UK Visit for Scruffle-Nut, A Cat Called Trim and My Friend Tertius
Posting blog posts to my website from my iphone was probably the biggest challenge over the last month. I was visiting the United Kingdom (and a quick stopover in Singapore) to launch and promote Scruffle-Nut and A Cat Called Trim. I also visited many bookshops in London and around the UK, met with publishers, visited statues of Matthew Flinders and Trim at Euston Station, London and in Donington and met with the son of the main character in My Friend Tertius. I also researched and wrote a new story.
For the most part I traveled with my husband Grant who claims he was my taxi driver, luggage carrier and support person on my visits to bookshops and book events. All true and I valued his company and support. I also stayed in London for almost an extra week by myself for appointments with publishers, attendance at the London Literature Festival and more bookshop visits.
Not only was the trip a professional challenge and success, it was also emotional on many levels including the fact that the last time I visited London I was 21 and living and working there as a secretary. So after the book commitments, I took a walk down memory lane and visited the hotel I stayed in when I first arrived in London and the flat I lived in in Swiss Cottage.
Above left used to be the Border Hotel and above 19 Belsize Square, Swiss Cottage, hasn’t changed much!
My blog posts of the last four weeks describe what was happening each week but the experiences listed below were the highlights, happy and sad, but all to be cherished.
My Friend Tertius and Raffles Singapore
Visiting Raffles Hotel with the finished book, My Friend Tertius and presenting the hotel with a copy was a huge highlight. The last time I was in Singapore I was still researching this story and endeavouring to find out how a man and a gibbon escaped Singapore in 1942 as it was falling.
Scruffle-Nut Book Launch at Nomad Books with illustrator, Owen Swan and New Frontier Publishing
I would like to thank New Frontier Publishing UK, especially Sophia and Henry, as well as Aude and Jess at Nomad Books for the wonderful Scruffle-Nut London launch on 5th October. Thanks also to illustrator, Owen Swan for making the trip as well.
Storytime and Craft Session at Chelsea Library, 7th October
This was a fun afternoon of words and creations surrounding Scruffle-Nut and squirrels.
A visit to Pakeman Primary School and meeting Ed Cooper
On 8th October I visited students at Pakeman Primary School which is the school where Ed Cooper, son of Arthur Cooper, who, along with Tertius, is the main character in My Friend Tertius.
Later that day I met and visited Ed Cooper in hospital – not that it had been planned that way.
This book took me 10 years, yes a decade to complete, with the research taking the major part. By chance and dogged determination I eventually managed to contact Ed Cooper who was able to help fill in some huge gaps in the story. If it hadn’t been for Ed, I doubt My Friend Tertius would have made it. I’d been looking so forward to this meeting and it was a privilege and an honour to spend time with him, even from a hospital bed.
Sadly, I received the news last week that Ed passed away on October 20. I am so thankful I met him. He once told me that he had learned so much more about his father from this book.
Visiting two statues of Matthew Flinders and Trim
Standing next to the statues of Matthew Flinders and Trim, one outside Euston Station in London, and the other in the town of Donington where Matthew Flinders was born, were wonderful and emotional experiences. In Donington there is a group called Matthew Flinders Bring Him Home, who are raising funds to bring the remains of Matthew Flinders back to Donington and bury him at the Church of St Mary and the Holy Rood at Donington. The remains of Matthew Flinders were discovered in January of this year in a graveyard under Euston Station.
And the research and writing? Well somehow I did it because writing is what I love most. What I have is a very rough, bare bones draft number 1 of a new but very much planned story.