Well I’m finally getting around to writing this after a couple of very busy weekends! First of all, it was my Graduation at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall on the 25th of October, where I celebrated achieving my First Class Honours Degree in Literature after six years with the Open University. It was, I think, one of the best days of my life and it almost (note the word “almost”) made me want to do a Masters Degree just so I could do it again! But then, I said when I finished my degree that I wanted some time out of studying and some time to devote to my writing without feeling guilty and without having half an eye on the text book I should be reading – so that’s exactly what I’m doing at the minute.
And then last weekend, the 1st of November, I had the most brilliant book-signing experience at The Whitby Bookshop in Whitby (surprising that, isn’t it?!), North Yorkshire. Whitby is where my book Some Veil Did Fall is set – and the book starts as Becky visits Whitby during Goth Weekend.
I’d never been to a Goth Weekend there, and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Friends have been and I’ve always been stunned by the photographs, and this year I had the opportunity to join the steampunk crowd, the vampiric brigade and the mere flesh and blood mortals who simply enjoy getting dressed up in the most amazing costumes.
I’d been told how friendly everybody was, and that was very evident in the fact that people were promenading through the town and stopping happily every time somebody wanted to take a photograph of them. Even I got brave enough to ask people to stop and I think I walked around with a huge smile on my face all afternoon. The Abbey was lit up and the atmosphere was buzzing – I absolutely adored it. We poked around the graveyard of St Mary’s Church in the pitch black evening – again, the church is somewhere that features in my book – and one wasn’t quite certain if the people that drifted through the graveyard wearing top hats and riding habits or holding parasols were living or dead. But one didn’t really care at that point. I just wanted the outfits!
As six o’clock approached, I went to the bookshop and met the funny and talented Jane Lovering, the fellow Choc Lit author who I was doing the signing with. I got changed into my Gothicky fusion outfit of Asda and Charity Shop pieces and clumped down the winding staircase in my black and silver biker boots. Jane looked brilliantly steampunk and ‘recently undead’ as she put it, in her corset , top hat and trousers. And despite her protests of ‘I can’t breeeaaaattttthe!’ the corset didn’t seem to stop her tucking into chocolate and wine – much like myself. I must confess, I gave up on my corset belt after a while though. I needed extra chocolate room and it was, I think, a wise decision.
The icing on the (chocolate) cake came with the fact I sold some books, I got chatting to some wonderful people who were genuinely interested in Some Veil Did Fall and in writing, and a couple of my friends even popped in to see us. One such friend was fellow author Paula Readman – funnily enough, we originally ‘met’ virtually during work on an anthology for Bridge House Publishing entitled Crime after Crime. We hit it off, as you sometimes do, and as we looked into it further, we realised we had both appeared in another anthology together a few years earlier – English Heritage’s 2010 publication, Whitby Abbey – Pure Inspiration. So I thought it rather fitting that we should actually meet face to face in that wonderful town – and Paula’s outfit, as you can see by the pictures, was just as amazing as she was.