Wow! What a week it has been! We're now settled back home in Caithness, but last week we were dashing from one school to the next to conduct workshops. Each of the schools had something amazing to offer and I loved every second of it. That is, once I'd plucked up the courage to actually get out of the car!
The nerves didn't settle down until we were driving back north. Even then, niggling feelings of doubt were clawing at me. "What if they don't like my book?" "Oh no, I should have done this differently."
Rather than nattering about the multitude of events, I have compiled a photo diary of our time on the Taking Wing Book Tour. Of course, there are very few pictures of the school events because, well, it's a school! One school shared their photos publicly some one of these is included...
The trip started off well, leaving Mum with a copy of Taking Wing. Here's Mum - supportive as ever!
Here we are - arrived at the Guest House in Barnetby, North Lincolnshire!
Me (left), Judith and Ginny all tired from our journey...but we ain't seen nothing yet!
Soaring temperatures, no cooling wind and all other things that we weren't used to, having lived in Northern Scotland for 10 years!
Now for the School Workshop preparation. My initial plan was for the children to cut up and spoon out the oranges themselves, but it proved harder than I thought.
So...the evening before the workshop saw me in the pokey bathroom of the Guest House, hollowing out 20 oranges. The cleaners must have just loved us the following the morning!
Here I am at one of the schools I visited! Teacher training set me up nicely for the little challenges, and the children were amazing!
This workshop was about plotting stories, and involved creating a board game of plot twists. The children then had to play the game and write down what twists they landed on.
I nabbed the idea off a fellow probationer last year. Thanks, Hildy!
On Thursday evening, we made our way over to Brigg to an event at The Rabbit Hole bookshop. This bookshop was nothing short of AMAZING and you'll be hearing a lot more about it as the gallery moves on!
Before we got there, however, we stopped off at Memory Lane. When we were little birdlings, we used to go to the auctions at Brigg. Well, I never liked the auction as I had no money, so Dad would take me and Jude into town. We'd walk past these owls and go and get one of those pretend ice creams. You know - the marshmallows in an ice cone!
The owls are still there, but we couldn't find the bakery where we used to go.
Those of you who know Taking Wing will know how instrumental owls are to the plot!
When we got to The Rabbit Hole, we had a lovely surprise waiting for us! Not only was there a really lovely window display, the children at their book club had made a wonderful banner to say hello!
I simply had to have a promo picture taken in front of it!
That evening event was an absolute delight and we met some wonderful people, including the ladies from Daisa & Co. Independent Publishers.
It was a great night of good chat and networking. Not the painstaking networking that doesn't come naturally, but just a group of like-minded people with similar interests.
THEN CAME THE OFFICIAL BOOK LAUNCH EVENT
I could not believe, and still can't, how many people arrived. People who I didn't know at all! And so many children! I loved the event so much - it will remain a very special memory for me for years and years to come! The Rabbit Hole Bookshop were fantastic and it was a perfect venue for a memorable event!
One of the highlights of the evening was one child had drawn a picture of a raven, and written an astonishing poem, after hearing the first two chapters of my book! This meant so much to me, and I'm planning on framing both the picture and the poem and putting them somewhere safe and special!
A great part of the event was being able to see friends again from North Lincolnshire. Here I am with Caroline - a very good friend from Barrow! You can see how happy I am by the amazing ginormous double triple chin!
Finally, it was over. No more school visits, no more evening events. We had our first sit-down meal in 5 days, and were too exhausted to talk much about it!
The following morning, we left North Lincolnshire and began the journey back home, stopping off near Berwick. As we arrived early, we went across to Lindisfarne. This meant a lot as the history of Lindisfarne is very much centred in Anglo-Saxon history. It is this period of history which inspired Taking Wing. It seemed a fitting way to end what had been a magical journey!
Taking Wing is available from The Rabbit Hole bookshop in Brigg, and from Amazon for readers outwith Lincolnshire. Amazingly, during its first week of publication, Taking Wing has made it to #8 on the Amazon bestseller lists!