You know when writing a book has become real when you go on the road and start promoting it. I was fortunate enough to be invited to give a talk about Edward II at Waterstones Birmingham New Street last week. For me, this was quite a special event, because I have been visiting their bookstore since I was child. Thirty-six years later, I never imagined that I would be standing there giving a talk, not only about Edward II, but also about my first published book; something that until two years ago had only ever been a far fetched dream. It was something of a moving experience and one I had to share with the audience.
I must admit to feeling enormously privileged when it comes to meeting people who have given up their free time to hear me speak. Years spent locked away in archives, libraries and my study at home, pulling my notes together, can be a lonely, if not rewarding experience. However, having the opportunity to talk to a group of people about my work is exhilarating, especially when I get to meet individuals after the talk either at the book signing table or over coffee.
People ask the most interesting of questions and because of them I end up learning even more or deepening my own ideas, especially when my arguments are under scrutiny. It makes me really stop and think and also see things from different perspectives. The questions people ask are also really broad and diverse, and this brings such richness to the debate and my future work. If I can give any advice to those who want to write and have their work published, is always listen to those who take the time to listen to you and read your work. It can only make you a more rounded writer.
The next exciting part of this journey is to continue the road trip. Next stop are some of the 350 annual literary festivals across the country. I’m spending the next few weeks researching into where they are and which ones will have me. Hopefully some of them, so I might be coming to a town near you and would love to meet you. Keep an eye on my Facebook and Twitter, as well we fourteenthcenturyfiend.com for further information.