The Preston signing report.

We got to Preston a little later than expected because of a mishap with the air pump at the local garage. I was checking the tyre pressures, and discovered that the first one was at only a quarter of its proper pressure. I duly pumped it up, and was surprised that it seemed to be taking a lot. It wasn’t like I could hear air leaking. It was then that the heat from my hand melted the ice on the gauge, and it flicked from 20PSI to 65PSI in one go. Ooops; especially as the tyre is supposed to run at 40PSI and has a maximum safe pressure of 50PSI. I let the air out, but I’m glad that it is a tyre that I’ll be replacing for a new one soon.

We still got to the Waterstones on time, but not with much time to spare. We had to park in our secret free parking location which was about twenty minutes’ walk away, which din’t help, but it was all right in the end. They put us to work immediately at the signing table by the door where I was pleasantly surprised to see that they had sold a few copies over the last week or so. That’s always a good start.

Preston was a tough crowd yesterday. I signed no books for the first two hours and that’s a pretty poor record to take. We even tried moving the table around, but to no avail. It’s a real sinking feeling when no-one is interested in stopping to take a look, made worse by a mound of books smiling on the table in front of you. At a shop that we had never been to before too.

Luckily the lunchtime crowd were different and the signings turned from nothing to a lot in the space of an hour. It was actually quite amazing, and I beat my hourly signing record at around 3:00pm. I also had an interesting experience with one person who stopped for a chat and to take a look at the book. I knew that I recognised him, but couldn’t place him. He was a large fellow, with a serious expression as if thinking deeply about everything. He asked if I was a local author, asked about the writing process; how long it all took. He then asked me about how long a book took to plan out. He was a very pleasant chap; very polite. All the time I’m thinking “Where do I know him from”. He wished me the best of luck, we shook hands, then he left the shop. I then discovered from the shop’s manager who had been close by that I had spoken to and shaken the hand of Lenny Henry. I can only assume that he was doing a show somewhere in Preston that evening.

We finished at 5:00pm with every copy signed. It’s always nice to be at that stage. We’ve been told we can come back again, and will hopefully arrange something in April this year. Afterwards we tottered off to a coffee café (that’s hard to say I guess if drunk) and had a cuppa and a chat before having a browse of the shops. I don’t get a chance during the day, so it’s nice to take a look just before they close.

We were off to a friend’s 50th birthday party in Chorley that evening, so headed straight down there and had a really good night. Happy birthday Malcolm! It was an excellent party and the perfect way to wind down from a busy day.

Next stop on the tour is currently booked as Wigan Waterstones on the 19th of February; I get a couple of weekends to myself again. I’m going to be concentrating on the meantime with finishing off the Kindle edition of ‘Orb of Arawaan’ which should also be a prelude to it becoming at some point the first of my back catalogue to be reprinted for a hard edition. However, the follow-up to ‘Bringing home the stars’ will appear in hard copy before it.

Many thanks to all of you who continue to support me and my work!