There’s one element of being a full-time author I’ve never entirely become used to, even after fourteen years and eleven published novels. The solitude. Writing a book is an endeavour that, in the vast majority of cases, has to be done on your own. If you believe the stereotypes, authors are reclusive types, most at ease when tucked away by themselves, with nothing but their writing apparatus of choice and steady supply of coffee. As an ex journalist who worked in a busy newsroom for the first half of my career, this was never really me. I’m a social creature, someone who enjoys company and meeting new people.
Which is one of the things I’ve most enjoyed about my involvement in the Read Regional campaign. I’m taking part in eleven events to talk about my book, ‘You Me Everything’, and have completed five so far. This has meant visiting parts of the north of England to which fate or publicity schedules have never led me, at least for a book event.
So far I’ve visited libraries in Northumberland, Greater Manchester, Hull, Calderdale and Merseyside. I’ve met people of all ages and outlooks, some of which have already read my novel, others who are yet to do so. The one thing they’ve all had in common is a love of reading. So we’re already on the same page, if you’ll excuse the pun.
My book is about a woman who drives to the Dordogne in France with her ten-year-old son to spend the summer with his father after she learns that her mother has Huntington’s Disease. It was a Richard and Judy pick in 2018 and is an ideal book club choice, with themes that have given us plenty to talk about on during the events.
The questions I’ve encountered have been a source of fascination to me. Some want to know why I changed my name from my Jane Costello (the pseudonym under which I previously wrote romantic comedy novels). Others about how I first got published and my writing rituals today. The question I’m universally asked is which actor I’m hoping will be cast in the movie adaptation that is currently in development by Lionsgate (the answer to which is reserved for those who come to the events!)
I’ve loved spending time in libraries. It’s been a reminder of what welcoming places they are, run by staff who are passionate about books and keen to spread the word when they discover one they really love. Not all of them I’ve visited have been grand venues, of course – though Brighouse in Calderdale is worth a visit for its beautiful building alone. But what they’ve all offered is a space for both me and the readers to enjoy a thoroughly entertaining evening discussing the best conversation topic there is: books. Usually with a cup of tea and slice of cake too.
Find out more about Catherine, her Read Regional novel You Me Everything and the rest of her events here.