LISTEN to any Dublin taxi driver and they’ll tell you that you can’t fling a Bodhran tipper* out of the window without hitting a writer.
Sorry, but I’ve lapsed into gaelic since spending three days in the fair city to launch my difficult second novel Spark Out. And it’s certainly true to say that the only people I saw who weren’t writers during my brief but highly enjoyable stay were those kind people who served me their finest beers, spirits and other sustenance to help me survive the ordeal.
This was the second time I had been to this wonderful event run by the book promotion service, Books Go Social. I had asked Laurence O’Bryan (pictured below) – the brains behind the company – if he might be able to fit my book launch into his jam-packed schedule. Even though he had Hollywood producers and best-selling authors to accommodate, he was delighted to oblige, and kindly filmed the event as well.
Having not ventured out of the famous Gresham Hotel last year, I pledged that I would see a bit more of the famed Dublin nightlife this time around. The trouble is that once you become embedded with a group of writers, even the most introverted is itching to tell you of their latest project or their creative journey.
As a result I became part of the fixtures and fittings of the Academy Plaza on this occasion, spending the days enjoying lectures on every aspect of my craft, from first sentence to organising book launches, and nights ensconced in the bar, swapping tales with fabulously entertaining company.
There were too many good speakers to list but I would just like to make quick mention of Scottish dynamo and crime writer Wendy H Jones (right). Having lived a full and varied life before beginning a “life of “crime” she drew on her experience as a nurse to inform us: “I can assure you that no one has EVER died of embarrassment.” Wendy was encouraging us to get out and take risks, to ask local book stores and other enterprises to stock and sell our books, or allow us to perform book signings and launches.
A testament to her success was when she visited her local bank branch near Dundee and was not only invited to do a book signing but was then approached by head office to do an entire tour of Scotland’s banks. Brilliant work!
As for myself, despite having to compete with the clinking of cutlery and what seemed like a demolition derby going on in the nearby kitchen, I think my speech went down well.
I was pleased with the banner that I had bought on eBay and had delivered straight to the venue without actually seeing (I feared there might be an awful spelling mistake in it or something, but luckily that wasn’t the case). I was also delighted to be able to do a short reading from the new book and give out three as prizes to those people who could come up with a tale about their favourite fictional baddie.
At the end of it all I was feeling revved up, the adrenaline flowing… there was nothing for it than to retire to the bar again and mingle with the glittering company.
* A Bodhran tipper is the stick with which you beat an Irish Bodhran, or drum.
- Spark Out is available in paperback this Saturday (July 1) and can be obtained through Amazon or ordered through most good bookstores. It will be available as an eBook through Kindle Unlimited from July 10.