Friday, May 12, 2006

Who invited Jeremy Paxman?

Really enjoyed myself in Hunsbury last night. (Joint reading gig with Cate Sweeney.) There was a really good turn out, despite the fact that the library was charging £2 a head. Kate O'Brien, the literature officer for Northampton libraries, explained that, bizarrely, they always get more people when they charge for events. I suppose people think if it's free it's not worth going to; if you have to pay, it must be something good. Plus the library have to cover their costs, and a small admission charge helps.

Anyhow, to make up for it they knocked a couple of pounds off the price of the books, so if you bought a book, you ended up quids in.

Cate being the local girl had plenty of support. She'd also managed to get herself interviewed on Radio Northampton so I'm sure that helped to boost the numbers too. I was delighted to meet some 'virtual friends' of mine from writers' websites writewords and zoetrope, Lexie and Tony. Thanks to them for making the effort to come along and give support. Other than that, there were a fair few people who neither of us knew. In other words, members of the general public.

We both said a bit about our books and then read two extracts each. I did go with the All Day Breakfast and The Tetley Teabag. After we'd done our readings there was a question and answer session. Lots of good questions. People seemed to be really engaged by what we had said and read. There was one guy who asked me a bit of a Jeremy Paxman question: 'I noticed in the bits you read, you tend to repeat certain words. Is this deliberate - a conscious technique - or are you just trying to fill the page?' I had to laugh. It did give me an opportunity to talk about the style. I do use repetition - it's been said to good effect. It's a way of mirroring the way thoughts loop round and repeat themselves in our heads. To be fair to him, the guy that asked the question did say 'It's very effective.' It was a funny moment - and I don't think he meant to be rude. Provocative, maybe.

There were lots of other questions too, very interesting and thoughtful ones. You obviously get a high class of reader in Northampton. The event ran on a little bit later than intended, which I think was a good sign.

I'm told we sold all the copies of the books they had. I can't quite believe it, but if it's true, it's great.

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