It’s been quite a while and quite a lot happening since my last post. Firstly, I had a fantastic visit to Australia over Christmas and New Year, mainly to visit family but also for some book events.
It was a challenge to persuade book shops to take in an unknown and non-local author in the middle of the summer holidays, but three cheers to BookTalk Café in Richmond for welcoming me. I spent several happy hours there one Saturday with my family and a bunch of friends, chattering, drinking coffee, eating lunch and – oh yes – selling and signing a few books.
I also enjoyed a wonderful gathering of people from Woodstock School, India, at the very delicious Okra Restaurant in East Hawthorne. Some of these folk included childhood friends that I hadn’t seen in over twenty years and a young man who played Puck when I directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Woodstock in 1992. There were also some senior gentlemen there whose tales of several days (and nights!) train travel to school across India at very young ages – without adults – were hair raising! As the book is set in Mussoorie (and features a school suspiciously like Woodstock) the group were particularly interested and snapped up the available copies.
Then, my brother and sister-in-law generously hosted a BBQ in their home for a group who used to attend the same inner city church in the early nineties. It was very special to see these people again and to catch up on one another’s lives and yes, some of these kind folk also forked out for a book. (Nothing like sausages and beer to soften up the customers!)
The final book hang-out was with a handful of very good buddies from my old teacher’s college, Rusden. We were all in the Drama course together and have gone on to a variety of weird and wonderful things (as might be expected) from teaching to curating a photography collection to training in business skills and, in my case, writing. We’ve all kept a toe in drama of one sort or another and – more importantly – kept in touch. Here we are dangling from an old Melbourne tram in Wattle Park.
Since getting back to Scotland I have been busy with the usual juggle of family life, two days a week at the high school library, working on the next novel and promoting the last one. The hardback of Askival sold out and to celebrate the release of the paperback in May, we decided to visit the Island of Rum and climb its highest mountain: Askival. (Teaser: the book explains why a house in a north Indian hill station bears that name.) Despite wind and lashing rain on the days either side of our visit, we were blessed with gorgeous sunshine for the walk and stunning views at the top. For a fun twist, I decided to leave a copy (in a weather-proof box!) under a stone at the top with a message asking the finder to read it, pass it on and record the journey on the BookCrossing website where I had registered it. Wonderfully, a woman found it a few days later and got in touch! You can follow the book’s journey here: Bookcrossing.com
Having had such a great time peddling my book around Melbourne I decided to do the whole thing again – in North America! The idea started when the Friends of Woodstock School organisation invited me to be a guest speaker at their annual reunion in St Paul, Minnesota, this July. Thrilled to accept I decided to throw in three more cities – Boston, Chicago and Toronto – and immediately sent myself into a tail-spin trying to organise it all. Once again, bookstores were slow to see the point of an unknown, non-local author turning up in the summer holidays, but I managed to persuade a few and have been blessed by kind friends and Woodstock connections hosting events as well. So, the organising is nearly done and I fly off on the 4th of July, looking forward to being welcomed with fireworks! The full itinerary is at www.merrynglover.com/north-america-tour/ – do feel free to forward this link to anyone who might be in these areas and interested to attend. All very welcome.
My next post will tell you how it all went!
Thanks for being on board,