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Monday, 15 July 2013

A Reader Has Her Say

I am happy to host a guest blog by one of my readers, Julie Merrilees Watters. Julie has never written a blog post before, but when I saw this on the Montrose Memories Facebook page, I pleaded with her to allow me to post it. Happily, she agreed, and I haven’t altered anything in her post except for separating it into paragraphs. So now I’ll hand the blog over to Julie.
Julie Merriless Watters

It was great to be able to attend Waterstones in Dundee for the launch of Chris Longmuir's new book Missing Believed Dead, along with my Mum on Thursday night.

As book launch virgins, we weren't sure what to expect. We were very pleasantly surprised to find an area in the bookshop was set out with chairs; there were welcome nibbles & drinks to keep any pangs of hunger or thirst at bay. Talking of welcomes - Chris, who was at a desk at the front, spotted us coming in & she came all the way to the back to say "Hello," have a wee chat & a hug, as well as take the time to sign a few copies of her previous books for us.

I asked Chris if she was nervous about the event. She had actually been anxious that nobody would turn up! However, people trickled in & there were no seats left by the time Chris was due to take the floor. Waterstones staff quickly had to bring in more chairs to try & accomodate everyone.

After an opening welcome, Chris gave us a hint or two about Missing Believed Dead's plot, along with few verbal appetizers about some of the characters. She chose to highlight the D.S. in her story & I was left with the feeling that I wanted to mother this chappie or fend off some of the blows bound to come his way via his new boss.

Chris asked us if we wanted to hear the first chapter read & shared some advice she'd been given as a writer. That advice was to basically hook the reader in that first chapter. She very cleverly set the scene & I was able to picture myself there witnessing the event as it unfolded & thinking "which one is going to prevail here?"

Later, Chris asked if anyone had any questions they wanted to ask. There were quite a few ranging from "Do you base your characters on real people that you know?" "How do you keep track of your characters?" "Will you please sort out the D.S. in the stories with a good woman?" "Do you write for 6,8,10 hour stretches per day?" I asked on the quiet "Do you keep a notebook with you all the time to write lines down, so you won't forget them?" Chris held the interest of the audience easily & concluded her talk to a healthy applause.

I had the pleasure of meeting Chris' family afterwards & we had a lovely time discussing Montrose Memories, the people we had met as a result of it & the things we had since learnt about our town that we hadn't known before. It really was such an enjoyable night. Well done, Chris! XX
Getting a hug from Julie
And thank you, Julie, for such a wonderful description of a wonderful night where I got to meet so many of my readers.



Bill Kirton said...

Priceless. Great idea to invite such a guest, Chris.
And, Julie, you should write more blog entries. Hearing this sort of thing from a reader is great. I'm glad the evening went so well - for both of you.

Melanie said...

Well done, Julie! A brilliant blog post of your first time experience at a book launch. I really hope you'll take up blogging because you've got a knack for it. So glad you enjoyed the evening.

Chris, I'm glad you were able to convince Julie to let you post this here. A successful night all round.

Chris Longmuir said...

Julie tried to respond to the comments, but like a lot of us ran into difficulties because Blogger doesn't always play ball. She wanted to thank Bill and Melanie for their comments. She said she was amazed you had taken the time to do so, and to offer encouragement, and she was worried you would think she doesn't care because she didn't respond. So, from Julie, many thanks for reading her 'bletherings' and taking the time to repond and offer encouragement.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

What a super post and even more valuable and meaningful because it's from a reader - well done Julie and Chris!