Later this year, the first Byrd novel hits the shelves. The following is a short extract from chapter 2… Enjoy
Friday 2nd November, 1900
A shy unassuming man, who was wearing a clerk’s suit complete with a bowler hat, caught the noon train to Brighton. Aged about 40, he positioned himself in the corner seat of a second class carriage, and stared out of the window at the passing scenery. Every so often, he would look at his well-worn half hunter, and note something down in the pages of a little black notebook; but otherwise he was no trouble to the people who travelled with him from London. When the train entered the tunnel the man tensed, and a motherly lady with big hips and loud breathing, patted him gently on the arm, and made soothing noises. He thanked her, in a whisper, and continued to sit upright until the tunnel section of the journey was complete. Then with a sigh, he leaned back against the seat and closed his eyes (to all intents and purposes) worn out after his nervous display. And thus he stayed, until ten minutes before the locomotive was due to pull in to Brighton, when the carriage was disturbed by the conductor.
“Mr. Sampson?” The shy man jumped, dislodging the bowler from his lap and sending it to the floor.
“The earl requests you attend him in First, sir.”
“Yes… Yes… Thank you.” The man rescued his hat from the motherly lady (who had swooped eagle like to pick it up) and stood up. Making his apologies, he made his way out of the carriage and down the corridor.
At the station, the motherly woman looked out for the shy man amongst Earl Byrd’s very noticeable entourage. But while she could see a burly porter pushing a trolley laden with cases; a ramrod backed valet (who had clearly seen military service); and an efficient looking secretary with grey hair and a hatchet nose; there was no sign of the shy man. Instead of looking perturbed by his absence, the motherly woman grinned and hobbled her way to the ladies cloakroom, where an attendant later found a pair of boots stuffed with newspaper.
Yesterday I went south of the river. It was fine. I survived. It wasn’t a friday night and I wasn’t in a taxi.
It was my first craft fair held in the heritage quarter of Gravesend in the Three Daws function room. There was a gentle stream of people, mouching around – buying the odd bit; talking about this and that -mainly about how quiet town was.
Since our first book fair – we’ve been speculating to acumulate. For the first time we had a banner and a locations videoin addition to our bookmarks. I even thought about including a sheet of reviews It drew interest. People came over; and I was able to talk about the books in terms why it had short chapters and different narrators.
I sold books: to complete strangers. Always the sign of a good day. Contacts were made for other fairs that side of the river.
Agatha Christie I may not yet be – until Symington goes viral on publication next year, that is! (Cue Twilight Zone special effects) but I didn’t go into this book writing lark to make money. I went into it to ensure that Mark and Lucy and Symington and Emily’s stories were told, and that people read them.
SWANS will be hosting an event at The Forum, Southend on 28th March between 10 and 4pm. Here’s your chance to find out more about Southend’s local authors; see us at work (well I’ll be using the day to do some editing) and buy any of our books that take your fancy. Click here for more details.