The Orenda Roadshow – Part 2 – Birmingham @OrendaBooks

Another night, another Waterstones, this time in Birmingham, considerably closer to my home than my first Roadshow of the week. Yes – last night I was once again in attendance at the Orenda Books Roadshow, having travelled with Mandie and a colleague of ours who we are rapidly training to be another Orenda Books junkie. It was a slightly different line up of authors this time, with two new writers to hear from, and a very engaged and lively audience to ask the moderately awkward questions at the end of the evening, but still another brilliant night of bookish fun.

In case you missed it, you can find my write up (such as it is) of the Edinburgh event here. There you will find handy buying links for all of the books that were represented on the night: Doug Johnstone’s Breakers; Helen Fitzgerald’s Worst Case Scenario; Will Carver’s Good Samaritans; Lilja Sigurdardottir’s Trap; Matt Wesolowski’s Changeling; Johana Gustawsson’s Keeper; Antti Tuomainen’s Palm Beach Finland; Steph Broadribb’s Deep Dirty Truth; Kjell Ola Dahl’s The Courier; Louise Voss’s The Old You; Michael J Malone’s After He Died; Thomas Enger’s Inborn; Simone Buchholz’s Beton Rouge and David F.Ross’s Welcome To The Heady Heights.

Doug Johnstone and David F Ross didn’t make it to Birmingham, but they were replaced by two equally brilliant writers – Louise Beech and West Camel, both of whom featured in my top books of 2018 and were more than welcome additions to the line up. West was there to tell people about his absolutely beautiful book, Attend and Louise introduced the audience to her brand new, soon to be released thriller, Call Me Star Girl. Here is what they are both about.

Attend – West Camel

A beautifully written, darkly funny, mesmerisingly emotive and deliciously told debut novel with echoes of Armistead Maupin…
‘Filled with a magic that is unique and uplifting. Attend is adventurous, charming and utterly compelling’ 
Random Things through My Letterbox
‘I’ve fallen in love with this absolutely glorious, spell-binding tale’ 
As the threads of their lives unravel … they find magic under their feet…
When Sam falls in love with South London thug Derek, and Anne’s best friend Kathleen takes her own life, they discover they are linked not just by a world of drugs and revenge; they also share the friendship of the uncanny and enigmatic Deborah.
Seamstress, sailor, story-teller and self-proclaimed centenarian immortal, Deborah slowly reveals to Anne and Sam her improbable, fantastical life, the mysterious world that lies beneath their feet and, ultimately, the solution to their crises.
With echoes of Armistead Maupin and a hint of magic realism, Attend is a beautifully written, darkly funny, mesmerisingly emotive and deliciously told debut novel, rich in finely wrought characters that you will never forget.

Call Me Star Girl – Louise Beech

A taut, emotive and all-consuming psychological thriller, reminiscent of Play Misty for Me … from the critically acclaimed author of Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost…

‘Noirish psychological thriller with fascinating, disturbing characters. Compelling, twisty, and seriously addictive. EXCELLENT’ 
Will Dean

‘It’s a slow burn at first until it twists and turns at a head-staggering rate to a devastating climax. Original, moody and totally gripping’ 
Claire Allan

Stirring up secrets can be deadly … especially if they’re yours…

Pregnant Victoria Valbon was brutally murdered in an alley three weeks ago – and her killer hasn’t been caught.

Tonight is Stella McKeever’s final radio show. The theme is secrets. You tell her yours, and she’ll share some of hers.

Stella might tell you about Tom, a boyfriend who likes to play games, about the mother who abandoned her, now back after fourteen years. She might tell you about the perfume bottle with the star-shaped stopper, or about her father …

What Stella really wants to know is more about the mysterious man calling the station … who says he knows who killed Victoria, and has proof.

Tonight is the night for secrets, and Stella wants to know everything…

With echoes of the Play Misty for Me, Call Me Star Girl is a taut, emotive and all-consuming psychological thriller that plays on our deepest fears, providing a stark reminder that stirring up dark secrets from the past can be deadly…

Now I *may* have picked up a couple of books while I was there. Just to complete my collection. For now. They are pretty though.

And with these two delights back home on my shelves, my Orenda signed books shelfie now looks like this …

As you can see … I still have a few books to collect. I’m working on it though, slowly but surely. And if you were in any doubt about my Orenda Books resident nutjob/stalker credentials, these are my unsigned proof shelves …

I’ll admit it. I love my Orenda Books collection. Why? Well firstly because Karen was one of the first publishers to really notice me as a blogger, and the first person to ever send me book post. All I had done was to listen to the audio of Ragnar Jonasson’s first three Ari Thor books and share my love of them with the world. Well … my one hundred followers as it was back then, but that was still pretty huge for me.

I think any book blogger will tell you that the feeling of excitement finding a package on your doorstep never gets old, but that very first envelope is always really special. And it wasn’t just an envelope that Karen sent me – it was a parcel. Four absolutely brilliant Orenda titles that had me falling deeper in love with the brand than I was already. Michael J Malone’s A Suitable Lie; Louise Beech’s The Mountain In My Shoe; Agnes Ravatn’s The Bird Tribunal and Kati Hiekkapelto’s The Exiled. Four such very different titles but totally beautiful in their own way.

And there has been no looking back since. I know from experience now that I can completely trust Orenda Books to bring me the best that there is, that I am in for a stunning reading experience each and every time I pick a book up. I don’t even bother to read the blurb 9 times out of 10. I just trust the authors to make me smile, laugh, cry, blow snot bubbles … Every emotion you can think of. I don’t just stalk these guys in real life either (sorry about that). I stalk Amazon too, periodically checking to see if any new titles are ready for pre-order. I’m covered for all books up to July right now and poised ready for the second half of the year as soon as they’re available 😉

I always try and buy a copy of the books I get signed – hate to use my ARCs – because I want to say thank you, even if it’s just a few pence, to he people who bring such colour to my life on a regular basis. I’m very fortunate to be able to do that and will continue to do so for as along as I am able to and for as long as I can afford it. I would have to say that Karen is one of the most generous people in terms of the time she gives to her authors and to their readers, and events like the Orenda Roadshow prove what a fabulous bunch of people they all are too. The passion they have for their work is infectious and the camaraderie between them is always a joy to watch and it has been a privilege being able to get to know some of them over the past couple of years. They haven’t even taken out a restraining order yet, so that’s nice 🙂

If you have the chance tonight then do head on down to Hungerford to attend the last one of the Roadshows for this week. Failing that then why not give some thought to attending Newcastle Noir in May where a good number of them will be taking part in the many panels on offer over the weekend, including Vanda Symon and Paul Hardisty who are travelling all the way from New Zealand and Australia to be there, and new to Orenda author Paul Burston too. I am so excited to see how that partnership evolves as personally I think it’s a match made in heaven.

Have a ridiculously brilliant day all. I’m off to pack. Not stalking Orenda to Hungerford (as they breathe a collective sigh of relief) but I am heading north to Crime and Publishment where poor Doug Johnstone gets to suffer me for a second time in the week, and I’ll be attempting to pretend I have any hope in hell of writing something coherent off the back of the course.

Wish me luck.


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