Last week I was at the Erskine Writers group annual dinner. As the group meet during the day it’s nice to catch up with everyone at the dinner. As a postal member of the group I get to stay in touch via email, and through updates on the blog, and also meet up with most of the group every year at the Scottish Association of Writers conference. I’ve been a member of the group since I was about seventeen. Erskine used to run evening sessions which allowed me to attend more regularly, and it was here I met some of my best friends. Over the years there have been so many interesting talks from a range of writers, and lots of inspiring workshops. Being part of a writing group gave me the confidence to start sharing my work with a wider audience, as well as teaching me more about structure and presentation for submissions.
At this year’s dinner I received a lovely Quaich Trophy as I won first place in the Flash Fiction competition last year. The photo below is of myself and Elizabeth (on the right), the president, who handed out the awards.
In other news, my Mum, Rosemary, and I were interviewed for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Blog. My Mum has been a member of the RNA for years and when they saw her sharing news of my book they were interested to find out more about our shared love of writing, and how we support one another. My Mum has always been a massive support and inspiration to me, (and she also introduced me to Erskine Writers), so it was really nice taking part in an interview like this. You can read that here
And lastly I wanted to share a brilliant photo from my launch night of me with my cover artist, Ida Henrich. Ida shared this on her new facebook page today. You can check out more of her work here. It was great getting to meet Ida on the night, and she even came to the pub with me and my friends after the launch to help me celebrate. I also found out that the woods Ida photographed for the cover were in Pollock Park and one of my friends told us that there is actually a place called the Old Barn near here. Spooky!! I don’t think the ‘Old Barn’ is as cool as The Barn in Follow Me though 🙂
I was delighted to see an article in The Greenock Telegraph today about Follow Me. I grew up in Inverclyde, and even although I now live in Renfrewshire, I work down in Greenock and it’s nice getting to stay close to my roots. I’ve posted a snapshot of the article at the top of this post.
I’m really looking forward to doing an author event for school pupils at Greenock Central Library early next month, as well as going in to talk to 4th year pupils at a school in Gourock, and one in Glasgow later in November.
Last week I was part of an author team for the West heat of the Kids’ Lit Quiz, which took place at Our Lady’s High School in Cumbernauld and it was lots of fun. The pupils from a range of schools across the West of Scotland put us to shame with their amazing knowledge of literary classics and modern books.
My talented friend, Rebecca, also did a brilliant post about Follow Me on her creative website The Magpie Diaries recently. I loved how she centred her post around the Keats Poem, Ode on a Grecian Urn, which is quoted in my novel. You can read her post here Another writer, Patsy Collins, also asked me to write a post for her blog about my book launch experience. I had lots of fun writing this for Patsy and it was nice to see so many people interacting with that post. You can read that here
Lastly I noticed other day that if you order Follow Me through the Foyles Bookshop website you can get it delivered anywhere within the UK Free within 2 days. Here’s a link to their site here
You can also request it in Waterstones or buy on Amazon (that link is on my homepage).
Tomorrow is the BIG LAUNCH for Follow Me at Waterstones, Argyle Street, Glasgow 6.30pm. I’m putting the final preparations together today for little things I want to take along. I’ve put together a montage photo (at the top) with some moments from my day yesterday. One big moment was getting to hold my book Follow Me for the first time in my hands – such a great feeling! And I also received a pop art card from one of my work colleagues – that’s me, Andy Warhol style, which is just brilliant. All of my work colleagues, friends and family, have been so supportive and excited for me and it makes the whole run up to launch day even more exciting for me!
The coke bottles are a little extra thing I am taking along to my launch, keeping in with the Andy Warhol, pop art theme.
One of my biggest champions since I could read and write was my Mum, the writer Rosemary Gemmell, and I was delighted to be interviewed on her blog yesterday. You can read that here I couldn’t ask for a more inspiring and supportive Mum and it’s brilliant being able to share a love of words and writing with her. I was so happy when she got her brilliant book, The Highland Lass published earlier this year (one of many), as I know this was a story close to her heart, and I think this is probably my favourite book of hers.
The cover design for Follow Me went through some last minute, quite dramatic, changes the other week and I am delighted to be able to reveal the final finished version above. The artwork/photography is by artist Ida Henrich, and I am really happy with how it turned out. It makes everything feel very real seeing my name on a book cover!
I was lucky to be consulted about my cover (I wonder how many authors are?). My publisher, Strident, even asked me to write a short brief of any ideas I had before work began. I had always visualised woodland being central to the image as Eddison Woods is a central feature in my story (and leads to the Barn). I love the green light in this too.
The release date is 30 September, so not long to go now. As my counter states on my home page – 21 DAYS TO GO!
My launch event still to confirmed – will post details as soon as I know…
As the release date of my book draws ever near I’m finding myself thinking back to the nights I would get lost in writing the story and how listening to certain songs can take me right back there, to that time.
When I write, I usually always have music playing, and back in 2011 I blogged about the ‘soundtrack’ to Follow Me. Songs that I listened to started to feel like they belonged to my story (and to my characters); for me they seemed to ‘fit’ certain scenes perfectly and evoke moods. So below here is a list of songs I feel sit well with Follow Me – you’ll notice a lot of them are by the same artist and really if it were ever made into a film, The Silversun Pickups had better be on board for providing me with the score 🙂
Dots and Dashes – The Silversun Pickups (you’ll notice this is the song that plays on my website)
Catch and Release – The Silversun Pickups
The Royal We – The Silversun Pickups (when this song hits 2:44 I can actually clearly picture Rob and Kat running through the woods)
Panic Switch – The Silversun Pickups
The Bitter End – Placebo
Loud Like Love – Placebo. I just came across this song recently when the book was already finished but some of the lyrics in this weirdly fit with my book (and this could easily be the song Rob has on when he’s driving Kat home~ you can look out for this part when the book comes out!)
Empty Room – Arcade Fire
On the book front, some final tweaks are being made to my cover (the artist of which is Ida Henrich) so I’ll post the final version here soon. I’ve been really lucky as my publisher has consulted with me throughout the whole process.
I’ll hopefully also have details of my retail launch very soon!