An Awfully Big Occasion

What a swell party it was.

Indi Author Fair 17.4.15 009


Book covers 002

Time – 17 April 2015, 4pm-7.30pm

Place – Foyle’s, Charing Cross Road

Meet the author!  Buy books.  Meet other authors.  Buy more books.

Yes – Foyles on London’s Charing Cross Road, is playing host to The Indie Author Fair on Friday 17th April 2015, 4-7.30pm.  The fair is organised by Triskele Books and sponsored by XPO North.  It’s free to the public.  And I shall be there!  With A Sense of Occasion.

Final cover_1622x2500px




And what an occasion.  There will a drinks reception, there will be goodie bags.  It’s going to be great!  I shall be signing books, selling books and answering questions about the 60s, Chelmsford and Betty Crocker cakes (possibly).  I have a feeling that Motown music blasting through the room may not be welcomed by all authors, so I am trying to devise a situation where I provide the CD player and multi sets of ear phones so browsers can listen to Green Onions,  Hi Heel Sneakers, Little Red Rooster (the list -and the beat – goes on) while deciding how many copies to buy. Of course, in my hands this may not be desirable, even if technologically possible.  It will be a blast.

Just keep the date in your diary.  Friday 17 April 2015.  Be there or be square.

More details and press release here

A Sense of Occasion 024 (1)

Beyond the Beehive

Get ready.  It’s coming.

The characters you enjoyed, the music you loved, the period you know from A Sense of Occasion are all about to reappear.  And this time it’s a novel.

Final cover_1622x2500px

Beyond the Beehive takes us back to Chelmsford, 60s boom town, and follows Linda and Sandra as they dance  to the Animals at the Corn Exchange on Saturday night and order coffee in the Orpheus while they listen to Hi-Heel Sneakers by Tommy Tucker on the juke box.

juke box

Linda and Sandra are looking for a future away from the estate.  Sandra dreams that hers will be with Danny, a petty criminal.  She and Linda visit the local magistrates’ court, Wormwood Scrubs prison, the Wethersfield USAF airbase, and Littlewoods cafeteria in Oxford Street.       And then there’s Sylvie the Bohemian who lives down the road, who has been to Paris and is now the mother of an illegitimate son.  She needs help too, to find the baby’s father.  Beyond the Beehive captures the essence of the Sixties – Motown, milk bars, CND and the Vietnam war.

And the final preparations for the book are underway!

You may remember that Christine Wilkinson designed the cover of A Sense of Occasion.  It was an onerous task – one which began in the cafe of a bookshop – the proximity to literature was an artistic necessity – followed by a Betty Crocker cake-making session with black and white photography to get us into the 60s mood.  It must be underlined that the three eggs required in a Betty Crocker mix were a luxury on their own before the exorbitant price of the mix.  My dear old mum knew that a Viota cake mix provided all you could need in a cake.

So this is the way the artistic process works.

Chris took many photos,

  A Sense of Occasion 004

A Sense of Occasion 017 (1)   A Sense of Occasion 013 (1)   A Sense of Occasion 015 (1)

we baked a cake, we ate the cake, we listened to the Chiffons (there’s a cookery allusion in there), I dug out some old snaps – and Lo!  a cover emerged.

Christine and I met recently in the tearoom of another well-known bookstore.

Bird on a wire 005

As we sat at the window, overlooking  Jermyn Street with its parade of fancy dressers, our order of a pot of English Breakfast tea for two and a slice of lemon drizzle cake in front of us, once more the ambiance of quiet study and powerful prose made for a productive session.    We talked colours – those mod colours, navy, maroon, bottle green.  We discussed the style.  We discussed the font.  We have a framework.

And next Saturday we shall mooch into Soho with our fabulous model and start the search for the perfect cover.  With necessary breaks for frothy coffee and possibly Horlicks.

No never Horlicks.

More news as it happens.