Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Thrilling events in Perthshire!

If you follow me on Twitter or my Facebook books page, you'll probably know that last Thursday I took part in "2 Poets & A Novelist", a literary event at Strathearn Community Library in Crieff, Perthshire. 

The two poets were Kona MacPhee (far left) and Patricia Ace (to the right of me in the pic) and I, of course, was the novelist. By some strange conjunction of the stars, we all had new books out in the last month or so, which was why we decided to get together and make an evening of it. 

I'm very pleased to say that the event was a big success, with the small lecture theatre at the community campus very nearly packed out. This is not a given for book events - unless you are a very lucky or top best selling author, there are always those occasions where you find yourself talking to three people and a dog, and all of the people are friends or relations of yours! So it was wonderful to find the event so well supported. Three cheers for the book-loving residents of Crieff! 

I kicked the evening off with a slide show and talk about the real-life locations that have inspired my books - including the ruined castles of rural Germany, the high buildings of Ghent and the underground world of European sewers and catacombs. 

Patricia then took the floor and read from her collection of poems, Fabulous Beast. Patricia is a super reader and some of her work is very daring! If you want to find out just how daring, you'll have to get her book, though.

Third up was Kona, who regaled us all with the medical anomalies and frank monstrosities that have inspired her since she was a child poring over an old book of them. The slides that accompanied Kona's talk were pretty staggering. She did warn us that one medical nasty was too horrible to show in photographic form, so she showed us a stuffed toy version instead. This was the teratoma. She warned us not to look it up on Google Images. Of course, this was the very first thing I did when I got home after the event. I agree with Kona now. Don't look it up...

Anyway, big thankyous to all concerned, including Kirsty Brown at Strathearn Community Library, and all those who came along to support us. 

If you live within reach of Crieff and missed the event, but still have a thirst for all things literary, I am pleased to say that I have another one coming up in May. This time I shall be at Innerpeffray Library, which as you will know if you have read my previous blog posts about it, is one of my favourite places in the whole of Scotland. 

On Thursday May 16th I shall be running a Ghost Story Masterclass and Storytelling Evening. The Masterclass is an opportunity to learn all about the craft of writing spine-chilling tales, and will include tips, discussions and some literary "exercises"! The evening event is a chance to hear me read some of my own ghost stories and to hear excerpts from some of the creepier books in the library - which has books dating back to the 1500s. It should be an especially thrilling and atmospheric evening since we will be in the Library itself surrounded by its centuries-old book collection! You can attend the evening event without attending the Masterclass, if you wish. 

The Masterclass costs £20, which includes entry to the evening event too; alternatively the evening event only costs just £5 per person.

You can book by calling Innerpeffray Library on 01764 652819 or using the form available on the Library website, here: Ghost stories booking form

If you're not within travelling distance of Crieff: I'll be posting details of events elsewhere when I know them! I hope to make it back to Belgium too, at the very latest to launch my next book, The Demons of Ghent. Watch this space! 

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