A Year of Orenda – The Orenda Roadshow – Day One: Glasgow

And so it begins … Day one of the Orenda Roadshows has come and gone and what a start they got off to. I would love to say that my write ups this. week will be as fun, entertaining and full of hilarity as the events themselves but I would have to lie to you, my (one – singular) reader. And to be fair – I sat near the back of a busy room last night and my pictures suck so … hey ho.

The crowds await the authors in a busy Waterstones Sauchiehall Street

After a brief safety announcement, and as is typical of the format of these evenings, Karen Sullivan – Mamma Orenda – opened up proceedings by giving an introduction to each of her authors in turn and allowing them the opportunity to introduce their latest novels. For some of them it really was a case of the books being hot off the press as several of the titles haven’t even been officially released in paperback yet! A real treat there for anyone lucky enough to bag a copy last night.

Attending this session were eleven fabulous authors, namely – Doug Johnstone (A Dark Matter); Helen Fitzgerald (Ash Mountain); Vanda Symon (Containment); Louise Beech (I Am Dust); Johana Gustawsson (Blood Song); Matt Wesolowski (Beast); Simone Buchholz (Mexico Street); Antti Tuomainen (Little Siberia); Michael J Malone (In The Absence of Miracles); Thomas Enger (Death Deserved) and David F. Ross (Welcome to the Heady Heights).

Now this was the only night of the tour that Doug Johnstone and David F. Ross will be in attendance, but lucky for the crowd who gathered we were treated to some brilliant readings from the pair. Doug J read from a passage in A Dark Matter where Dorothy was thinking about the recent ‘cremation’ of her husband, and David gave a reading from the end of Welcome to the Heady Heights (the best book ever written don’t you know?), largely because the end was the only really non sweary bit. He also confirmed that he has future plans for Archie Blunt which I am sure many readers will be glad to hear (although it may have been news to Karen …!)

Fabulous readings were given by all of the authors, ranging from descriptions of a sea bound body recovery, reconnections between old lovers, reminiscences about the golden days of theatre, of speeding along the streets of a small Finnish town, a scene in which a murderer is about to claim their latest victim, right through to the execution of a new mother in Franco Spain. It was quite a mixture and just demonstrated what a rich and diverse group of authors Orenda Books has. We had laughter, surprises, ewws and ahhhs. And not all of those ahhhs were for Thomas Enger (although a good few were, hey Mary 😉…).

Now I don’t want to inundate you all, all week with the same info (there are a large number of authors who will be at every roadshow after all), so to give you a flavour of each panel, I’ll be spotlighting a few authors a day. Today, as yesterday’s was the only Scottish leg of the tour, it’s time to say hello to out trio of Scottish authors – Doug Johnstone, David F. Ross and Michael J Malone. You can even do your own author reading by following the handy ‘Read Now’ links to Amazon below.

A Dark Matter – Doug Johnstone

Meet the Skelfs: well-known Edinburgh family, proprietors of a long-established funeral-home business, and private investigators…

When patriarch Jim dies, it’s left to his wife Dorothy, daughter Jenny and granddaughter Hannah to take charge of both businesses, kicking off an unexpected series of events.

Dorothy discovers mysterious payments to another woman, suggesting that Jim wasn’t the husband she thought he was. Hannah’s best friend Mel has vanished from university, and the simple adultery case that Jenny takes on leads to something stranger and far darker than any of them could have imagined.

As the women struggle to come to terms with their grief, and the demands of the business threaten to overwhelm them, secrets from the past emerge, which change everything…

A compelling, tense and shocking thriller and a darkly funny and warm portrait of a family in turmoil, A Dark Matter introduces a cast of unforgettable characters, marking the start of an addictive new series.

Read an extract from the book at the link below

Welcome to the Heady Heights – David F. Ross

Welcome to the Heady Heights …

It’s the year punk rock was born, Concorde entered commercial service and a tiny Romanian gymnast changed the sport forever.

Archie Blunt is a man with big ideas. He just needs a break for them to be realised. In a bizarre brush with the light-entertainment business, Archie unwittingly saves the life of the UK’s top showbiz star, Hank ‘Heady’ Hendricks’, and now dreams of hitting the big-time as a Popular Music Impresario. Seizing the initiative, he creates a new singing group with five unruly working-class kids from Glasgow’s East End. Together, they make the finals of a televised Saturday-night talent show, and before they know it, fame and fortune beckon for Archie and The High Five. But there’s a complication; a trail of irate Glaswegian bookies, corrupt politicians and a determined Scottish WPC known as The Tank are all on his tail…

A hilarious and poignant nod to the elusivity of stardom, in an age when ‘making it’ was ‘having it all’, Welcome to the Heady Heights is also a dark, laugh-out-loud comedy, a heart-warming tribute to a bygone age and a delicious drama about desperate men, connected by secrets and lies, by accidents of time and, most of all, the city they live in.

Read an extract from the book at the link below

In The Absence of Miracles – Michael J. Malone

John Docherty’s mother has just been taken into a nursing home following a massive stroke and she’s unlikely to be able to live independently again.

With no other option than to sell the family home, John sets about packing up everything in the house. In sifting through the detritus of his family’s past he’s forced to revisit, and revise his childhood.
For in a box, in the attic, he finds undeniable truth that he had a brother who disappeared when he himself was only a toddler. A brother no one ever mentioned. A brother he knew absolutely nothing about. A discovery that sets John on a journey from which he may never recover.

For sometimes in that space where memory should reside there is nothing but silence, smoke and ash. And in the absence of truth, in the absence of a miracle, we turn to prayer. And to violence.

Shocking, chilling and heartbreakingly emotive, In the Absence of Miracles is domestic noir at its most powerful, and a sensitively wrought portrait of a family whose shameful lies hide the very darkest of secrets.

Read an extract from the book at the link below

Believe it or not, I even sorted out getting a few of my last missing titles signed to top up the collection … They won’t be the only books I buy this week (am planning on buying seven – don’t judge me) but I have to carry them on a train so am pacing myself at the start of the week. From tonight onward anything is fair game …

So … same time, same place tomorrow. Hopefully with better pictures. I put it down to being tired tonight. It’s been a long few days already and it’s only Tuesday …

It’s not too late to get along to one of the roadshows. Still Stockton tonight, The Wirral, Southwell and Penarth to go. You can find out more in my earlier promo posts like this one.

Happy reading all

Jen

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