Today I took a trip into a land far away; a place I know about but never visit. Edinburgh is the literary capital of Scotland (and the literal capital of Scotland) and I’m hardly ever in the place! The last time I went to Edinburgh, it was to see Mamma Mia – I was accompanied by a woman with a psychic ability to detect pubs. The day was a horror movie with great scenery! This time it would be different. Dressed to impress, I ventured by train into the city centre. On board the train, a nice wee conductor came over and said:
“Do you want to go first class?”
Ha. Do I want to go first class? Ha. Ha. HA. Does a nun’s ass flash at high mass?
“Yes,” I whispered, “that would be lovely.”
“Okay son,” he replied. Son? Could this man really be my long lost biological dad?
Of course not! He was just being friendly!
It didn’t take long for me to reach Edinbrugh – it turns out I don’t live that far away from it – and once I left the platform I stumbled upon this remarkable sight:
“What is it?” I gasped. “It looks like Skeletor’s back-up castle.”
I went shopping and found Fopp. Thank goodness. Then I went to Waterstones. I had some lunch. Then I used my amazing phone to navigate myself around roads, streets, walls, gargoyles and students. But then the shocker! My sat nav played a cruel trick on me. Instead of sending me to Looking Glass Books – my ultimate destination – it put me inside a branch of Nandos! I looked at my phone and muttered:
“You nasty bitch.”
Eventually I found myself in Leith next to Edinburgh University and a graveyard. This particular graveyard is protected by a guardian. I caught the guardian in a photograph:
It wasn’t long until I found Looking Glass Books. AT LAST.
NOTE: As a new author (yes, I can now officially call myself an author) I have to get out there and promote myself as persistently as possible. Luckily I’m a shameless self-promoter. It’s terrible but I set up a detective agency when I was ten years old. It was even branded with my name. My detective agency was called K’s Clue Clan. Yes, even my sleuthing agency had my name in it! Or at least the first letter of it. So as someone with a novel to promote, I need to do things that gets me out there without compromising my core values. I want to promote in cool places. Quirky venues. Fabulous studios. Wonderful theatres. Pubs with Irn-Bru behind the bar. Indie bookshops with fabulous decor. Anyone who will have me!
It is with this in mind that I found Looking Glass Books during a stalkerish online search. I knew from the photographs that I had to do something at this shop. It looked like The Bookworm’s hideout from his 60s Batman episode – a very underrated two-parter in which the Dynamic Duo are nearly crushed to death inside a giant book. One problem: Looking Glass Books have hundreds of writers trying to breach the walls and they turn 98% of them down so they can focus on writers and personalities they’re passionate about. Eeeek. I contacted them, made them giggle, then received an invite to visit. This was my chance! But I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had a chance to get my hair cut into a nice shape. Bah.
I pushed the glass door open and looked inside…and it was wonderful.
“Love me, love me, love me!” I muttered, a spell to force the magick to happen.
In all seriousness now, it is a place you must visit because it contains everything you want from an indie bookshop. It’s quirky and odd and cozy and they have a handpicked selection of fiction and non-fiction for the discerning reader. I’m going to be there for a gig on August 15th – they said YES of course – and with luck you’ll come and see me. Buy a copy of Conjuring The Infinite while you’re at it. Then take a look around Edinburgh and maybe you’ll find a graveyard or a bookshop or a branch of Nandos!
PS The soup is lovely.