Yesterday, I learned three secret ingredients to a good book reading:
1. Free tea and coffee
2. Free biscuits
3. A warm room
You simply cannot go wrong if your audience is fed, watered and warm. It makes them a captive audience, and there is nothing sweeter for a writer than reading to a captive audience. So, with a belly full of Viennese Whirls and tea up to my eyeballs, I began reading extracts from the first chapter of The Living Library. They laughed, clapped and asked me questions, and came out with some gems of their own:
Mrs H: I remember being taken to join the library by my teacher when I was 7
Me: Where was that?
Mrs H: In Leeds, next to the school. I started working at the school as a teacher when I got older. I remember the smell from when I was a child. Still smelled of wet knickers.
At the end of the reading, one of the women gave me hug and a few others came and told me that they would happy buy the book, ‘but I expect it’ll be the library for free, so there’s no need to buy it.’ And with that, they were all gone.
The clever bods at Huddersfield Library have now hit upon a cunning plan for me to read from my manuscript throughtout the year, as it progresses. ‘It’s different from us hearing the final product,’ said the mastermind, ‘which is what usually happens.’ So watch this space…
This has been a big week on the writing front with the reading and also the creative writing group beginning again. Two hours a week for the next six months. SIGH. Oh my, how I’ve missed it.