WHAT A start to the Rugby World Cup, and what a week it’s been for me.
While the Japanese created the biggest shock in World Cup history by beating the two-times champions South Africa 34-32 with the last move of the game, the story of my writing odyssey spread from the heart of London to the wilds of Wales – mirroring my novel Crossing The Whitewash I suppose. It’s been a thrill a minute as I’ve called in favours, spent hours at the computer at home writing and promoting through social media and I’ve even experienced the buzz of adrenaline you get as guest on a national radio programme.
On Thursday, I travelled into Central London to speak to presenter Eleri Sion for her afternoon programme on Radio Wales. I arrived at the new BBC Broadcasting headquarters just off Great Portland Street in plenty of time and presented myself at a reception desk. The next 20 minutes were like a scene from a sitcom.
The disinterested receptionist left me waiting at her desk for a couple of minutes while she chatted away enthusiastically on the phone to someone I could only imagine was a close pal. When she finally realised I wasn’t going to go away any time soon she tutted, made her excuses and hung up. I informed her I was appearing on Radio Wales and needed to find studio GA. “Oh yes, you’re in the right place,” she said, before turning her attention back to the magazine in front of her. I assumed this meant I should take a seat and wait. So I did. For 15 minutes.
As I anxiously watched the clock creep around I became aware of the South African security guard telling my friend the receptionist a story which made me think I had been caught in some sort of time warp. “Yes, he told everyone he didn’t know she was in there when he fired his shotgun through the door. I think it was murder. They call him the Blade runner, y’know. It’s because he ACTUALLY RUNS ON BLADES!”
Had I stepped into an episode of Dr Who, I wondered, where perhaps he was going back in time to throw new light on the Oscar Pistorius murder trial? I couldn’t think why else he would be relating such an old story in such a way as if it had happened only yesterday…
Finally, I could wait no longer. “Is someone coming to get me?” I said.
“What are you here for again?” the receptionist asked.
I repeated my story and she rifled through some plastic name tags before handing over a visitors pass. “Through there on the left,” she said without preamble. I had no doubt that if I had waited any longer I would have missed my slot.
As I disappeared through double doors I just caught the security guard revealing “… he actually ran in the Olympics… on blades!”
I found myself in a broom cupboard-sized room with two microphones and a set of headphones. I could hear the show all right, but they couldn’t hear me. I imagined my growing fan club saying to each other, “Where’s Rippers then? Bet he went for a beer and didn’t make it”. The presenter put on a Curtis Mayfield track to disguise the fact they were having trouble speaking to the guest of honour.
Finally, 2 hours 15 minutes into the show, after Eleri finished a lively discussion about Rugby World Cupcakes, it was time for my 15 minutes of fame. And good fun it was, too. I enjoyed relating stories which have become second nature since I began marketing the book. I told of my interesting introduction to the South Wales Evening Post at Swansea, when I knew next to nothing about rugby, and of the moment I learned my dream job at the News of the World had been cut short.
It all went by very quickly, Eleri asking me at the end: “So who do you want to win Nick? England or Wales?” I admit I fudged it.
You can hear the interview here on the BBC Wales website… it takes place about 2 hours 15 minutes into the programme. It will be on there for another three weeks before being removed, I believe.
Elsewhere, my local paper the Ilford Recorder (below) did me proud with a full page about the book, as did Express Online which ran my own personal musings about self-publishing your own book.
I’ve had some decent reviews, too, including one from Book Muse, the online magazine set up by writers collective Triskele.
On Net Galley I may have found my No. 1 fan, too. Susan Hampson wrrote a 5* review that had me welling up with pride. You can find it on my Amazon page.
Now all I need to do is sell some books, and I shall be physically attempting to do so as one of 30 authors at the Rhondda Book Fair on October 3 in Penycraig. Come along to say hello to me and the family… and buy a book, of course!