News and Events
Back from an Australian tour
I've just been all over Australia promoting Ten Rogues. It was quite an exhausting affair, taking in the Australian state capital cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart, Brisbane and Perth as well as provincial Australian cities like Warrnambool in Victoria (lovely), Townsville in Queensland (an old favourite) and Busselton in Western Australia (a new favourite). With nice symmetry I did 13 radio interviews and 13 bookshop and library talks. We just scraped home about half a step ahead of the Trump Virus lockdown.
At the time of writing I've been back home in France exactly a week. Our original plan was to fly out of Perth in Western Australia on Sunday 15 March, stay a few days in Singapore, then fly home on Thursday 19 March. However … I had an e-mail from Singapore Airlines on Friday 13 March (well, what can you expect on Friday the 13th) saying our flight from Singapore to France on Thursday 19 March had been cancelled. So we badly needed a Plan B. I started by floundering around on the telephone in Perth on Saturday morning, including 18-minutes hanging on to a mobile phone call to Singapore (which ran my poor old pay-as-you-go Australian mobile out of money) while listening to Muzak and hoping to talk to somebody, anybody. After 18 minutes of mindless Muzak I gave up and switched to the Singapore Airlines web site, which proved to be equally ineffectual. We finally decided that the best bet was to go to the airport and talk to the Singapore Airlines customer service desk. This turned out to be a good call. The Singapore Airlines staffer who answered our query was amazing. She told us that the last flight out of Singapore to CDG in the foreseeable future was that night, and the last connecting flight out of Perth to catch it left at 5:30 that afternoon., which meant being back at the airport at 3:30. It was by then a bit after one o'clock. So we raced back to our base in Perth, ate lunch and threw everything into a suitcase in the space of an hour, and fled. After that, everything worked and we got home without a hitch.
Listen to some of the radio interviews ...
Quite a few of the radio stations make items available on line. If you click on the links below, you can listen ... I wouldn't listen to them all (unless you like the sound of my telling the same story over and over!)
John Laws, 2SM Sydney, Friday 7 February
Richard Aedy, ABC Radio National, 19 February
Chris Ilsley, 6PR Perth, 20 February
One interview needs special mention. Chris Lysaght of Viva Books in Busselton, Western Australia does what he calls Carpool Book Review, a nod in the direction of James Corden's wonderful Carpool Karaoke. Chris takes you in his car on a motorised tour of Busselton while you both chat. The conversation is filmed by Chris on his iPhone. He then has his own YouTube channel where you can watch the pair of us in action. Just click on https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmBiaViTdSbi0u9UdvhzXiA for the Viva Books channel, or see my contribution alone by clicking here.
One of the joys of the Australian tour was that it offered me the opportunity to give a series of talks in bookshops and libraries, which means you get to meet actual readers.
Apart from signing their books, you also get to answer their questions, which teaches you a lot about what interests them, and particularly which aspects of your book arouse their curiosity. The picture on the right is from the shop window of the Mary Who? bookshop in Townsville, in tropical north Queensland.
I learned two interesting book trade facts in my travels: first, in Australia at least, independent bookshops are flourishing. They deserve to ... they organise 'events', and work hard at matching their stock to local needs. It was somehow telling that of the six bookshops I spoke at, only two were part of a bookselling chain: Dymocks in Busselton and Berkelouws in Mona Vale. The second interesting fact emerged in e-mails from bookshops I'd visited. I'm writing this while the Coronavirus pandemic is in full swing, and the whole world is in lockdown. However the booksellers tell me that trade is picking up. It seems that people who are locked up in their houses for an unknown stretch are stocking up on books as well as loo paper. How wonderful!
Tuesday 11 February
Fullers Bookshop, 131 Collins Street, Hobart, Tasmania
Tuesday, 18 February
Chatswood RSL Club, 446 Victoria Avenue, Chatswood
This wasn't strictly a bookshop talk,. It was delivered to Sydney members of the Naval Historical Society of Australia and it was about the Japanese midget submarine raid, the subject of my book A Very Rude Awakening. The talk was also an opportunity to show the DVD of A Very Rude Awakening (which you can read about by clicking on the DVDs link either here or above.) Gary Jackson and I managed to sell a few of the DVDs. We even sold a few copies of Ten Rogues.
Tuesday 25 February
Berkelouw's Booshop, 12-14 Park Street, Mona Vale, New South Wales
Wednesday, 26 February
Avid Reader, 193 Boundary Street, West End, Queensland
Thursday, 27 February
Mary Who? Bookshop, 414 Flinders Street, Townsville, Queensland
Wednesday, 11 March
Boffins Bookshop, 88 William Street, Perth, Western Australia
Thursday, 12 March
Dymocks Bookshop, 48 Prince Street, Busselton, Western Australia
As well as bookshops I gave a string of talks in libraries all over Australia. Here's a list, with links to their web sites.
Wednesday 12 February
Warrnambool Public Library, 25 Liebig Street, Warrnambool, Victoria
Monday 17 February
Balmain Library, 370 Darling Street, Balmain, New South Wales
Wednesday 19 February
Ryde Library, 1 Pope Street, Ryde, New South Wales
Thursday 20 February
Thomas Keneally Library, 280 Pitt Street, Sydney
Friday 21 February
Hornsby Library, 28-44 George Street, Hornsby, New South Wales
Monday 24 February
Canada Bay Library, 4-12 Garfield Street, Five Dock, New South Wales
Wednesday 11 March
City of Perth Library, 573 Hay Street, Perth, Western Australia
(this talk was sponsored and arranged by Boffins Bookshop)