Monthly Archives: September 2012

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Saved By The Bell.


I have the best job in the world! Is this what real authors do? Is this what it actually feels like to call myself a proper author and do proper author things? Or maybe it’s all pretend and I’m just a proper Arthur (as one little fan wrote and told me this week).

It has been the most amazing week in my short writing career. Generally, I’m ambitious, determined and very impatient; I expect great things to happen immediately and occasionally I can get frustrated that I haven’t sold a billion books by now. But when I think that I only gave up my ‘real job’ six months ago I realise that the rollercoaster ride is still climbing.

This week I attended my first book festival, Stirling’s Off the Page. I presented at two fantastic libraries, to two groups of primary school pupils and had a brilliant time. I was even treated to lunch by Stirling’s Library Co-ordinator.

Then I visited another seven schools and was delighted to discover that the Airdrie Advertiser and Angus Courier had sent photographers to capture my sessions with the kids. I even had a phone call from the Daily Record, who wanted some ‘background info’ as I’ve been nominated for the Creative Scotland Awards 2012.

At one rural school I was even allowed to ring the bell; a proper heavy metal thing with a big clanger. I nearly pulled my arm out of my socket swinging it back and forth but that still didn’t top the two most memorable moments of the last 7 days.

Whilst I was leaving one school I turned the corner into the car park and bumped into a dinner lady, sobbing profusely into a hankie. I went across to see if she was okay and found out that she was retiring and today was her last day. Her husband had died earlier this year and she was moving house to be closer to her daughter. She loved the kids at school and was going to miss them so much. By this point, I had to pretend I had something in my eye and I gave her a cuddle. I led her back into the school canteen where I knew the whole school was waiting with flowers and presents.

Then, at my last school of the week I met a young man called Jay. He told me he loves books and asked lots of great questions at the end of my presentation. He hung at the back of the queue of pupils, who were waiting to buy my book and just as the lunchtime rang, Jay was last to be served. He was so excited he thrust his little money envelope into my hand, holding it in a very particular fashion. Knowing I was running late, I felt for the money inside and guessed there was a £5 note, a £2 coin and a £1 coin. I even asked him if that was £8, he nodded and I gave him 1p change.

It was only when I got home and opened the envelope that I discovered there was £11.10 in it; a bit of a strange amount and £3.10 too much so I called the school.

It turns out that Jay wasn’t given any cash to buy my book. He had spent both his and his little sister’s lunch money to get himself a copy. He’d loved the presentation so much, he had the cash in his pocket for weeks’ worth of school dinners and he seized his opportunity. He was prepared to starve, as long as he could have a copy of Gorgeous George and the Giant Geriatric Generator.

. I think that more children should go hungry to read my books. Well done, Jay!