Sunday, 30 August 2009

Slowly but surely

It's just over 3 weeks since I received my copies of the book and I've sold about a sixth of my quota to date. There's a charity coffee morning launch on the 23rd September and I'm just waiting for confirmation of a launch at Waterstones in Argyle Street, Glasgow on Thursday the 17th September. All being well, my local library will be holding an author event too.
So, things seem to be moving slowly in the right direction. The book seems to be in and out of the Amazon charts like a yo yo and the bookshops still haven't got copies in yet, but hopefully it won't be long.
As for feedback, amongst the comments I've had, are:
"It's great - much better than any biography. No dull details, no cheap gossip. Captures beautifully the times, the atmosphere and most of all - Ian's personality. A book not only for those who loved and admired Ian, but for any theatre lovers. Wonderful. " - Israela Shatsky-Greenbaum
"I enjoyed it very much - he certainly was a fascinating character, and so well regarded by his fellow actors. Celia Imrie talks about the naughty glint in his eye, so I looked again at the front cover - and she's right!" - Dr Ann MacLaren
And it has prompted Doug from York, who described it as 'excellent', to buy the House of Cards Series on DVD - which delighted me, as part of the reason for writing the book, was to remind people that there' s a wealth of superb performances available to be viewed.
Now all I need is some positive national press coverage.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Released at Last

The book was released today - a couple of weeks or so ahead of schedule.

It would be nice to think that, 2 years and 4 months on, my task has been accomplished. Indeed, you might very well think that my work is now done. There is at last a first book available on Ian and my goal to do something tangible to honour his memory and give people a sense of how highly he was regarded both as an actor and as a person and what he meant to so many, has been achieved.

However, there is still a lot to be done to promote the book and make people aware that it is out there. I'll certainly try my best to succeed.

As Ian said to me in our first exchange of letters in January 1994, 'Onwards and Upwards!'

Sunday, 16 August 2009

A Teddy Bear Tale

When I travelled down to Derbyshire just over a week ago to attend The Writers' Summer School , I took one teddy bear, Cuddles, with me. I only took him because there were two bears in attendance last year and they both assisted with courses. Also, I'd also promised Cuddles that he'd meet up with Buttons (below on right)

and Maple, who proved to be a great course assistant to his owner, Zana Lamont.

As I mentioned in my last Blog, an inaugural Teddy Bears' Picnic was organised and on Wednesday, Cuddles joined 11 other bears for a party. Indeed, he and Buttons were chosen as team captains whilst bear owners took part in a relay race.

Before our picnic, the Bears lined up for a photoshoot

And then let their owners join them.

After a lovely picnic of ginger beer, little jam sandwiches, baby biscuits and (naturally) honey, all the owners had a lucky dip and each received a parcel containing a brand new bear.

I got a lovely yellow teddy, I've called Mellow and she and Cuddles instantly hit it off. In fact, they hit it off so well, that by the next day, I got a third teddy bear - a lovely little fellow I've named Nick Swan. And I thought that rabbits were quick breeders!

True, some of my friends presented Nick to me on Thursday evening as a 'thank you' for the course I'd run. But in truth, I think that was a cover-up to try and save Mellow's reputation. And it appears that Nick is a very special bear, because within a couple of hours of entering my life, I won the raffle for a free place at next year's summer school (the second time I've had lucky tickets in 4 years). I reckon Nick must have brought me the good luck.

So, having set off with Cuddles, just under a week later, I returned home with a readymade teddy bear family.

And they're all looking forward to next year's Writers' Summer School Teddy Bears' Picnic.

You don't have to be on the 'mad' side to be a writer - but it helps.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Cuddles makes a friend

In my last Blog, I mentioned that Cuddles, my extremely huggable Teddy Bear, is with me here at The Swanwick Writers' Summer School for the first time, having being adopted by me en route home from last year's school.

Well, I had a little gathering of friends in my huge three-bedded room before dinner yesterday to herald the arrival of We Could Possibly Comment - Ian Richardson Remembered

and as well as having the pleasure of signing a copy for friend and author of 41 books, Margaret Thomson Davis,

Cuddles (below, left) made a friend -Buttons the Bear, who had been brought along by his 'Mum', writer and dramatist, Joyce Ward. Whilst the mostly female gathering was knocking back the wine, the two bears were having a great time together and even agreed to have their photo taken with me (anything for a bit of publicity).

Apparently, there are several bears in attendance at Swanwick this year and a Teddy Bear Picnic will hopefully be arranged later in the week.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

The Book has Landed

After much angst and a plethora of phone calls and Emails, the books finally arrived yesterday and I've already dispatched a few orders abroad.
What was my feeling when I saw the huge truck trying to find the building I live in? Initially, huge excitement, as I ran down the stairs to greet the driver. Then sheer exhaustion, as I mopped up the perspiration after bringing books up to my top-floor flat. Then panic, as I scrambled to get the few books I really needed to get sent to arrive by today ready. Then puzzlement, as I sat down to sign my first book - what the heck will I write and where. Now, the feeling is one of relief tinged with the sadness of knowing that my first book is this particular book because Ian is no longer with us.

In the end, I had to cart most of the order - some having been sent direct to the Hayes Conference Centre in Swanwick and two boxes going straight into the car - up the stairs.

I'm heading down the motorway to Derbyshire in a couple of hours with my regular Swanwick passenger, prolific author, Margaret Thomson Davis. Hopefully there will just about be enough room in the car for the two of us and all our luggage, including two large suitcases, my books, Margaret's books for sale, flyers, lots of material for the non-fiction course I'm running at the Writers' Summer School, and some refreshments for a pre-dinner little launch party.

With a bit of luck, there might just be room for Cuddles

We Could Possibly Comment - Ian Richardson Remembered - should be in the shops by the 7th September.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Almost There

Hopefully this time next week I'll be happily settled in at Swanwick and might even have sold one or two books in the Summer School bookshop.

Barring disaster, my copies should reach me towards the end of the coming week, in advance of the official publication date, 7th September, when We Could Possibly Comment - Ian Richardson Remembered becomes available in bookshops. I've already received direct orders from abroad - thanks to PayPal - and hope to dispatch them as soon as possible after my consignment arrives in Glasgow.

Flyers and bookmarks have been ordered -

In the next month and beyond, the next phase will begin - contacting newspapers and revisiting bookshops and there's already a booking with a charity organisation for a coffee morning launch in September.

It's rather fortuitous that the Yesterday Channel have been showing the House of Cards series on Saturdays.

Wouldn't it be nice if some of the other great series Ian was in Ian Richardson - IMDB could be shown again too.