, (where I visited earlier in the year), very kindly emailed me a couple of comments from members of the school Book Group, Scarlett and Lauren, who read Follow Me. Scarlett’s comment highlights the great thing about book groups, they get your book into the hands of readers who might never have thought it was something they would enjoy! It’s always nice to know that pupils have taken the time to read my work after I have visited a school. Here are the comments below (with a slight edit to Lauren’s, so as not to give away too much about one of my characters…).

“Was given Follow me to read for my book group. Wasn’t keen on reading it, because I don’t like this particular genre, so glad I did, it was so good. Liked Kat a lot she just seems normal, all the characters are great.” 

“Really looking forward to other books by Victoria Gemmell. Loved this book. Related to the characters,….  Liked Kat she was so believable , couldn’t put it down and finished it very quickly. Loved the style, I have no criticism.”

I’m going to finish this post with a link to an audio reading of one of my short stories, Only You, which was a runner up in the Weegie Wednesday short story competition. The story was read by an actress and recorded for broadcast on the Glasgow Hospital Broadcasting Service. You can listen here   It’s nice to know that my words aren’t only read, but heard too. I loved the fact sound effects brought this particular story to life.





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