The author of The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper talks about her experience of taking part in Read Regional 2017…

I’m packing my suitcase with books for the sixth time today (plus taking a plate-full of lemon drizzle cake), for a visit to Skelmanthorpe Library. It’s around a 45-minute drive from my house, and I’ve never been before. Visiting new places is just one of the positives of taking part in the wonderful Read Regional initiative, which connects writers, libraries and readers across the north of England.

Writing can be a solitary slog: endless hours of staring at a computer screen or notepad. Breaking away from that, to meet and speak to people who’ve actually read your words or are interested in your story, is refreshing, interesting and inspiring.

A highlight for me was an event in Middlesbrough. The library team there teamed up with Marks & Spencer to offer a ‘Girls’ Night In’ – a combination of literature and shopping! It worked really well, with an audience of around 60. It forged strong community links between the library and the store and attendees enjoyed a one-hour author presentation followed by out-of-hours shopping. Because I was staying overnight, I was able to chat after my presentation to event-goers in more depth. It’s always fascinating to hear what readers enjoyed most about my book; they sometimes ask questions about its characters that I’ve never even thought of myself.

All my library visits so far have been enjoyable and welcoming. You can’t beat the sight of all those gorgeous books and smiling faces. I’m getting to promote my work, make useful connections, and new friends, too.

I’m currently writing my third novel and, just to let you know, the heroine will be a librarian!

For your chance to hear more from Phaedra and the other Read Regional authors, grab a ticket for an event in a library near you.

Find out more about Read Regional: www.newwritingnorth.com/projects/read-regional