It would never have happened to Annie Raymond, the PI heroine of the 3 books out in paperback, being signed in York on Saturday 27 November. Wheels, both real and virtual, escaped their moorings in an attempt to upend one or both of the book signings.
WH Smith, Coney Street, to start with: we met some great people, both readers and writers. The store manager, Chris, gave us a special 3-book offer, and we ended up selling more books than ever, and certainly more than we'd hoped for given the mini disasters related below. The one regret was inadequate time to explore the store itself, which is an Aladdin's cave over two floors. However, we'll be back in the New Year.
It was the metaphorical wheel that fell off before the real one. We were alerted in a phone call a few days before the event. Stock glitch. The posters were up, customers were asking for the books, the press had shown an interest, author and agent had committed the (not so simple) itinerary to memory, but no books had been delivered and none would arrive in time.
Thank heavens for private events and that the agent was holding some stock, but it meant he had to arrive with both the author and the books. The author is self-propelling, but he had to borrow a sack barrow to transport the books. The distance between car-park and WH Smith, Coney Street, York, is short (ish) but plays out the varieties of the historical town. Steep hills, narrow gaps, cobbles, twists and turns. The loaded barrow raced along with a penetrating rattle that cleared a path through the crowds. It was the return journey, empty, bouncing back over the cobbles, steps and twists of York's streets that one of the wheels flew off.
Interlude: busy intersection; escaped wheel; author wrestling to keep 3-legged barrow in control whilst agent risked life and limb dodging traffic to rescue the fourth wheel before it was squashed. Happy ending with thankfulness for the general good-nature and tolerance of the British motorist, content to be entertained by the antics rather than annoyed at the obstruction.
And thus on to Monks Cross having a barrow with only 3 reliable wheels to transport a stack of books that must not be damaged. The question that loomed large was how close will we be able to park. The answer turned out to be 'not very'. But happy with a good event in Coney Street and unaware of the law awaiting us at Monks Cross, we set off... to be continued in next blog.