World Book Day is over for another year! But we authors have a brilliant ability to make one day last for an entire week. Yes, World Book Day gives us a week of events to wow and dazzle our readers with a marvellous array of live stories and ridiculous outfits. Ah, well, the ‘ridiculous outfit’ bit is probably just me. I think most school libraries or theatres now expect me to turn up to events dressed like an Alien from the Planet Fabulous, which is my default setting.
I entered World Book Day (not to be confused with Book Week Scotland or World Book Week, and trust me…I’m confused enough) optimistically. I was booked for some events at the Wee Write festival, an offshoot of Glasgow’s best and biggest book festival Aye Write. It was wonderful because I’m a performer as much as I am a writer; it’s all part of the same world for me. So I got dressed, got fabulous, brought the punk spirit into existence and headed into Glasgow towards the Mitchell Library. I love the Mitchell Library. It’s one of the best libraries in the world. And I had the pleasure and honour of performing my hit book show to packed audiences.
But of course there always needs to be some sort of drama. My taxi driver got into a fight with another driver. I waved and smiled charmingly as the battle started. Afterwards I got onto the bus clad in my fur coat, waving my Kurt Cobain lunchbox in a vaguely threatening but probably quite camp manner. I heard people gasp aloud. When people react in shock to what I wear in public, I hear a standing ovation. Honestly.
When I reached Glasgow and was taken into the caring company of the librarians, I sat down in the VIP room with Barry Hutchison, Lari Don, Ross MacKenzie, and Jeff Norton. They’re all very cool people. Barry Hutchison instantly ‘got’ my Fright Zone reference, which is good because I hurl all sorts of pop culture references at people with the precision of a ninja hurling deadly shuriken.
The second day of the festival was really good and I ended up with some new live dates. I decided to dress up as a French artist, or my version of a French artist. Then I told stories about killer unicorns with an intense hate for teenagers – the plot of ENDLESS EMPRESS, actually. I signed some books and headed away from the Mitchell Library a very happy author. Before I left one teenager came over to get a free poster and she asked: “Are you real?” I thought that was funny.
“I’m so real I’m beyond real…” was my quick response. I have NO idea what that actually means though.
Tynecastle High School came the next day and I entertained a library of teens with tales of horror and new town viciousness. And stories of killer unicorns with an intense hatred for Bingo…which, incidentally, is also part of ENDLESS EMPRESS.
Tomorrow I head off to Cumbernauld Theatre to finalise some details about my forthcoming YA book festival Yay! YA+ and there’s plenty more live dates to come. I’m writing as much and as often as possible. My new book is out in…Well, that would be giving it all away far too soon.
You’ll know when the time is right and my short movie is finished!
Why announce a book title on Twitter when you can do it via a mini movie?
I appeared on BBC Radio Scotland’s Culture Studio just over a week ago, which was an absolute dreamy experience. I was bloody terrified beforehand, but Janice Forsyth made me feel like an old friend and I suppose we just chatted away as I would in the company of others. I think I came across quite well.