After we were both justifiably told off for talking by a lady at a writing group meeting last week, author Helen Durrant and I decided to meet up for lunch so we could catch up properly. I should really call her Helen H Durrant, but I usually leave out the H. Helen is a traditionally published author with seven crime novels under her belt. She wrote the Calladine and Bayliss series of crime novels. I recently finished reading the second of her DI Greco books, Dark Houses and thoroughly enjoyed the ride. Helen hasn’t always been traditionally published. She started off as an indie author like me before being signed to Joffe Books.
Helen’s lived in the Oldham area for far longer than I have, yet I still classify myself as an Oldham author, despite having lived in Jersey for eighteen years and over thirty years in Kent. I’m proudly claiming my Oldham author rights, because I wrote and published all eight books since selling my home in Kent and moving to Oldham in 2012 after my back permanently gave out. In 2012, probably high on pain-killing drugs, I spontaneously opted to sell my house in Kent and buy a cheaper one in Oldham in order to write. I did this rather than claim disability benefits, which I’d have been perfectly entitled to claim. The jury is still out over whether this was a wise decision or not. It all hangs on whether I can survive or not as a writer with no other income or anybody else to rely on. It’s not looking good, ha! Whatever happens, I’m enjoying the indie author experience, despite never having worked so hard in my life.
Helen and I met yesterday inside the spacious cafe inside Oldham Library where we ate a simple lunch and talked mostly about anything related to books. She ordered her usual soup but I panicked and randomly ordered Welsh rarebit. There was much to talk about, as we’d not met for over six months. I don’t tend to talk to many people face to face as I’m so involved with my books, so chatting to Helen was a tonic. We could have chatted much longer, but hopefully we’ll meet for lunch again in the near future.
Helen and I are actually scheduled to meet again on 5th November back at Oldham Library, but this time it won’t be for a fun lunch. Helen Durrant, Carol Talbot, possibly another female local author and I, are all giving a talk at Oldham library at 11 a.m. about our books and our lives as authors. This’ll be my first shot at formal public speaking, but I usually have no problem telling taxi drivers, shop assistants, Tesco delivery drivers etc about my books. I’m planning to wing it, which could be dangerous. I might say something unintentionally controversial, because I’m prone to putting my foot in it. I’m too honest for my own good, which you’ll know if you’ve ever read my autobiographical Mug Trilogy.
My daughter, Zoe, will be travelling hundreds of miles from her home in Croydon to my house in Oldham to help carry the books I’ve designated for the book signing afterwards. I suffer from a permanent slipped disc, so carrying anything heavy, like a box of paperbacks, would prove problematic. My birthday is two days before the library event, so Zoe was planning to visit me anyway around this time, so I don’t feel too guilty. The photo is of Zoe, her husband Chris, my magnolia tree and me. Sorry for cropping off half of your head, Chris.
I’ve a feeling there mightn’t be many people showing up to listen to four authors on a Saturday morning in Oldham, especially as it’s Bonfire night that evening, but I could be wrong. Hopefully the woman who scolded Helen and me won’t be in the audience. I’d probably succumb to a fit of the giggles if I saw her sitting glaring at me. Above all, I must try my best not to embarrass my daughter when I stand up to speak, but it’s pretty much guaranteed.