Turn the Page at Doncaster Literary Festival was my final Read Regional event today and marks the end of a wonderful year travelling around the north of England. The whole point of the Read Regional campaign was to promote and connect local readers to books by local authors.
During my journey across libraries and book festivals in the north, it came as no surprise that people enjoy reading books by local writers because they have told me so - both face to face and in letters I've received on my website.
My Kate Daniels series is set in and around Newcastle and Northumberland. I've always thought that setting is as important as any character in a book and it seems that readers agree with me. They love it when they recognise the streets and buildings familiar to them. So, while I'm on the subject of northern setting let me introduce you to my fellow Read Regional author, Russ Litten.
During Read Regional I was frequently paired with Russ, a wonderful author whose first book Scream If You Want To Go Faster is set in Hull. I've heard him read from it on numerous occasions and, if you like northern settings, you should go out and buy it. His second book Swear Down is a crime novel set in the south - we are now in competition! - but I won't hold that against him.
I'd not met Russ before this campaign but it has been my absolute pleasure to work with him. I'm sure he would agree that it's been a blast discussing our different routes to publication, our books and writing in general. We've touched on poetry, short stories and screenwriting that have all played a part in our early writing careers. We've been asked many questions about how we write, plan, plot - where we get our inspiration from.
We've talked to many aspiring writers trying to find their own voice, seeking help about agents and the publishing industry . . . and we hope that, in some small way, we've given them good advice. There is life after rejection for those who keep the faith and are brave enough to share their work to others.
I'd just like to end by acknowledging New Writing North who organise the Read Regional campaign and support local writers. Thank you for giving me this wonderful opportunity to connect with local people and spread the word about my books. I've met many lovely people along the way, librarians and library assistants, writers, readers and Russ.
This post will also appear on the Read Regional blog.