Some time ago I blogged that I’d been invited toWaverton near Chester to talk about Dry Season. I’d been nominated for the Waverton Good Read Award (check out the website for more information) which is open to debut novelists whose book is published in the year of the award – with previous winners including Mark Haddon and Paul Torday. Anyway, I made it down south (I mean, Manchester and Liverpool aren’t north, not really) and met the organisers of the award who, very kindly, accommodated me for the night, fed me, watered me and looked after me very well during my stay (thank you Gwen, Peter and Wendy). Amongst all that relaxing and being looked after, I even found time to speak to a group of readers about the experiences that have inspired the places and characters that populate my novel Dry Season.
I always find it a little daunting when I first stand up in front of a group of people, but it doesn’t take long for me to get into my stride. After all, I’m talking about me and my book, and no one knows about those things better than I do! Hopefully everyone enjoyed the talk – I didn’t notice anyone nodding off and there were a few questions at the end, which is a positive sign – and I’d like to think that people left knowing something of the background to Dry Season.
This year, 69 books were nominated for the award and the readers of Waverton have been busy working their way through the books, producing more than 700 hundred reviews since September 2010, so that’s a lot of reading. Before I spoke about Dry Season, a long-list of 25 books was announced and I was pleased to see my name on the list. (Phew, that could have been embarrassing.) Anyway, I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that I make it onto that short-list. Most of the previous winners of the award have gone on to great success, so the readers of Waverton obviously have an eye for it, and I’m proud to have made it onto the long-list.
Thanks again, everyone, for being so accommodating and making my visit such an enjoyable one.