THE YEAR I FINALLY DID SOMETHING

2019 was the year I finally did something. With my writing, I mean. I also had a(nother) baby, but luckily for you, dear reader, that’s not what this blog is about. Seeing lots of end of year/decade round-ups on my timeline I thought I should really mark the year of my debut somehow, so here we go…

Reviews

I’ll preface this by saying that random reviews from readers on Amazon, Good Reads, social media etc. are the best thing ever. When I find reviews from people I don’t know I’m always tempted to get in touch with them to thank them, but they might think I’m strange. They’d be right, to be fair. Friends, family, general well-wishers – thank you so much for taking the time to give me your thoughts.

Once again, thank you so much to everyone I approached to review The Raven Wheel. I know I’m always posting these quotes from the journalists I sent my advance copies to, but this round-up is a legitimate excuse to post them again:

Following her review of my novel I was overwhelmed to be included in Jackie Law’s Annual Roundup as one of her ‘Books of 2019‘. Jackie is a prolific reader and reviewer so to make this list was a real highlight.

My blog tour went a bit wonky after the books we sent abroad got held up in customs forever BUT the bloggers have been so nice and have agreed to still review when the books finally arrive. A few highlights from the tour are below, starting with an extract from my favourite:

You can read Kelly’s full review on instagram here: @contraryreader she also ran a giveaway competition for The Raven Wheel and I’m so thankful to everyone who entered. Kelly was my first post-publication reviewer and her words meant so much to me, I’m forever in her debt.

Rosy posted a beautiful review and mentioned me in a couple of her YouTube videos, which I’m really grateful for. You can read her review here: @sparklesoflight

Thanks so much to Cen for her review and her moral support! You can read Cen’s review here: @cen_sational_reads

Coverage

A few highlights from The Raven Wheel’s coverage in print and digital media…

I had a double-page spread in the Sheffield Star! Many thanks to Richard Blackledge for managing to decipher some sense from my nervous ramblings. The link isn’t live any more but you can see the promo it had on the front page below- I hope you appreciate the professional highlighting I’ve added.

Richard also got my interview in the Yorkshire Post, where I shared a page with Lenny Henry and was rather starstruck by the whole thing.

I was also on BBC Radio Sheffield, with Rony Robinson. This was my first broadcast interview so I was absolutely terrified, but Rony was so lovely and it was nowhere near as traumatic as I expected. You can listen to the interview here.

I am massively grateful to Emma Yates-Badley, the Literary Editor of Northern Soul, for reviewing my book . Northern Soul is such a great showcase for arts and culture in the north – I was honoured to appear there.

Other lovely things

Having something to promote means you have to be active on social media – this was a scary prospect for me to begin with. I still have an ambivalent relationship with my social media profiles, but a few wonderful things have come about through forcing myself to engage with it all…

I was in a podcast! And not just any podcast, the Plastic Brain Press podcast. This happened entirely because of Instagram. Without it, I never would have started following Melody Clark and become aware of her magnificent universe. You can listen to me reading an extract from The Raven Wheel (plus a lot of other more talented people doing cool things) here. Instagram has introduced me to some kickass local artists and authors, including Grifff, The Cavern of Melody Clark, Blackbridge UK and frankly too many to list.

Thanks to Twitter, I met Erin Memmott, a journalism student from Sheffield College who @‘d me on twitter to see if she could interview me for her project. We met at the Waterstones café in the city centre and she’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever had the good fortune to talk to. In a moment of strange serendipity the chap next to us turned out to be Gregory Norminton- I gave him a copy of my book and afterwards tried to convince myself it wasn’t a deeply uncool thing to do. Anyway, here I am with the lovely Erin.

Finally, seeing my book ‘in the wild’ has been amazing. It’s been available online at all the usual places but it’s SO HARD to get shelf space, especially if you don’t have an agent or a big publisher, so seeing it on the shelf of a real shop is just magic. Massive thank you to Waterstones Hanley for tweeting the first photo (below) and Waterstones Deansgate for humouring me when I turned up, found my book then asked them how on earth it came to be there (answer: still not entirely sure).

Thank you thank you thank you

I couldn’t end my review of the year without thanking my long-suffering family, everyone at The Book Guild, Claire Maxwell, Shemina Davis, Bozz and of course ‘him indoors’ Oliver for putting up with me through my long, long road to publication. You’re a gem.

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