Monday, December 17, 2012

A Buzz of Authors

I wish I’d thought of this very apt definition, but it was actually coined by a writer friend of mine when we went to the annual Christmas Soiree at The Falmouth Bookseller on Wednesday evening.  The proprietor, Ron Johns is terrifically supportive of local authors. So when invitations are issued we emerge, blinking, from our sheds, offices and studies, reluctant to leave the work-in-progress, but wanting to support one of the few remaining independent booksellers.  Ron is a very astute man. Not only has he branched out into publishing – his Soggy The Bear books are hugely popular - he is also moving into older children’s fiction. And, in the spirit of if you can't beat them, join them (or perhaps keep your friends close and your enemies closer)  he has also started selling e-readers and ebooks.

When we arrived for the soiree I did what I – and all the writers I know - do: looked around hoping desperately to see someone I knew.  Writers spend most of each day alone, though only in the physical sense. In fact we are in the world of our characters, living their adventures, disasters and love-affairs, which is both exhilarating and exhausting. Being essentially solitary, most of us find walking into a room full of people quite difficult, hence the search for a familiar face. As it happened I saw two people I knew and hadn’t seen for a while: Les Merton, who writes Cornish poetry and prose, and whose books on Cornish dialect are both informative and hilarious; and Sue Jackson, whose collection of Cornish walks previously featured in Cornwall Today has recently been published in book form. An accomplished journalist she also writes novels, and is on tenterhooks at the moment waiting to hear from an agent who asked for three chapters and a synopsis. It was lovely to catch up with their news, and to share mine. 

Les introduced me to Cheryl, a writer from Australia who has written a history of Cornwall. And I introduced the writer friend who accompanied me to everyone I knew. Rebecca, one of Ron’s sales assistants came round with a tray of home-made Christmas cake, mince pies and other nibbles to help soak up the wine or soft drinks we had been offered as we walked through the door.

I hadn't seen Rebecca for a while. But I didn't realise quite how long it had been until I reminded her about a lunch Ron had hosted at the restaurant next door after a signing session for Jean Stubbs, EV Thompson and me, when she’d had to leave early to feed her baby.  She grinned and told me that baby son is now fourteen-years-old, and she also has another son of twelve. This is one of the lovely things about people in the writing world. You may not see each other for years, but when you meet up again you just pick up where you left off.  It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening.  I wish I had remembered to take my camera.

Wishing my fellow bloggers and all our visitors a very happy Christmas. Here's to good health, happiness, and success in all your ventures in 2013.

Jane Jackson


Louise Allen said...

It sounds like a wonderful evening! Wish we had such a great bookshop near us

Christina Courtenay said...

Oh, me too! Independent book shops like that are like gold dust now!