Despite all my good intentions (and I’m very grateful to Lisette Brodey, Laura Zera, Val Poore, Sylvia Peadon and Tamara Ferguson for the supportive empathy they have shown me over my failure to keep up to date with social media generally!), the summer mostly slipped away without my posting on this blog. However, I met some great people at literary events over June, July, August and September and want to share those occasions with you before they become distant memories.
On 16th and 17th June, I attended the Winchester Literary Festival for the fourth time, partly to conduct one-to-ones with twelve new authors, partly to give an updated version of the talk I first delivered last year (‘Whodunnit: how it’s done’), which, as last time, attracted a large and enthusiastic audience. Winchester has now become one of the most important dates on my calendar: it’s a brilliant festival, thoughtfully and imaginatively created by Judith Heneghan, who lectures in creative writing at the university, and efficiently organised by Sara Gangai. The guest talk that takes place first thing on the Saturday morning is always a treat. This year’s speaker was Lemn Sissay, the performance poet.
Lemn’s talk was full of wit and unusual insights: for example, he said that every single day we are part of a privileged generation because we have the Internet. “We are at the most exciting time for words that there has ever been. So how can it be that the point of view that the Internet promotes rubbish is always held above that that says the Internet promotes beauty and genius?” And: “Every day I wake up and think of ways that I can promote writing other than the book. But the book is the greatest gift you can give any child or adult.” My own books were kindly stocked and sold, as always, by staff from P. & G. Wells at the festival book stall; they also gave me a signing session, when I met several new and a few old friends.
July 6th was the next big date for me, as the legendary bookseller Richard Reynolds had invited me and eleven other authors to participate in his summer evening of crime at Heffers bookshop in Cambridge.
I was particularly pleased to meet Barbara Nadel, whose books I have read with real enjoyment. We were each asked to describe ourselves and read, in not more than two minutes, a short extract from our latest novels (Richard’s assistant had a bell and said that she was “not afraid of using it”!). This actually worked very well: it’s surprising how much you can get across in two minutes if you think about it beforehand and try hard.
Afterwards, there was a drinks reception at which all of our books were on sale. The audience numbered more than one hundred (Cambridge is a real Mecca for crime enthusiasts!) and we all sold lots of copies.
Wednesday 12th July followed hard on the heels of the Heffers event. I had the good fortune to be invited to a Houses of Parliament reception (held by the Booksellers Association, Publishers Association and the charity, World Book Day) for authors and booksellers, with MPs and peers.
There I met several booksellers who have supported me by stocking my books, including Sam Buckley, from Bookmark in Spalding, who over the years has generously given me a launch event for each of them. The event was hosted by Dame Margaret Hodge, who emphasised the civilising influence of both books and booksellers on our society (a sentiment about which I need no persuading!).
Last but not least, on 15th July I was invited to give ‘A Morning with Christina James’ at Spalding town library. This was a round-table event, at which I read a couple of excerpts from In the Family and Rooted in Dishonour and then talked to the audience about how I came to write the novels, my own Lincolnshire roots and, most important of all, their views on fiction. I was delighted to be able at last to meet Sharman Morriss, the librarian, having been told at one of the Bookmark evenings that she tirelessly promotes my novels to her customers. Sharman then put me in touch with Alison Wade, her colleague at Boston town library,
which has been holding a month-long crime-writing festival during September. Alison very kindly asked me to open this on the afternoon of September 1st, when I talked to the audience about my own books and what they like to read. I was really pleased to have been able to meet readers and new writers on this occasion.
Fair of Face, the sixth novel in the DI Yates series, will be published on 15th October.
I’ve diligently been updating my Twitter header and posting the new novel’s cover here and on Facebook! Bookmark in Spalding is providing a signing session on the afternoon of 16th October and an evening launch event on 19th October and I know both will be memorable moments for meeting friends old and new. If you would like me to come and talk at your local bookshop or library, or to your reading group, just let me know.
Oh, and hello again to all my readers here!
[An apology to Spalding Library – I’ve temporarily mislaid my SanDisk – a picture will follow!]
9 thoughts on “Christina’s summer, aside from work!”
Hi Christina, you may not have over – blogged this summer, this one made up for it in quality!! As always you have been somewhere or done something interesting. I believe we will be seeing you shortly in West Yorkshire.
I have resurrected my WordPress blog, there is a selection of my work on:
mauveoneblog2014 on WordPress, if you would like to have a look. Love Marjorie xx
Thank you, Marjorie! You have been very generous – delicately put! I shall certainly come over to see what you’ve been doing! XX
I’ve just been captivated by your posts, Marjorie, and I particularly enjoyed the first job in W .H.Smith’s. So much detail and insights into those incredible experiences. The encouragement to be a poet also works very well. Brilliant output this summer. Well done!
Wonderful to see you back, Christina and I’m very glad to see my annual fix of DI Yates will be available soon!! You have a marvellously supportive community of bookshops and libraries around you there. It must be so rewarding to be able meet such a great variety of writers, readers and book people!
And equally wonderful to have you rush back so enthusiastically to comment here, Valerie! Thank you very much indeed for being such a good friend to DI Yates. The support I now have in Yorkshire, Cambridge and Lincolnshire is wonderful and I’m indeed fortunate to be able to visit often. Each new novel seems to gather more interest; I hope that you will enjoy ‘Fair of Face’ when you come to it.
I still have to follow your travels in Belgium and France and I’m really looking forward to seeing your photographs. Lovely to catch up with you on Facebook, especially over a matter of learning!!! Fun to read the exchanges there! 🙂 Best wishes from me. XX
It is a pleasure to help you promote your wonderful novels. I really enjoyed reading about your summer activities. Big congrats on the new book coming out! A great achievement!
Lovely to find this on waking up this morning! Thank you, Lisette, for doing the rounds with this and for your congratulations. You know very well what it takes to get to the finished article! This one had to be in a month earlier than all the others, so I was, let’s say, slightly under pressure. Will be back to your chateau before long. XX
Yeaaaaa! (Muppet Wave) for new novel and a very busy summer. Glad all is well.
Leaves are falling here which is perfect inspiration for covering a crime.
Love the update.
Thank you, Jack, for that vibrant support. Leaves falling here, too, but we’ve not had yet the first frost that really brings out their colours and also knocks them down. You’re right, though – fallen leaves can cover a great deal from sight. 🙂