Saturday, 3 December 2011

Books in danger on way to Monks Cross

When author and agent arrived for the book signing at WH Smith, Monks Cross, York, it should have been to a heap of books ready-delivered from the distributors. The hitch that had delayed the arrival of the stock is covered in a previous blog.

Monks Cross has its own car-park, but the shopping centre covers a vast acreage - 100, 200, I'm not sure. The fact there were no spaces near WH Smith was a good omen for a book signing. However, the books had to make it unscathed from car to shop and the borrowed sack barrow now had three reliable wheels and one that had lost its sprocket, pin, or whatever the thing is that keeps the wheel on the axle (as related in previous blog).

Loss of the wheel was not an option whilst the barrow was loaded. It turned out that it took the length of three author steps for the wheel to work its way to the dangerously-close end of the axle. So with the agent manoeuvring the barrow, the author fell into a rhythm of three steps, skip and a sideways kick. A kind of grotesque parody of Strictly.

By this means, the books were delivered in pristine condition. Store manager Tom matched the special 3-book deal in other branches and we sold the first full set of three before the books were properly stacked on the table. Again, the time flew by in conversation with all the people who approached (or were strong-armed to) the table. One of those who came along was York author, Joan Emery, whose pen has been stilled for a few years by a bout of ill-health. She's back at her keyboard now, so watch out for her name popping up on the shelves again.

There's something that happens when I sign crime novels in a branch of WHS - the law takes a keen interest.

We slipped under the radar in Coney Street, but they caught up with us here. 'Mayhem across the York area...? Out of control sack barrow...? Not us, officer. Clear case of mistaken identity. We're just quietly signing and selling books.' A pleasingly high number again. Thank you to Tom and Matthew in the store and hoping that all new readers enjoy their purchases.

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