Orenda Roadshows 2020 – A Preview

Today it is time to look back at the 2019 Orenda Roadshow in Birmingham, the last of the roadshows that I attended – so far … Being a very local event to me, it made absolutely no sense to miss it, and it would have been terribly rude too. So I didn’t. I joined Mandie and our colleague and friend Lou and jumped on the train to Brum ready for another dose of bookish awesomeness. And to get you all in the mood for the upcoming roadshows which happen in just TWO WEEKS TIME, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at what happens when #TeamOrenda get together.

The Orenda Roadshow 2020 Wirral Edition

Now just in case you are wondering what an Orenda Roadshow is (and if you are, where have you been for the past three weeks?), or you are wondering if it is something you should attend, let me enlighten you as to why, yes, you really need to be there. The Orenda Roadshow is like a book launch of event but on steroids. A nationwide touring celebration of all things Orenda where you will find the largest number of authors in any one place, outside of a bog standard festival, talking about their books, sharing the book love and spending time with their readers. It is both informative and entertaining. Fun and a place for serious book purchasing. A little birdy (Karen) tells me there is also the chance you may be able to pick up some not yet released titles as the authors prepare for their upcoming launches. You just don’t know.

To get you all in the mood I have been sharing my previous adventures on the blog and you can find details of them all here: Liverpool 2017; London 2017; Warwick 2018; Edinburgh 2019 and read on for a glimpse of Birmingham 2019. Before we take a look at that though, Before I take you back over the highlights of the London event, here is the list of this year’s venues and the bookshops you need to stalk on Twitter and Facebook to keep abreast of the event and book your tickets.

24th February: Waterstones Glasgow
25th February: Drake the Bookshop, Stockton on Tees
26th February: Linghams Booksellers, Heswall
27th February: The Bookcase, Lowdham
28th February: Griffin Books, Penarth

Be warned though – these events are super popular so I’d recommend booking as soon as possible. Tickets are already on sale for Heswall, Stockton-on-Tees, Penarth and Glasgow so don’t delay. Book today. For those of you who are still undecided, let me tempt you some more with some info about some of the authors who will be appearing this year …

Appearing in Glasgow: David F. Ross; Doug Johnstone; Helen FitzGerald; Louise Beech; Thomas Enger; Johana Gustawsson; Simone Buchholz; Antti Tuomainen; Michael J. Malone; Matt Wesolowski ;Vanda Symon

Appearing in Stockton: Helen FitzGerald; Louise Beech; Thomas Enger; Johana Gustawsson; Simone Buchholz; Antti Tuomainen; Michael J. Malone; Matt Wesolowski; Vanda Symon; Will Carver; Kjell Ola Dahl; Helga Flatland

Appearing in Heswall: Helen FitzGerald; Louise Beech; Thomas Enger; Johana Gustawsson; Simone Buchholz; Antti Tuomainen; Michael J. Malone; Matt Wesolowski; Vanda Symon; Will Carver; Kjell Ola Dahl; Helga Flatland

Appearing in Southwell: Helen FitzGerald; Louise Beech; Thomas Enger; Johana Gustawsson; Simone Buchholz; Antti Tuomainen; Michael J. Malone; Matt Wesolowski; Vanda Symon; Will Carver; Kjell Ola Dahl; West Camel

Appearing in Penarth: Helen FitzGerald; Louise Beech; Thomas Enger; Johana Gustawsson; Simone Buchholz; Antti Tuomainen; Michael J. Malone; Matt Wesolowski; Vanda Symon; Will Carver; Kjell Ola Dahl; West Camel; Matt Johnson

The Orenda Roadshow – Birmingham

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. (subsequent to this post I managed to complete my collection in both e-book and paperback . I am very happy)

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 🙂

I know that was perhaps my most rambling post yet, but combined with the write up of Edinburgh, I think I covered the spirit of the roadshows. So, has any of this got you in the mood to join me at one of the venues. Still hoping to make it to all five at the moment so fingers crossed I will pull it off.

Have a fabulously bookish weekend, and for those of you out there facing the prospect of Storm Ciara hitting our shores, stay safe – stay inside and read instead.


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